MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that function as novel gene expression regulators at the post-transcriptional level. Not with standing that the biogenesis and function of miRNAs are well-understood in eukaryotes, little is known about RNA virus-encoded miRNAs. Bombyx mori cypovirus (BmCPV) is a double-stranded RNA virus with a segmented genome that causes cytoplasmic polyhedrosis disease in silkworm larvae. To date, the interaction between BmCPV and silkworm remains largely unclear. 22 candidate BmCPV-encoded miRNAs were identified in this study through small RNA sequencing, stem-loop RT-PCR and qRT-PCR. Then, generation and function analyses were conducted on one of the candidate miRNAs, BmCPV-miR-1, in the BmN cells and the silkworm larvae by RNA interference, quantitative PCR, dual-luciferase assay. Our results revealed that BmCPV-miR-1 was encoded by BmCPV genome RNA rather than the degraded fragments of the viral genome. Its generation depended on Dicer-1 and might also be correlated with Dicer-2, Argonaute-1 and Argonaute-2. Moreover, BmCPV-miR-1 could suppress the expression of the target gene, B. mori inhibitor of nuclear factor kappa-B kinase subunit beta (BmIKKβ), via binding to the target mRNA 3'-untranslated region, which fine-tuned the host NF-κB signaling pathway and consequently enhanced viral replication. Our results provide new evidence supporting the hypothesis that RNA viruses could generate miRNAs to modulate antiviral host defense.
Keywords: BmCPV-miR-1; Bombyx mori; Cypovirus; NF-Kappa B; Viral replication; microRNA.
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