microRNAs in viral oncogenesis

MicroRNAs constitute a hitherto unexplored layer of genetic interactions between the virus and the host. The regulatory impact of microRNAs is huge because a single microRNA can regulate multiple transcripts and multiple microRNAs can regulate a single transcript. This is very similar to transcriptional regulatory networks. Models of microRNA in host-virus cross-talk have been reviewed recently. The recent discovery of microRNAs encoded by a number of viruses, including many human oncogenic viruses, has attracted renewed interest in the molecular mechanism of viral oncogenesis. This novel regulatory layer, mediated by microRNAs, has a far-reaching impact on the latency and pathogenesis of viruses, including the mechanism of virus induced cancers. The molecular role of microRNAs in viral oncogenesis may be diverse, ranging from viral encoded microRNAs to virus encoded suppressors of RNA interference. Cancer itself is multifactorial, wherein deregulation at multiple levels culminates in the global regulatory derangement, thereby making molecular oncogenesis an enigma. In this review we discuss, in light of recent reports, the various possible mechanisms and/or models of host-virus interactions culminating in oncogenesis mediated by microRNAs.

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