Author(s) ： Juan Cristina, Ricardo Recarey
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, noncoding RNA molecules that play important roles in the regulation of gene expression of the cell. Recent studies have described cytoplasmic RNA virus genome- derived miRNAs. Moreover, miRNAs have also been encountered in the reverse strand of the viral mRNA, revealing the presence of miRNAs in replication intermediaries. In order to get insight into the possible role of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) antigenome in relation to miRNA coding, we computationally identified potential miRNAs on the antigenome of HCV reference strain H77. By utilizing a series of bioinformatics tools, we identified a miRNA present in the antigenomeof HCV H77 strain. This miRNA maps in the 5’non-translated region (5’UTR) of the HCV genome and is found to be conserved among HCV genotypes and sub-types. In silico target prediction generated 17 cellular genes. These potential targets are involved in apoptosis as well as immune response pathways, suggesting that they could play a role in the pathogenesis caused by viral infection. The results of these studies revealed the presence of a viral miRNA in the negative-sense RNA strand used as a replication template for the HCV genome, as observed for other RNA viruses.
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