• Huang T, Cui Y, Zhang X. (2013) Involvement of viral miRNA in the regulation of antiviral apoptosis in shrimp. Journal of Virology 88(5), 2544-2554.

Viruses, in particular DNA viruses, generate their microRNAs (miRNAs) to control expressions of host and viral genes. Due to their essential roles in virus-host interactions, viral miRNAs have attracted extensive investigations in recent years. Up to date, however, most studies on viral miRNAs are conducted in cell lines. In this study, the viral miRNAs from white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) were characterized in shrimp in vivo. On the basis of our previous study and small RNA sequencing in this study, a total of 89 putative WSSV miRNAs were identified. As revealed by miRNA microarray analysis and Northern blots, the expressions of viral miRNAs were tissue-specific in vivo. The results indicated that the viral miRNA WSSV-miR-N24 could target the shrimp caspase 8 gene, and further repressed the apoptosis of shrimp hemocytes in vivo. As a result, the WSSV copies in shrimp in vivo were significantly increased compared with the control (WSSV only). Therefore, our study presented the first report on the in vivo molecular events of viral miRNA in the antiviral apoptosis.

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