Analysis of viral microRNA expression by elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus 1.
Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus 1 (EEHV1), a member of the Betaherpesvirinae subfamily, has recently emerged as an important viral pathogen of Asian elephants that can cause a severe, often fatal, hemorrhagic disease. EEHV1 does not replicate in culture and little is currently known about the molecular biology of this emerging pathogen, with the notable exception of its genomic DNA sequence. Here, we have used small RNA deep sequencing to determine whether EEHV1, like other human and murine betaherpesviruses, expresses viral microRNAs in infected tissues in vivo. Our data provide evidence supporting the existence of at least three novel viral microRNAs encoded by EEHV1 and one of these, miR-E3-5p, is shown to repress target mRNA expression. Moreover, miR-E3-5p expression was readily detectable in tissue samples derived from two infected elephants, including in whole blood. These data shed new light on the biology of EEHV1 and identify small RNAs that have the potential to be useful in the diagnosis of sub-clinical infections in captive Asian and African elephants.
Furuse, Y; Dastjerdi, A; Seilern-Moy, K; Steinbach, F; Cullen, BR
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