Altered microRNA Transcriptome in Cultured Human Liver Cells upon Infection with Ebola Virus

International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Vol. 22 (2021)

Keywords
Authors
  • Idrissa Diallo
  • CHU de Québec Research Center, Department of Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Quebec, QC G1V 4G2, Canada
  • Jeffrey Ho
  • CHU de Québec Research Center, Department of Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Quebec, QC G1V 4G2, Canada
  • Benoit Laffont
  • CHU de Québec Research Center, Department of Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Quebec, QC G1V 4G2, Canada
  • Jonathan Laugier
  • CHU de Québec Research Center, Department of Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Quebec, QC G1V 4G2, Canada
  • Abderrahim Benmoussa
  • CHU de Québec Research Center, Department of Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Quebec, QC G1V 4G2, Canada
  • Marine Lambert
  • CHU de Québec Research Center, Department of Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Quebec, QC G1V 4G2, Canada
  • Zeinab Husseini
  • CHU de Québec Research Center, Department of Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Quebec, QC G1V 4G2, Canada
  • Geoff Soule
  • Special Pathogens Program, National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada, Winnipeg, MB R3B 3M9, Canada
  • Robert Kozak
  • Special Pathogens Program, National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada, Winnipeg, MB R3B 3M9, Canada
  • Gary P. Kobinger
  • CHU de Québec Research Center, Department of Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Quebec, QC G1V 4G2, Canada
  • Patrick Provost
  • CHU de Québec Research Center, Department of Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Quebec, QC G1V 4G2, Canada

Abstract

Ebola virus (EBOV) is a virulent pathogen, notorious for inducing life-threatening hemorrhagic fever, that has been responsible for several outbreaks in Africa and remains a public health threat. Yet, its pathogenesis is still not completely understood. Although there have been numerous studies on host transcriptional response to EBOV, with an emphasis on the clinical features, the impact of EBOV infection on post-transcriptional regulatory elements, such as microRNAs (miRNAs), remains largely unexplored. MiRNAs are involved in inflammation and immunity and are believed to be important modulators of the host response to viral infection. Here, we have used small RNA sequencing (sRNA-Seq), qPCR and functional analyses to obtain the first comparative miRNA transcriptome (miRNome) of a human liver cell line (Huh7) infected with one of the following three EBOV strains: Mayinga (responsible for the first Zaire outbreak in 1976), Makona (responsible for the West Africa outbreak in 2013–2016) and the epizootic Reston (presumably innocuous to humans). Our results highlight specific miRNA-based immunity pathways and substantial differences between the strains beyond their clinical manifestation and pathogenicity. These analyses shed new light into the molecular signature of liver cells upon EBOV infection and reveal new insights into miRNA-based virus attack and host defense strategy.

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