Viruses, microRNAs, and host interactions

Rebecca L. Skalsky, Bryan R. Cullen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

538 Scopus citations


One of the most significant recent advances in biomedical research has been the discovery of the ∼22-nt-long class of noncoding RNAs designated microRNAs (miRNAs). These regulatory RNAs provide a unique level of posttranscriptional gene regulation that modulates a range of fundamental cellular processes. Several viruses, especially herpesviruses, also encode miRNAs, and over 200 viral miRNAs have now been identified. Current evidence indicates that viruses use these miRNAs to manipulate both cellular and viral gene expression. Furthermore, viral infection can exert a profound impact on the cellular miRNA expression profile, and several RNA viruses have been reported to interact directly with cellular miRNAs and/or to use these miRNAs to augment their replication potential. Here we discuss our current knowledge of viral miRNAs and virally influenced cellular miRNAs and their relationship to viral infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-141
Number of pages19
JournalAnnual Review of Microbiology
StatePublished - Oct 13 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • herpesvirus
  • host-pathogen interactions
  • latency
  • miRNAs
  • viral miRNA targets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology


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