Viral microRNAs Target a Gene Network, Inhibit STAT Activation, and Suppress Interferon Responses


Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) encodes 12 pre-microRNAs during latency that are processed to yield ~25 mature microRNAs (miRNAs). We were interested in identifying cellular networks that were targeted by KSHV-miRNAs and employed network building strategies using validated KSHV miRNA targets. Here, we report the identification of a gene network centering on the transcription factor- signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) that is targeted by KSHV miRNAs. KSHV miRNAs suppressed STAT3 and STAT5 activation and inhibited STAT3-dependent reporter activation upon IL6-treatment. KSHV miRNAs also repressed the induction of antiviral interferon-stimulated genes upon IFNα- treatment. Finally, we observed increased lytic reactivation of KSHV from latently infected cells upon STAT3 repression with siRNAs or a small molecule inhibitor. Our data suggest that treatment of infected cells with a STAT3 inhibitor and a viral replication inhibitor, ganciclovir, represents a possible strategy to eliminate latently infected cells without increasing virion production. Together, we show that KSHV miRNAs suppress a network of targets associated with STAT3, deregulate cytokine-mediated gene activation, suppress an interferon response, and influence the transition into the lytic phase of viral replication.

DOI: 10.1038/srep40813

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@inproceedings{Ramalingam2017ViralMT, title={Viral microRNAs Target a Gene Network, Inhibit STAT Activation, and Suppress Interferon Responses}, author={Dhivya Ramalingam and Joseph M Ziegelbauer}, booktitle={Scientific reports}, year={2017} }