Activation of gga-miR-155 by reticuloendotheliosis virus T strain and its contribution to transformation

Yongxiu Yao, Deepali Vasoya, Lydia Kgosana, Lorraine P Smith, Yulong Gao, Xiaomei Wang, Michael Watson, Venugopal Nair

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The v-rel oncoprotein encoded by reticuloendotheliosis virus T strain (Rev-T) is a member of the rel/NF-κB family of transcription factors capable of transformation of primary chicken spleen and bone marrow cells. Rapid transformation of avian haematopoietic cells by v-rel occurs through a process of deregulation of multiple protein-encoding genes through its direct effect on their promoters. More recently, upregulation of oncogenic miR-155 and its precursor pre-miR-155 were demonstrated in Rev-T-infected chicken embryo fibroblast cultures as well as Rev-T-induced B-cell lymphomas. Through electrophoresis mobility shift assay and reporter analysis on gga-miR-155 promoter, we show that the v-rel-induced miR- 155 overexpression occurs by the direct binding to one of the putative NF-κB binding sites. Using v-rel-induced transformation model on chicken embryonic splenocyte cultures, we could demonstrate dynamic increase in miR-155 levels during the transformation. Transcriptome profiles of lymphoid cells transformed by v-rel showed upregulation of miR- 155 accompanied by downregulation of a number of putative miR-155 targets such as Pu.1 and CEBPβ. We also show that v-rel can rescue the suppression of miR-155 expression observed in Marek’s disease virus-transformed cell lines, where its functional viral homolog MDV-miR-M4 is overexpressed. Demonstration of gene expression changes affecting major molecular pathways including organismal injury and cancer in avian macrophages transfected with synthetic mature miR-155 underline its potential direct role in transformation. Our study suggests that v-rel-induced transformation involves complex set of events mediated by the direct activation of NF-κB targets together with the inhibitory effects on miRNA targets.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of General Virology
Early online date22 Jan 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jan 2017


  • v-rel
  • NF-κB
  • miR-155
  • transformation


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