Yao-Tang Lin, Rodney P Kincaid, Dhivya Arasappan, Scot E Dowd, Scott P Hunicke-Smith, and Christopher S Sullivan. “Small RNA profiling reveals antisense transcription throughout the KSHV genome and novel small RNAs.” RNA, 16, 8, Pp. 1540-58. Publisher's Version Abstract
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is a human tumor virus that encodes 12 precursor microRNAs (pre-miRNAs) that give rise to 17 different known approximately 22-nucleotide (nt) effector miRNAs. Like all herpesviruses, KSHV has two modes of infection: (1) a latent mode whereby only a subset of viral genes are expressed and (2) a lytic mode during which the full remaining viral genes are expressed. To date, KSHV miRNAs have been mostly identified via analysis of cells that are undergoing latent infection. Here, we developed a method to profile small RNAs ( approximately 18-75 nt) from populations of cells undergoing predominantly lytic infection. Using two different next-generation sequencing platforms, we cloned and sequenced both pre-miRNAs and derivative miRNAs. Our analysis shows that the vast majority of viral and host 5p miRNAs are co-terminal with the 5' end of the cloned pre-miRNAs, consistent with both being defined by microprocessor cleavage. We report the complete repertoire (25 total) of 5p and 3p derivative miRNAs from all 12 previously described KSHV pre-miRNAs. Two KSHV pre-miRNAs, pre-miR-K12-8 and pre-miR-K12-12, encode abundant derivative miRNAs from the previously unreported strands of the pre-miRNA. We identify several novel small RNAs of low abundance, including viral miRNA-offset-RNAs (moRNAs), and antisense viral miRNAs (miRNA-AS) that are encoded antisense to previously reported KSHV pre-miRNAs. Finally, we observe widespread antisense transcription relative to known coding sequences during lytic replication. Despite the enormous potential to form double-stranded RNA in KSHV-infected cells, we observe no evidence for the existence of abundant viral-derived small interfering RNAs (siRNAs).
Gil Ju Seo, Chun Jung Chen, and Christopher S Sullivan. “Merkel cell polyomavirus encodes a microRNA with the ability to autoregulate viral gene expression.” Virology, 383, 2, Pp. 183-7. Publisher's Version Abstract
microRNAs (miRNAs) are post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression that play a role in viral infection. We have developed a method to identify viral-encoded miRNAs from viruses in which abundant amounts of infected material is limiting. We show that Merkel Cell Polyomavirus (MCV), a recently identified human virus associated with cancer, encodes a miRNA. This miRNA is expressed from the late strand, lies antisense to the early transcripts and negatively regulates expression of chimeric reporters containing a portion of the early transcripts. Interestingly, different viral isolates have sequence polymorphisms in the pre-miRNA region that result in amino acids substitutions but fully preserve the processing and activity of the miRNAs.
Christopher S Sullivan, Chang K Sung, Christopher D Pack, Adam Grundhoff, Aron E Lukacher, Thomas L Benjamin, and Don Ganem. “Murine Polyomavirus encodes a microRNA that cleaves early RNA transcripts but is not essential for experimental infection.” Virology, 387, 1, Pp. 157-67. Publisher's Version Abstract
MicroRNAs are small regulatory RNAs that post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression and can be encoded by viral as well as cellular genomes. The functions of most viral miRNAs are unknown and few have been studied in an in vivo context. Here we show that the murine polyomavirus (PyV) encodes a precursor microRNA that is processed into two mature microRNAs, both of which are active at directing the cleavage of the early PyV mRNAs. Furthermore, we identify a deletion mutant of polyomavirus that is defective in encoding the microRNAs. This mutant replicates normally and transforms cultured cells with efficiencies comparable to wildtype PyV. The miRNA mutant is competent to establish a transient infection of mice following parenteral inoculation, and is cleared post infection at approximately the same rate as the wildtype virus. In addition, under these laboratory conditions, we observe no differences in anti-viral CD8 T cell responses. These results indicate that PyV miRNA expression is not essential for infection of cultured cells or experimentally inoculated mice, and raise the possibility that its role in natural infection might involve aspects of acquisition or spread that are not recapitulated by experimental inoculation.
Joseph M Ziegelbauer, Christopher S Sullivan, and Don Ganem. “Tandem array-based expression screens identify host mRNA targets of virus-encoded microRNAs.” Nat Genet, 41, 1, Pp. 130-4. Publisher's Version Abstract
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short noncoding RNAs of cellular and viral origin that post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression through imperfect base pairing to their mRNA targets. Because the recognition sequences of miRNAs for their targets are short and may be discontinuous, bioinformatic prediction of targets is difficult. Here we present an approach to the experimental identification of the mRNA targets of miRNAs encoded by the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV). KSHV encodes 17 miRNAs, derived from 12 pre-miRNAs expressed from a single locus during viral latency. We conducted multiple screens that examine small changes in transcript abundance under different conditions of miRNA expression or inhibition and then searched the identified transcripts for seed sequence matches. Using this strategy, we identified BCLAF1, encoding Bcl2-associated factor, as a target for miR-K5, and further analysis revealed that several other KSHV miRNAs also target this gene product. Our results support that this type of expression profiling provides a potentially general approach to the identification of miRNA targets.
Christopher S. Sullivan and Bryan R. Cullen. “Non-coding Regulatory RNAs of the DNA Tumor Viruses.” Edited by B. Damania and J.M. Pipas. Springer Science and Media: New York, Pp. 645-682. Publisher's Version
G. J. Seo, L. H. L. Fink, B. O'hara, W. J. Atwood, and C.S. Sullivan. “Evolutionarily Conserved Function of a Viral MicroRNA.” J Viro, 82, 20, Pp. 9823-9828. Publisher's Version
Christopher S. Sullivan. “New roles for large and small viral RNAs in evading host defences.” Nature Reviews Genetics , 9, 7, Pp. 503-507. Publisher's Version
Lydia V. McClure* and Christopher S. Sullivan*. “Kaposi's Sarcoma Herpes Virus Taps into a Host MicroRNA Regulatory Network.” Cell&Host Microbe, 3, 1, Pp. 1-3. Publisher's Version
Christopher S. Sullivan*. “High Conservation of Kaposi Sarcoma—Associated Herpesvirus MicroRNAs Implies Important Function.” The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 195, 5, Pp. 618-620. Publisher's Version
Christopher S. Sullivan* and Adam Grundhoff. “Identification of Viral MicroRNAs.” Method of Enzymology, 427, Pp. 3-23. Publisher's Version
C.S. Sullivan and D. Ganem. “MicroRNAs and Viral infection.” Molecular Cell, 20, Pp. 3-7. Publisher's Version
Christopher S Sullivan, Adam T Grundhoff, Satvir Tevethia, James M Pipas, and Don Ganem. “SV40-encoded microRNAs regulate viral gene expression and reduce susceptibility to cytotoxic T cells.” Nature, 435, 7042, Pp. 682-6. Abstract
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small (approximately 22-nucleotide) RNAs that in lower organisms serve important regulatory roles in development and gene expression, typically by forming imperfect duplexes with target messenger RNAs. miRNAs have also been described in mammalian cells and in infections with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), but the function of most of them is unknown. Although one EBV miRNA probably altered the processing of a viral mRNA, the regulatory significance of this event is uncertain, because other transcripts exist that can supply the targeted function. Here we report the identification of miRNAs encoded by simian virus 40 (SV40) and define their functional significance for viral infection. SVmiRNAs accumulate at late times in infection, are perfectly complementary to early viral mRNAs, and target those mRNAs for cleavage. This reduces the expression of viral T antigens but does not reduce the yield of infectious virus relative to that generated by a mutant lacking SVmiRNAs. However, wild-type SV40-infected cells are less sensitive than the mutant to lysis by cytotoxic T cells, and trigger less cytokine production by such cells. Thus, viral evolution has taken advantage of the miRNA pathway to generate effectors that enhance the probability of successful infection.
C. S. Sullivan* and D. Ganem. “A virus-encoded inhibitor that blocks RNA interference in Mammalian cells.” J. Virol, 79, Pp. 7371–7379. Publisher's Version