Co-infection with avian leukosis virus subgroup J and reticuloendotheliosis virus induces synergistic pathogenic effects and increases mortality. However, the role of exosomal miRNAs in the molecular mechanism of the synergistic infection of the two viruses remains unknown.
In this study, exosomal RNAs from CEF cells infected with ALV-J, REV or both at the optimal synergistic infection time were analysed by Illumina RNA deep sequencing. A total of 54 (23 upregulated and 31 downregulated) and 16 (7 upregulated and 9 downregulated) miRNAs were identified by comparing co-infection with two viruses, single-infected ALV-J and REV, respectively. Moreover, five key miRNAs, including miR-184-3p, miR-146a-3p, miR-146a-5p, miR-3538 and miR-155, were validated in both exosomes and CEF cells by qRT-PCR. GO annotation and KEGG pathway analysis of the miRNA target genes showed that the five differentially expressed miRNAs participated in virus-vector interaction, oxidative phosphorylation, energy metabolism and cell growth.
We demonstrated that REV and ALV-J synergistically increased the accumulation of exosomal miRNAs, which sheds light on the synergistic molecular mechanism of ALV-J and REV.