Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus encodes an ortholog of miR-155

Rebecca L. Skalsky, Mark A. Samols, Karlie B. Plaisance, Isaac W. Boss, Alberto Riva, M. Cecilia Lopez, Henry V. Baker, Rolf Renne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

391 Scopus citations


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that posttranscriptionally regulate gene expression by binding to 3′-untranslated regions (3′UTRs) of target mRNAs. Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), a virus linked to malignancies including primary effusion lymphoma (PEL), encodes 12 miRNA genes, but only a few regulatory targets are known. We found that KSHV-miR-K12-11 shares 100% seed sequence homology with hsa-miR-155, an miRNA frequently found to be up-regulated in lymphomas and critically important for B-cell development. Based on this seed sequence homology, we hypothesized that both miRNAs regulate a common set of target genes and, as a result, could have similar biological activities. Examination of five PEL lines showed that PELs do not express miR-155 but do express high levels of miR-K12-11. Bioinformatic tools predicted the transcriptional repressor BACH-1 to be targeted by both miRNAs, and ectopic expression of either miR-155 or miR-K12-11 inhibited a BACH-1 3′UTR-containing reporter. Furthermore, BACH-1 protein levels are low in cells expressing either miRNA. Gene expression profiling of miRNA-expressing stable cell lines revealed 66 genes that were commonly down-regulated. For select genes, miRNA targeting was confirmed by reporter assays. Thus, based on our in silico predictions, reporter assays, and expression profiling data, miR-K12-11 and miR-155 regulate a common set of cellular targets. Given the role of miR-155 during B-cell maturation, we speculate that miR-K12-11 may contribute to the distinct developmental phenotype of PEL cells, which are blocked in a late stage of B-cell development. Together, these findings indicate that KSHV miR-K12-11 is an ortholog of miR-155.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12836-12845
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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