Identification and characterization of human cytomegalovirus-encoded microRNAs

J Virol. 2005 Sep;79(18):12095-9. doi: 10.1128/JVI.79.18.12095-12099.2005.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are an extensive class of noncoding genes that regulate gene expression through posttranscriptional repression. Given the potential for large viral genomes to encode these transcripts, we examined the human cytomegalovirus AD169 genome for miRNAs using a bioinformatics approach. We identified 406 potential stem-loops, of which 110 were conserved between chimpanzee cytomegalovirus and several strains of human cytomegalovirus. Of these conserved stem-loops, 13 exhibited a significant score using the MiRscan algorithm. Examination of total RNA from human cytomegalovirus-infected cells demonstrated that 5 of the 13 predicted miRNAs were expressed during infection. These studies demonstrate that human cytomegalovirus encodes multiple conserved miRNAs and suggest that human cytomegalovirus may utilize an miRNA strategy to regulate cellular and viral gene function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytomegalovirus / genetics*
  • Cytomegalovirus / pathogenicity
  • Genome, Viral
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / chemistry
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • RNA, Viral / chemistry
  • RNA, Viral / genetics*


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Viral