Identification of virus-encoded circular RNA

Virology. 2019 Mar;529:144-151. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2019.01.014. Epub 2019 Jan 16.


Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a novel class of non-coding RNA molecules in eukaryotic organisms that have potentially important roles in gene regulation. Nevertheless, whether viruses can encode circRNA is still uncertain. To examine whether large genome DNA viruses can generate circRNA during the infection of human cells, we performed RNA sequencing of ribosomal RNA-depleted total RNA from Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-infected cell lines, including SNU-719, AGS-EBV, C666-1 and Akata. We identified an EBV-encoded circRNA, ebv_circ_RPMS1, that consists of the head-to-tail splicing of exons 2-4 from the RPMS1 gene. Furthermore, we demonstrated that ebv_circ_RPMS1 was localized in both cytoplasm and nuclei. Given that circRNAs shape gene expression by titrating microRNAs, regulating transcription and/or interfering with splicing, we identified a novel viral regulator of host and/or viral gene expression.

Keywords: Burkitt lymphoma; Circular RNA; EBV-associated gastric carcinoma; Epstein-Barr virus (EBV); Nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Female
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, SCID
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / virology
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics*
  • RNA, Viral / genetics*


  • RNA, Untranslated
  • RNA, Viral