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      Targeted Transcriptomics of Frog Virus 3 in Infected Frog Tissues Reveal Non-Coding Regulatory Elements and microRNAs in the Ranaviral Genome and Their Potential Interaction with Host Immune Response

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          Abstract

          Background

          Frog Virus 3 (FV3) is a large dsDNA virus belonging to Ranaviruses of family Iridoviridae. Ranaviruses infect cold-blood vertebrates including amphibians, fish and reptiles, and contribute to catastrophic amphibian declines. FV3 has a genome at ~105 kb that contains nearly 100 coding genes and 50 intergenic regions as annotated in its reference genome. Previous studies have mainly focused on coding genes and rarely addressed potential non-coding regulatory role of intergenic regions.

          Results

          Using a whole transcriptomic analysis of total RNA samples containing both the viral and cellular transcripts from FV3-infected frog tissues, we detected virus-specific reads mapping in non-coding intergenic regions, in addition to reads from coding genes. Further analyses identified multiple cis-regulatory elements ( CREs) in intergenic regions neighboring highly transcribed coding genes. These CREs include not only a virus TATA-Box present in FV3 core promoters as in eukaryotic genes, but also viral mimics of CREs interacting with several transcription factors including CEBPs, CREBs, IRFs, NF-κB, and STATs, which are critical for regulation of cellular immunity and cytokine responses. Our study suggests that intergenic regions immediately upstream of highly expressed FV3 genes have evolved to bind IRFs, NF-κB, and STATs more efficiently. Moreover, we found an enrichment of putative microRNA (miRNA) sequences in more than five intergenic regions of the FV3 genome. Our sequence analysis indicates that a fraction of these viral miRNAs is targeting the 3’-UTR regions of Xenopus genes involved in interferon (IFN)-dependent responses, including particularly those encoding IFN receptor subunits and IFN-regulatory factors (IRFs).

          Conclusions

          Using the FV3 model, this study provides a first genome-wide analysis of non-coding regulatory mechanisms adopted by ranaviruses to epigenetically regulate both viral and host gene expressions, which have co-evolved to interact especially with the host IFN response.

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          Most cited references 57

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          Overview of MicroRNA Biogenesis, Mechanisms of Actions, and Circulation

          MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of non-coding RNAs that play important roles in regulating gene expression. The majority of miRNAs are transcribed from DNA sequences into primary miRNAs and processed into precursor miRNAs, and finally mature miRNAs. In most cases, miRNAs interact with the 3′ untranslated region (3′ UTR) of target mRNAs to induce mRNA degradation and translational repression. However, interaction of miRNAs with other regions, including the 5′ UTR, coding sequence, and gene promoters, have also been reported. Under certain conditions, miRNAs can also activate translation or regulate transcription. The interaction of miRNAs with their target genes is dynamic and dependent on many factors, such as subcellular location of miRNAs, the abundancy of miRNAs and target mRNAs, and the affinity of miRNA-mRNA interactions. miRNAs can be secreted into extracellular fluids and transported to target cells via vesicles, such as exosomes, or by binding to proteins, including Argonautes. Extracellular miRNAs function as chemical messengers to mediate cell-cell communication. In this review, we provide an update on canonical and non-canonical miRNA biogenesis pathways and various mechanisms underlying miRNA-mediated gene regulations. We also summarize the current knowledge of the dynamics of miRNA action and of the secretion, transfer, and uptake of extracellular miRNAs.
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            Regulation of microRNA function in animals

            Since their serendipitous discovery in nematodes, microRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as key regulators of biological processes in animals. These small RNAs form complex regulatory networks in cell development, differentiation and homeostasis. Deregulation of miRNA function is associated with an increasing number of human diseases, particularly cancer. Recent discoveries have expanded our understanding of how miRNAs are regulated. Here we review the mechanisms that modulate miRNA activity, their stability and their localization through alternative processing, sequence editing, post-translational modifications of Argonaute proteins, viral factors, transport from the cytoplasm and regulation of miRNA–target interactions. We conclude by discussing intriguing open questions to be answered by future research.
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              Evolutionary genomics of nucleo-cytoplasmic large DNA viruses.

              A previous comparative-genomic study of large nuclear and cytoplasmic DNA viruses (NCLDVs) of eukaryotes revealed the monophyletic origin of four viral families: poxviruses, asfarviruses, iridoviruses, and phycodnaviruses [Iyer, L.M., Aravind, L., Koonin, E.V., 2001. Common origin of four diverse families of large eukaryotic DNA viruses. J. Virol. 75 (23), 11720-11734]. Here we update this analysis by including the recently sequenced giant genome of the mimiviruses and several additional genomes of iridoviruses, phycodnaviruses, and poxviruses. The parsimonious reconstruction of the gene complement of the ancestral NCLDV shows that it was a complex virus with at least 41 genes that encoded the replication machinery, up to four RNA polymerase subunits, at least three transcription factors, capping and polyadenylation enzymes, the DNA packaging apparatus, and structural components of an icosahedral capsid and the viral membrane. The phylogeny of the NCLDVs is reconstructed by cladistic analysis of the viral gene complements, and it is shown that the two principal lineages of NCLDVs are comprised of poxviruses grouped with asfarviruses and iridoviruses grouped with phycodnaviruses-mimiviruses. The phycodna-mimivirus grouping was strongly supported by several derived shared characters, which seemed to rule out the previously suggested basal position of the mimivirus [Raoult, D., Audic, S., Robert, C., Abergel, C., Renesto, P., Ogata, H., La Scola, B., Suzan, M., Claverie, J.M. 2004. The 1.2-megabase genome sequence of Mimivirus. Science 306 (5700), 1344-1350]. These results indicate that the divergence of the major NCLDV families occurred at an early stage of evolution, prior to the divergence of the major eukaryotic lineages. It is shown that subsequent evolution of the NCLDV genomes involved lineage-specific expansion of paralogous gene families and acquisition of numerous genes via horizontal gene transfer from the eukaryotic hosts, other viruses, and bacteria (primarily, endosymbionts and parasites). Amongst the expansions, there are multiple families of predicted virus-specific signaling and regulatory domains. Most NCLDVs have also acquired large arrays of genes related to ubiquitin signaling, and the animal viruses in particular have independently evolved several defenses against apoptosis and immune response, including growth factors and potential inhibitors of cytokine signaling. The mimivirus displays an enormous array of genes of bacterial provenance, including a representative of a new class of predicted papain-like peptidases. It is further demonstrated that a significant number of genes found in NCLDVs also have homologs in bacteriophages, although a vertical relationship between the NCLDVs and a particular bacteriophage group could not be established. On the basis of these observations, two alternative scenarios for the origin of the NCLDVs and other groups of large DNA viruses of eukaryotes are considered. One of these scenarios posits an early assembly of an already large DNA virus precursor from which various large DNA viruses diverged through an ongoing process of displacement of the original genes by xenologous or non-orthologous genes from various sources. The second scenario posits convergent emergence, on multiple occasions, of large DNA viruses from small plasmid-like precursors through independent accretion of similar sets of genes due to strong selective pressures imposed by their life cycles and hosts.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Immunol
                Front Immunol
                Front. Immunol.
                Frontiers in Immunology
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                1664-3224
                17 June 2021
                2021
                17 June 2021
                : 12
                Affiliations
                1 Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, College of Agriculture, Tennessee State University , Nashville, TN, United States
                2 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center , Rochester, NY, United States
                Author notes

                Edited by: Alberto Cuesta, University of Murcia, Spain

                Reviewed by: Ken Cho, University of California, Irvine, United States; Sarah J. Poynter, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada

                *Correspondence: Jacques Robert, Jacques_Robert@ 123456urmc.rochester.edu ; Yongming Sang, ysang@ 123456tnstate.edu

                This article was submitted to Comparative Immunology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Immunology

                Article
                10.3389/fimmu.2021.705253
                8248673
                34220869
                Copyright © 2021 Tian, Khwatenge, Li, De Jesus Andino, Robert and Sang

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 11, Tables: 2, Equations: 0, References: 57, Pages: 19, Words: 9915
                Funding
                Funded by: National Science Foundation 10.13039/100000001
                Funded by: National Institute of Food and Agriculture 10.13039/100005825
                Funded by: National Institute of Food and Agriculture 10.13039/100005825
                Funded by: National Institute of Food and Agriculture 10.13039/100005825
                Funded by: National Science Foundation 10.13039/100000001
                Funded by: Office of Research Infrastructure Programs, National Institutes of Health 10.13039/100016958
                Categories
                Immunology
                Original Research

                Immunology

                frog virus 3, ranavirus, transcriptome, cis-regulatory elements, microrna, interferon signaling

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