★ Borna disease virus (BDV)-encoded P protein inhibited miR-155 expression. ★ miR-155 positively regulated the production of type I interferons (IFNs). ★ miR-155 inhibited the expression of SOCS1 and SOCS3. ★ miR-155 suppressed the expression of BDV P protein.
It has been reported that the Borna disease virus (BDV) encoded phosphoprotein (P protein) can inhibit the activity of Traf family member-associated NF-kappaB activator (TANK)-binding kinase 1 (TBK-1), thus preventing the induction of type I interferon (IFN). However, the effects of microRNA on the regulation of BDV infection and the host's immune response have not been characterized. miR-155 was predicted to be complementary to the BDV P mRNA by RNAhybrid software. Here, we showed that miR-155 was down-regulated in BDV persistently infected human oligodendroglial (OL/BDV) cells and that the BDV P protein, but not the X protein, directly inhibited miR-155 expression in cells. When miR-155 was over-expressed, the inhibition of type I IFNs by BDV in cells was reversed, and the expression of type I IFNs was increased. When miR-155 expression was specifically blocked, cellular IFN expression and the induction of IFN by poly I:C treatment were suppressed. Furthermore, miR-155 promoted type I IFN production by targeting suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 (SOCS1) and SOCS3. Mutations in the nt1138–nt1158 region of SOCS3 abandoned the impact of miR-155 on the expression of SOCS3-enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP). The levels of BDV P mRNA and protein were significantly decreased in OL/BDV cells when miR-155 was over-expressed; however, miR-155-mutation did not affect the expression of BDV P-EGFP. Thus, BDV persistent infection inhibited the expression of type I IFNs through the suppression of miR-155, and miR-155 played an important immune regulatory role in BDV persistent infection.