Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection of primary human B cells drives their indefinite proliferation into lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs). B cell immortalization depends on expression of viral latency genes, as well as the regulation of host genes. Given the important role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in regulating fundamental cellular processes, in this study, we assayed changes in host miRNA expression during primary B cell infection by EBV. We observed and validated dynamic changes in several miRNAs from early proliferation through immortalization; oncogenic miRNAs were induced, and tumor suppressor miRNAs were largely repressed. However, one miRNA described as a p53-targeted tumor suppressor, miR-34a, was strongly induced by EBV infection and expressed in many EBV and Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV)-infected lymphoma cell lines. EBV latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) was sufficient to induce miR-34a requiring downstream NF-κB activation but independent of functional p53. Furthermore, overexpression of miR-34a was not toxic in several B lymphoma cell lines, and inhibition of miR-34a impaired the growth of EBV-transformed cells. This study identifies a progrowth role for a tumor-suppressive miRNA in oncogenic-virus-mediated transformation, highlighting the importance of studying miRNA function in different cellular contexts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science