Foamy viruses are unconventional and complex retroviruses distinct from the other members of the Retroviridae family. Currently, no disease has been firmly linked to persistent foamy virus infection of their cognate host including simians, bovines, felines, and equines or upon zoonotic transmission of different simian foamy viruses to humans. Bovine and simian foamy viruses have been recently shown to encode a RNA polymerase-III-driven micro RNA cluster which likely modulates and regulates host–virus interactions at different levels. Using sub-genomic bovine foamy virus micro RNA expression plasmids and dual luciferase reporter assays as readout, the requirements for expression and processing of the bovine foamy virus micro RNAs have been analyzed. Here, we report that the minimal BFV micro RNA cassette is significantly weaker than a U6 promoter-based construct and strongly suppressed by flanking sequences. The primary micro RNA sequence can be manipulated and chimerized as long as the dumbbell-like folding of the primary micro RNA is maintained. Since more subtle changes are associated with reduced functionality, the overall structure and shape, but possibly individual elements and residues also, are important for the expression and processing of the bovine foamy virus micro RNAs.
Virus Genes – Springer Journals
Published: May 31, 2018
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