Mammalian alphaherpesvirus miRNAs

Igor Jurak, Anthony Griffiths, Donald M. Coen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Mammalian alphaherpesviruses are major causes of human and veterinary disease. During productive infection, these viruses exhibit complex and robust patterns of gene expression. These viruses also form latent infections in neurons of sensory ganglia in which productive cycle gene expression is highly repressed. Both modes of infection provide advantageous opportunities for regulation by microRNAs. Thus far, published data regarding microRNAs are available for six mammalian alphaherpesviruses. No microRNAs have yet been detected from varicella zoster virus. The five other viruses-herpes simplex viruses-1 and -2, herpes B virus, bovine herpesvirus-1, and pseudorabies virus-representing both genera of mammalian alphaherpesviruses have been shown to express microRNAs. In this article, we discuss these microRNAs in terms of where they are encoded in the viral genome relative to other viral transcripts; whether they are expressed during productive or latent infection; their potential targets; what little is known about their actual targets and functions during viral infection; and what little is known about the interactions of these viruses with the host microRNA machinery. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: "MicroRNAs in viral gene regulation".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-653
Number of pages13
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Herpes B virus
  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Latency
  • Mammalian alphaherpesviruses
  • Varicella zoster virus
  • miRNAs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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