The Expression of microRNAs in Hantavirus Infections
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Hantaviruses cause serious human diseases, Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), depending on the virus type. Currently no vaccine exists and the existing drug therapy for hantavirus infections is mainly supportive. MicroRNAs are short non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression. They play important roles in many biological processes, including cell differentiation, development and diseases like cancer. miRNAs have also been found to be involved in viral infections. The aim of this project was to investigate the miRNA expression during Hantavirus infection, and analyze the difference in miRNA expression between pathogenic hantaviruses (Hantaan virus), non-pathogenic (Prospect Hill virus), and mock-infected cells. Aberrantly expressed miRNAs could have potential as therapeutic targets.Focus assay was used to quantify the virus, and a stay in Berlin was organized to get instructions from Dr. Rang. However, the optimization of the assay was not successful, and quantification of the virus was not achieved.Next-generation sequencing revealed miR-340 as the candidate miRNA with the greatest expression variation in HTNV infected vs. PHV infected or mock-infected cells. Validation by qRT-PCR has not been successful and should be pursued further. It would also be interesting to investigate whether miR-340 is involved in increased endothelial cell permeability, as found by Pepini et.al (2010) in Andes Virus infections.