Human cytomegalovirus-encoded miR-US4-1 promotes cell apoptosis and benefits discharge of infectious virus particles via down-regulation of glutaminyl-tRNA synthetase, QARS in HCMV-infected HELF cells
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) can cause congenital diseases and opportunistic infections in immunocompromised individuals. Its functional proteins and microRNAs (miRNAs) facilitate efficient viral propagation by altering host cell behaviour. Identification of functional target genes of miRNAs is an important step in studies on HCMV pathogenesis. In this study, Glutaminyl-tRNA Synthetase (QARS), which could regulate signal transduction pathways for cellular apoptosis, was identified as a direct target of hcmv-miR-US4-1. Apoptosis assay revealed that as silence of QARS by ectopic expression of hcmv-miR-US4-1 and specific small interference RNA of QARS can promote cell apoptosis in HCMV-infected HELF cells. Moreover, viral growth curve assays showed that hcmv-miR-US4-1 benefits the discharge of infectious virus particles. However, silence of hcmv-miR-US4-1 by its specific inhibitor overturned these effects. These results imply that hcmv-miR-US4-1 might have the same effects during HCMV nature infection. In general, hcmv-miR-US4-1 may involve in promoting cell apoptosis and benefiting discharge of infectious virus particles via down-regulation of QARS in HCMV-infected HELF cells.