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PeerJ. 2019 Apr 22;7:e6697. doi: 10.7717/peerj.6697. eCollection 2019.

MicroRNA profiling of mouse liver in response to DENV-1 infection by deep sequencing.

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Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University Malaysia, Bandar Sunway, Selangor, Malaysia.
Infectious Diseases and Health Cluster, Tropical Medicine and Biology Platform, Monash University Malaysia, Bandar Sunway, Selangor, Malaysia.
Department of Biology, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, North Karelia, Finland.
School of Science, Monash University Malaysia, Bandar Sunway, Selangor, Malaysia.
Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.



Dengue caused by dengue virus (DENV) serotypes -1 to -4 is the most important mosquito-borne viral disease in the tropical and sub-tropical countries worldwide. Yet many of the pathophysiological mechanisms of host responses during DENV infection remain largely unknown and incompletely understood.


Using a mouse model, the miRNA expressions in liver during DENV-1 infection was investigated using high throughput miRNA sequencing. The differential expressions of miRNAs were then validated by qPCR, followed by target genes prediction. The identified miRNA targets were subjected to gene ontology (GO) annotation and pathway enrichment analysis to elucidate the potential biological pathways and molecular mechanisms associated with DENV-1 infection.


A total of 224 and 372 miRNAs out of 433 known mouse miRNAs were detected in the livers of DENV-1-infected and uninfected mice, respectively; of these, 207 miRNAs were present in both libraries. The miR-148a-3p and miR-122-5p were the two most abundant miRNAs in both groups. Thirty-one miRNAs were found to have at least 2-fold change in upregulation or downregulation, in which seven miRNAs were upregulated and 24 miRNAs were downregulated in the DENV-1-infected mouse livers. The miR-1a-3p was found to be the most downregulated miRNA in the DENV-1-infected mouse livers, with a significant fold change of 0.10. To validate the miRNA sequencing result, the expression pattern of 12 miRNAs, which were highly differentially expressed or most abundant, were assessed by qPCR and nine of them correlated positively with the one observed in deep sequencing. In silico functional analysis revealed that the adaptive immune responses involving TGF-beta, MAPK, PI3K-Akt, Rap1, Wnt and Ras signalling pathways were modulated collectively by 23 highly differentially expressed miRNAs during DENV-1 infection.


This study provides the first insight into the global miRNA expressions of mouse livers in response to DENV-1 infection in vivo and the possible roles of miRNAs in modulating the adaptive immune responses during DENV-1 infection.


Dengue virus; Host-virus interaction; Intracellular miRNA; MiSeq sequencing; Mouse liver; Small RNA

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