Caister Academic Press

The Properties and Roles of Virus-encoded MicroRNAs

Mélanie Tanguy and Sébastien Pfeffer
from: RNA Interference and Viruses: Current Innovations and Future Trends (Edited by: Miguel Angel Martínez). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2010)


The discovery that viruses could encode micro (mi)RNAs, similarly to the eukaryotic organisms they infect, has opened new perspectives in the study of host-virus interactions. These small regulatory RNAs, which are critically involved in an ever-increasing number of biological processes, have revolutionized the way we used to see gene regulation. Some mammalian viruses, mainly from the herpesvirus and polyomavirus families, have hijacked this mechanism in order to help them achieve the infection of their host. In this chapter, we will present the diversity of known viral miRNAs, their specific properties, their viral and cellular targets and the roles they play during the course of infection. We will see that more and more it appears that virally encoded miRNAs seem to be critically involved in every step of the virus life cycle
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