Identification of a functional small non-coding RNA encoded by African swine fever virus

Laura E M Dunn, Alasdair Ivens, Christopher L Netherton, David A G Chapman, Philippa M Beard

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African swine fever virus (ASFV) causes a lethal hemorrhagic disease of domestic pigs, against which no vaccine is available. ASFV has a large, doublestranded DNA genome that encodes over 150 proteins. Replication takes place predominantly in the cytoplasm of the cell and involves complex interactions with host cellular components, including small noncoding RNAs (sncRNAs). A number of DNA viruses are known to manipulate sncRNA either by encoding their own or disrupting host sncRNA. To investigate the interplay between ASFV and sncRNAs, a study of host and viral small RNAs extracted from ASFV-infected primary porcine macrophages (PAMs) was undertaken. We discovered that ASFV infection had only a modest effect on host miRNAs, with only 6 miRNAs differentially expressed during infection. The data also revealed 3 potential novel small RNAs encoded by ASFV, ASFVsRNA1-3. Further investigation of ASFVsRNA2 detected it in lymphoid tissue from pigs with ASF. Overexpression of ASFVsRNA2 led to an up to 1-log reduction in ASFV growth, indicating that ASFV utilizes a virus-encoded small RNA to disrupt its own replication.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Virology
Early online date12 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2020


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