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Open Access Highly Accessed Commentary

Retrovirus infected cells contain viral microRNAs

Zachary A Klase1, Gavin C Sampey2 and Fatah Kashanchi2*

Author Affiliations

1 Molecular Virology Section, Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20810, USA

2 National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Disease, School of Systems Biology, George Mason University, 10900 University Blvd, Manassas, VA 20108, USA

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Retrovirology 2013, 10:15  doi:10.1186/1742-4690-10-15

Published: 7 February 2013

Abstract

The encoding of microRNAs in retroviral genomes has remained a controversial hypothesis despite significant supporting evidence in recent years. A recent publication demonstrating the production of functional miRNAs from the retrovirus bovine leukemia virus adds further credence to the fact that retroviruses do indeed encode their own miRNAs. Here we comment on the importance of this paper to the field, as well as examine the other known examples of miRNAs encoded by RNA viruses.

Keywords:
Retrovirus; microRNA; Bovine leukemia virus; Human immunodeficiency virus; West nile virus; Transcriptional gene silencing; RNA polymerase III