MicroRNAs of Gallid and Meleagrid herpesviruses show generally conserved genomic locations and are virus-specific

Virology. 2009 May 25;388(1):128-36. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2009.02.043. Epub 2009 Mar 28.


Many herpesviruses, including Marek's disease viruses (MDV1 and MDV2), encode microRNAs. In this study, we report microRNAs of two related herpesviruses, infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) and herpesvirus of turkeys (HVT), as well as additional MDV2 microRNAs. The genome locations, but not microRNA sequences, are conserved among all four of these avian herpesviruses. Most are clustered in the repeats flanking the unique long region (I/TR(L)), except in ILTV which lacks these repeats. Two abundant ILTV microRNAs are antisense to the immediate early gene ICP4. A homologue of host microRNA, gga-miR-221, was found among the HVT microRNAs. Additionally, a cluster of HVT microRNAs was found in a region containing two locally duplicated segments, resulting in paralogous HVT microRNAs with 96-100% identity. The prevalence of microRNAs in the genomic repeat regions as well as in local repeats suggests the importance of genetic plasticity in herpesviruses for microRNA evolution and preservation of function.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Galliformes / virology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral / physiology
  • Genomic Islands / genetics*
  • Herpesviridae / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Species Specificity


  • MicroRNAs