Epstein-Barr virus latent membrane protein 1 induces cellular MicroRNA miR-146a, a modulator of lymphocyte signaling pathways

J Virol. 2008 Feb;82(4):1946-58. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02136-07. Epub 2007 Dec 5.


The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-encoded latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) is a functional homologue of the tumor necrosis factor receptor family and contributes substantially to the oncogenic potential of EBV through activation of nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB). MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small RNA molecules that are involved in the regulation of cellular processes such as growth, development, and apoptosis and have recently been linked to cancer phenotypes. Through miRNA microarray analysis, we demonstrate that LMP1 dysregulates the expression of several cellular miRNAs, including the most highly regulated of these, miR-146a. Quantitative reverse transcription-PCR analysis confirmed induced expression of miR-146a by LMP1. Analysis of miR-146a expression in EBV latency type III and type I cell lines revealed substantial expression of miR-146a in type III (which express LMP1) but not in type I cell lines. Reporter studies demonstrated that LMP1 induces miR-146a predominantly through two NF-kappaB binding sites in the miR-146a promoter and identified a role for an Oct-1 site in conferring basal and induced expression. Array analysis of cellular mRNAs expressed in Akata cells transduced with an miR-146a-expressing retrovirus identified genes that are directly or indirectly regulated by miR-146a, including a group of interferon-responsive genes that are inhibited by miR-146a. Since miR-146a is known to be induced by agents that activate the interferon response pathway (including LMP1), these results suggest that miR-146a functions in a negative feedback loop to modulate the intensity and/or duration of the interferon response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Interferons / metabolism*
  • Interferons / pharmacology
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Lymphocytes / virology*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Regulatory Elements, Transcriptional
  • Signal Transduction
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / metabolism*
  • Virus Latency / genetics


  • EBV-associated membrane antigen, Epstein-Barr virus
  • MIRN146 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • NF-kappa B
  • Viral Matrix Proteins
  • Interferons