Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) infection-mediated sequential changes in microRNAs profile of Epithelioma papulosum cyprini (EPC) cells

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MicroRNAs are small non-coding RNAs and are involved in the regulation of wide biological processes. Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) is the causative agent of viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) disease causing a heavy loss in aquaculture farms. In this study, we tried to explore the effect of VHSV infection on microRNAs profile of Epithelioma papulosum cyprini (EPC) cells at different points of time (0, 3, 12, 24, and 48 h post infection). A total of 355 conserved microRNAs and 3 novel microRNAs were identified, and among them, 103 microRNAs were differentially expressed. The number of differentially expressed microRNAs was highly increased at 24 h.p.i compared to 3 h.p.i and 12 h.p.i., suggesting that EPC cells might not actively respond to VHSV infection at an early infection period, which can allow viruses to transcript and translate their genes enough to produce viral particles that can infect to another cells. Among the differentially expressed microRNAs, 2 miRNAs (miR-735 and miR-738) that were reported only in fish species were highly upregulated, and based on the target prediction, they could regulate several immune pathways. Furthermore, the present results showed the upregulation of representative immune regulating microRNAs such as miR-146a, miR-155, and miR-99. The target prediction of differentially expressed miRNAs, GO, and KEGG pathways analysis revealed that several biological processes and different pathways were affected by the viral infection. The present dynamical changing patterns of differentially expressed microRNAs in response to the progression of VHSV infection suggest that microRNA profile that was analyzed at one time point cannot provide enough information for the interpretation of the disease mechanism. Considering the wide and complex interactions between microRNAs and genes expression, the present results provide the basis for the understanding of VHSV infection-mediated cellular responses and for future investigations on the development of possible control measures.

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