Identification of Feline Foamy Virus-derived MicroRNAs

Microbes Environ. 2021;36(4):ME21055. doi: 10.1264/jsme2.ME21055.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) classified as non-coding RNAs regulate various metabolic systems and viral life cycles. To date, numerous DNA viruses, many of which are members of the herpesvirus family, and a relatively small number of RNA viruses, including retroviruses, have been reported to encode and express miRNAs in infected cells. A few retroviruses have been shown to express miRNAs, and foamy viruses (FVs) were initially predicted by computational analyses to possess miRNA-coding regions. Subsequent studies on simian and bovine FVs confirmed the presence of functional and biologically active miRNA expression cassettes. We herein identified feline FV-derived miRNAs using a small RNA deep sequencing ana-lysis. We confirmed their repressive functions on gene expression by dual-luciferase reporter assays. We found that the seed sequences of the miRNAs identified in the present study were conserved among all previously reported FFV isolates. These results suggest that FFV-derived miRNAs play a pivotal role in FFV infection.

Keywords: feline foamy virus; foamy virus; microRNA; spumavirus.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Cattle
  • Gene Expression
  • MicroRNAs* / genetics
  • RNA, Viral / genetics*
  • Spumavirus* / genetics


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Viral