Marek's disease virus (Gallid alphaherpesvirus 2)-encoded miR-M2-5p simultaneously promotes cell proliferation and suppresses apoptosis through RBM24 and MYOD1-mediated signaling pathways

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been demonstrated for their involvement in virus biology and pathogenesis, including functioning as key determinants of virally-induced cancers. As an important oncogenic α-herpesvirus affecting poultry health, Marek's disease virus serotype 1 [Gallid alphaherpesvirus 2 (GaHV-2)] induces rapid-onset T-cell lymphomatous disease commonly referred to as Marek's disease (MD), an excellent biological model for the study of virally-induced cancer in the natural hosts. Previously, we have demonstrated that GaHV-2-encoded miRNAs (especially those within the Meq-cluster) have the potential to act as critical regulators of multiple processes such as virus replication, latency, pathogenesis, and/or oncogenesis. In addition to miR-M4-5p (miR-155 homolog) and miR-M3-5p, we have recently found that miR-M2-5p possibly participate in inducing MD lymphomagenesis. Here, we report the identification of two tumor suppressors, the RNA-binding protein 24 (RBM24) and myogenic differentiation 1 (MYOD1), being two biological targets for miR-M2-5p. Our experiments revealed that as a critical miRNA, miR-M2-5p promotes cell proliferation via regulating the RBM24-mediated p63 overexpression and MYOD1-mediated IGF2 signaling and suppresses apoptosis by targeting the MYOD1-mediated Caspase-3 signaling pathway. Our data present a new strategy of a single viral miRNA exerting dual role to potentially participate in the virally-induced T-cell lymphomagenesis by simultaneously promoting the cell proliferation and suppressing apoptosis.

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