International Journal of Molecular Sciences (May 2018)

A Rapid Screen for Host-Encoded miRNAs with Inhibitory Effects against Ebola Virus Using a Transcription- and Replication-Competent Virus-Like Particle System

  • Zhongyi Wang,
  • Jiaming Li,
  • Yingying Fu,
  • Zongzheng Zhao,
  • Chunmao Zhang,
  • Nan Li,
  • Jingjing Li,
  • Hongliang Cheng,
  • Xiaojun Jin,
  • Bing Lu,
  • Zhendong Guo,
  • Jun Qian,
  • Linna Liu

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 19, no. 5
p. 1488


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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) may become efficient antiviral agents against the Ebola virus (EBOV) targeting viral genomic RNAs or transcripts. We previously conducted a genome-wide search for differentially expressed miRNAs during viral replication and transcription. In this study, we established a rapid screen for miRNAs with inhibitory effects against EBOV using a tetracistronic transcription- and replication-competent virus-like particle (trVLP) system. This system uses a minigenome comprising an EBOV leader region, luciferase reporter, VP40, GP, VP24, EBOV trailer region, and three noncoding regions from the EBOV genome and can be used to model the life cycle of EBOV under biosafety level (BSL) 2 conditions. Informatic analysis was performed to select up-regulated miRNAs targeting the coding regions of the minigenome with the highest binding energy to perform inhibitory effect screening. Among these miRNAs, miR-150-3p had the most significant inhibitory effect. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), Western blot, and double fluorescence reporter experiments demonstrated that miR-150-3p inhibited the reproduction of trVLPs via the regulation of GP and VP40 expression by directly targeting the coding regions of GP and VP40. This novel, rapid, and convenient screening method will efficiently facilitate the exploration of miRNAs against EBOV under BSL-2 conditions.