Functional analysis of a crustacean microRNA in host-virus interactions

Tianzhi Huang, Xiaobo Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Growing evidence from mammals suggests that host microRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in the antiviral immune response. However, the roles of invertebrate miRNAs in response to virus infection remain to be investigated. Based on our previous studies, the shrimp miR-7 was found to be upregulated in response to white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) infection. In this study, the results showed that shrimp miR-7 could target the 3=-untranslated region (3=UTR) of the WSSV early gene wsv477, implying that miR-7 was involved in viral DNA replication. In insect High Five cells, the synthesized miR-7 significantly decreased the expression level of the fluorescent construct bearing the 3=UTR of wsv477 compared with the expression of the control constructs. When the activity of transfected miR-7 was blocked by locked-nucleic-acid (LNA)-modified anti-miR-7 oligonucleotide (AMO-miR-7), the repression of luciferase gene expression by miR-7 was relieved. In vivo, when the synthesized miR-7 was injected into shrimp, the numbers of WSSV genome copies/mg gills were 1,000-fold lower than those of WSSV only at 72 and 96 h postinfection. The results indicated that the blocking of endogenous miR-7 by AMO-miR-7 led to about a 10-fold increase of WSSV genome copies/mg gills in WSSV-infected shrimp compared with the control WSSV only. Further, it was revealed that the host Dicer1 was an important component for the biogenesis of miR-7, which had a large effect on virus infection. Therefore, our study revealed a novel regulatory function for an invertebrate miRNA in host-virus interactions by targeting the viral early gene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12997-13004
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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