Shrimp miRNAs regulate innate immune response against white spot syndrome virus infection

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MicroRNAs are short noncoding RNAs of RNA interference pathways that regulate gene expression through partial complementary base-pairing to target mRNAs. In this study, miRNAs that are expressed in white spot syndrome virus (WSSV)-infected Penaeus monodon, were identified using next generation sequencing. Forty-six miRNA homologs were identified from WSSV-infected shrimp hemocyte. Stem-loop real-time RT-PCR analysis showed that 11 out of 16 selected miRNAs were differentially expressed upon WSSV infection. Of those, pmo-miR-315 and pmo-miR-750 were highly responsive miRNAs. miRNA target prediction revealed that the miRNAs were targeted at 5′UTR, ORF, and 3′UTR of several immune-related genes such as genes encoding antimicrobial peptides, signaling transduction proteins, heat shock proteins, oxidative stress proteins, proteinases or proteinase inhibitors, proteins in blood clotting system, apoptosis-related proteins, proteins in prophenoloxidase system, pattern recognition proteins and other immune molecules. The highly conserved miRNA homolog, pmo-bantam, was characterized for its function in shrimp. The pmo-bantam was predicted to target the 3′UTR of Kunitz-type serine protease inhibitor (KuSPI). Binding of pmo-bantam to the target sequence of KuSPI gene was analyzed by luciferase reporter assay. Correlation of pmo-bantam and KuSPI expression was observed in lymphoid organ of WSSV-infected shrimp. These results implied that miRNAs might play roles as immune gene regulators in shrimp antiviral response.

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