New sequencing technologies allow unprecedented views into changes occurring in virus-infected cells, including comprehensive and largely unbiased measurements of different types of RNA. In this study, researchers from the University of Washington used RNA-Seq to profile dynamic changes in cellular microRNAs occurring in HIV-infected cells. The sensitivity afforded by sequencing allowed them to detect changes in microRNA expression early in infection, before the onset of viral replication. A phased pattern of expression was evident among these microRNAs, and many that were initially suppressed were later overexpressed at the height of infection, providing unique signatures of infection. By integrating additional mRNA data with the microRNA data, they identified a role for microRNAs in transcriptional regulation during infection and specifically a network of microRNAs involved in the expression of a known HIV cofactor. Finally, as a distinct benefit of sequencing, they identified candidate nonannotated microRNAs, including one whose downregulation may allow HIV-1 replication to proceed fully.
- Chang ST, Thomas MJ, Sova P, Green RR, Palermo RE, Katze MG. (2013) Next-generation sequencing of small RNAs from HIV-infected cells identifies phased microrna expression patterns and candidate novel microRNAs differentially expressed upon infection. MBio 4(1), e00549-12. [article]