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    Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a beta-hersvirinae that has a high latent infection rate worldwide and can cause serious consequences in immunocompromised patients when reactivation; however, the mechanism of how HCMV convert from latent to reactivation has rarely been investigated. In the present study, we aimed to perform a comprehensive analysis of the HCMV-encoded microRNA (miRNA) profile in serum of patients upon HCMV reactivation from latency and to further evaluate its clinical significance for the disease monitoring and preventing usefulness. Serum samples from 59 viremia patients and 60 age-gender matched controls were enrolled in this study for screening and validation of different expression of HCMV miRNAs. Serum concentrations of 22 known HCMV miRNAs were determined by a hydrolysis probe-based stem-loop quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) assay. HCMV DNA was measured by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) with the whole blood sample. Serum HCMV IgG and IgM were assessed using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Another 47 samples from 5 patients at different time points were collected to evaluate the monitoring effectiveness and disease prediction ability of differential expression HCMV-miRNAs during the antiviral treatment. The RT-qPCR analysis revealed that the serum levels of 16 of the 22 examined HCMV miRNAs were elevated in HCMV viremia patients compared with controls, and a profile of 8 HCMV miRNAs including hcmv-miR-US25-2-3p, hcmv-miR-US4-5p, hcmv-miR-US25-2-5p, hcmv-miR-US25-1-3p, hcmv-miR-US25-1, hcmv-miR-UL36, hcmv-miR-UL148D, hcmv-miR-US29-3p were markedly elevated (fold change > 2, P < 0.01). Receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) analysis were performed on the selected HCMV-miRNAs in all of the patients and controls that enrolled in this study, and which ranged from 0.72 to 0.80 in the autoimmune patients. In addition, hcmv-miR-US25-1-3p levels were significantly correlated with HCMV DNA load (r = 0.349, P = 0.007), and were obviously higher in the reactivation set than the latency set in the autoimmune patients, which could be a predictor for the monitoring of the antiviral treatment. HCMV miRNAs profile showed markedly shift-switch from latency to reactivation in circulation from HCMV infected patients and hcmv-miR-US25-1-3p may be served as a predictor for the switch upon reactivation from latency in patients suffered with autoimmune diseases.


    Wanqing Zhou, Cheng Wang, Meng Ding, Yuying Bian, Yujie Zhong, Han Shen, Junjun Wang, Chen-Yu Zhang, Chunni Zhang. Different expression pattern of human cytomegalovirus-encoded microRNAs in circulation from virus latency to reactivation. Journal of translational medicine. 2020 Dec 09;18(1):469

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    PMID: 33298092

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