MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have recently emerged as key posttranscriptional regulators of gene expression in multicellular eukaryotes. It is increasingly clear that miRNAs of both viral and cellular origin can positively or negatively influence viral replication. Viral miRNAs can directly alter host physiology, including components of the immune system, and host miRNAs can directly alter the virus life cycle. Here, we discuss what is known about how viral and cellular miRNAs influence viral replication and pathogenic potential through their regulation of viral mRNAs or by reshaping cellular gene expression.
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