Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology
MicroRNAs are a characteristic of many herpesvirus genomes. These short, non-coding RNAs are capable of post-transcriptional regulation of target mRNAs. Recently, packaged miRNAs have been observed in purified virions of EBV and KSHV, gammaherpesviruses pathogenic in humans. Gammaherpesvirus 68 serves as a small-animal model of gammaherpesvirus pathogenesis. It encodes eight RNA pol III transcripts known as TMERs, which include viral tRNA-like genes adjacent to one or two miRNA genes. Here, we focused on the miRNAs of TMERs 1 and 5. We detected viral miRNAs and their precursors in purified virions of wild-type gammaherpesvirus 68, as well as two mutant viruses that do not produce TMERs. This suggests viral miRNA packaging is a preferred, organized process in virion maturation. We have also established that these miRNAs are biologically active upon infection.
Lutz, Jessica, "Packaging of viral microRNAs in gammaherpesvirus 68" (2013). Undergraduate Honors Theses. 430.