Involvement of viral microRNA in the regulation of antiviral apoptosis in shrimp

Tianzhi Huang, Yalei Cui, Xiaobo Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Viruses, in particular DNA viruses, generate microRNAs (miRNAs) to control the expression of host and viral genes. Due to their essential roles in virus-host interactions, viral miRNAs have attracted extensive investigations in recent years. To date, however, most studies on viral miRNAs have been 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 blotting, the expression of viral miRNAs was tissue specific in vivo. The results indicated that the viral miRNA WSSV-miR-N24 could target the shrimp caspase 8 gene, and this miRNA further repressed the apoptosis of shrimp hemocytes in vivo. As a result, the number of WSSV copies in shrimp in vivo was significantly increased compared with the control level (WSSV only). Therefore, our study presents the first report on the in vivo molecular events of viral miRNA in antiviral apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2544-2554
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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