New! Sign up for our free email newsletter.
Science News
from research organizations

New screening approach reveals importance of microRNAs in papillomavirus life cycle

Date:
July 26, 2018
Source:
PLOS
Summary:
The discovery of microRNAs encoded by papillomaviruses supports the important role of these small molecules in persistent infection, according to new research. The discovery was made using a new approach that enables microRNA identification for the enormous range of pathogens that have genomic data but cannot be cultured in a laboratory setting.
Share:
FULL STORY

The discovery of microRNAs encoded by papillomaviruses supports the important role of these small molecules in persistent infection, according to a study published July 26 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens. Study author Rachel Chirayil of the University of Texas at Austin and colleagues made this discovery using a new approach that enables microRNA identification for the enormous range of pathogens that have genomic data but cannot be cultured in a laboratory setting.

Papillomaviruses can cause several types of cancer in humans, but it remains unclear why only some infections lead to the development of malignant tumors. To answer this question, it's necessary to better characterize papillomavirus gene products and their role in the life cycle of these pathogens. MicroRNAs are small RNAs that regulate diverse biological processes, including host-pathogen interactions. Consequently, microRNAs are commonly encoded by viruses that undergo long-term persistent infection. But until now, no widely accepted papillomavirus-encoded microRNAs had been discovered due in part to the lack of suitable laboratory models.

To overcome this hurdle, the researchers developed a new wet bench technology called microRNA Discovery by forced Genome Expression (miDGE). This broadly applicable methodology can screen numerous pathogen genomes in parallel, identifying microRNAs from organisms lacking a laboratory culture system. Using miDGE, they screened more than 73 different papillomavirus genomes for the ability to encode microRNAs.

Most papillomaviruses do not appear to code for microRNAs, but the researchers uncovered five new highly probable papillomavirus-encoded microRNAs. Although the papillomavirus microRNAs are not expressed in cancers associated with high-risk infection, some of them control viral gene expression. According to the authors, the findings suggest that microRNAs are important regulators of the papillomavirus life cycle.

"The most important aspect of this work is that this new technology opens up parallel study of numerous pathogens in a single experiment," researcher Christopher Sullivan adds, "allowing for deep evolutionary cross comparisons. Here, insight from a bird virus helped us to understand why some human papilloma viruses do, and just as importantly, why most don't, encode their own microRNAs."


Story Source:

Materials provided by PLOS. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rachel Chirayil, Rodney P. Kincaid, Christine Dahlke, Chad V. Kuny, Nicole Dälken, Michael Spohn, Becki Lawson, Adam Grundhoff, Christopher S. Sullivan. Identification of virus-encoded microRNAs in divergent Papillomaviruses. PLOS Pathogens, 2018; 14 (7): e1007156 DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007156

Cite This Page:

PLOS. "New screening approach reveals importance of microRNAs in papillomavirus life cycle." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 July 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180726162743.htm>.
PLOS. (2018, July 26). New screening approach reveals importance of microRNAs in papillomavirus life cycle. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 19, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180726162743.htm
PLOS. "New screening approach reveals importance of microRNAs in papillomavirus life cycle." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180726162743.htm (accessed July 19, 2024).

Explore More

from ScienceDaily

RELATED STORIES