Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) encodes at least 26 microRNAs (miRNA). These miRNAs are utilized by HCMV to regulate its own genes as well as the genes of the host cell during infection. It has been reported that a cellular gene, solute carrier family 25, member 6 (SLC25A6), which is also designated adenine nucleotide translocator 3 (ANT3), was identified as a candidate target of hcmv-miR-UL36-5p by hybrid PCR. In this study, ANT3 was further demonstrated to be a direct target of hcmv-miR-UL36-5p by luciferase reporter assays. The expression level of ANT3 protein was confirmed, by western blotting, to be directly downregulated by overexpression of hcmv-miR-UL36-5p in HEK293 cells, U373 cells and HELF cells. Moreover, HCMV-infected cells showed a decrease in the ANT3 protein level. Using ANT3-specific small interfering RNA (siRNA) and an inhibitor for hcmv-miR-UL36-5p, it was shown that inhibition of apoptosis by hcmv-miR-UL36-5p in these cells specifically occurred via inhibition of ANT3 expression. These results imply that hcmv-miR-UL36-5 may play the same role during actual HCMV infection in order to establish a balance between the host cell and the virus.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 1, 2015
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