Novel microRNAs encoded by duck enteritis virus

Duck enteritis virus (DEV) is an important herpesvirus pathogen associated with acute, highly contagious lethal disease in waterfowls. Using a deep sequencing approach on RNA from infected chicken embryo fibroblast cultures, we identified several novel DEV-encoded micro (mi)RNAs. Unlike most mardivirus-encoded miRNAs, DEV-encoded miRNAs mapped mostly to the unique long region of the genome. The precursors of DEV miR-D18 and miR-D19 overlapped with each other, suggesting similarities to miRNA-offset RNAs, although only the DEV-miR-D18-3p was functional in reporter assays. Identification of these novel miRNAs will add to the growing list of virus-encoded miRNAs enabling the exploration of their roles in pathogenesis.

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