Viral miRNA regulation of host gene expression

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Viruses have evolved a multitude of mechanisms to combat barriers to productive infection in the host cell. Virally-encoded miRNAs are one such means to regulate host gene expression in ways that benefit the virus lifecycle. miRNAs are small non-coding RNAs that regulate protein expression but do not trigger the adaptive immune response, making them powerful tools encoded by viruses to regulate cellular processes. Diverse viruses encode for miRNAs but little sequence homology exists between miRNAs of different viral species. Despite this, common cellular pathways are targeted for regulation, including apoptosis, immune evasion, cell growth and differentiation. Herein we will highlight the viruses that encode miRNAs and provide mechanistic insight into how viral miRNAs aid in lytic and latent infection by targeting common cellular processes. We also highlight how viral miRNAs can mimic host cell miRNAs as well as how viral miRNAs have evolved to regulate host miRNA expression. These studies dispel the myth that viral miRNAs are subtle regulators of gene expression, and highlight the critical importance of viral miRNAs to the virus lifecycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-19
Number of pages18
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - Sep 15 2023


  • EBV
  • HCMV
  • HSV
  • KSHV
  • MDV
  • MiRNA
  • Virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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