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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science