One of the most significant recent advances in biomedical research has been the discovery of the approximately 22-nt-long class of noncoding RNAs designated microRNAs (miRNAs). These regulatory RNAs provide a unique level of post-transcriptional gene regulation that modulates a range of fundamental cellular processes. Several viruses, especially herpesviruses, also encode miRNAs, and over 200 viral miRNAs have now been identified. Current evidence indicates that viruses use these miRNAs to manipulate both cellular and viral gene expression. Furthermore, viral infection can exert a profound impact on the cellular miRNA expression profile, and several RNA viruses have been reported to interact directly with cellular miRNAs and/or to use these miRNAs to augment their replication potential. This review article discusses our current knowledge of viral miRNAs and virally influenced cellular miRNAs and their relationship to viral infection.
- Five Questions about Viruses and MicroRNAs
- It’s not the size of your RNA, it’s what you do with it that counts
- Virus-encoded microRNAs in herpesvirus biology
- MicroRNAs in Picornavirus Infection