The Structure-to-Function Relationships of Gammaherpesvirus-Encoded Long Non-Coding RNAs and their Contributions to Viral Pathogenesis
Gabriela Chavez-CalvilloJoanna Sztuba-Solinska


Advances in next-generation sequencing have facilitated the discovery of a multitude of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) with pleiotropic functions in cellular processes, disease and viral pathogenesis. It came as no surprise when viruses were also revealed to transcribe their own lncRNAs. Among them, gammaherpesviruses, one of the three subfamilies of the Herpesviridae, code their largest number. These structurally and functionally intricate non-coding (nc) transcripts modulate cellular and viral gene expression to maintain viral latency or prompt lytic reactivation. The lncRNAs allow the virus to escape cytosolic surveillance, sequester and re-localize essential cellular factors and modulate the cell cycle and proliferation. Some viral lncRNAs act as “messenger molecules”, transferring information about viral infection to neighboring cells. This broad range of lncRNA functions is achieved through lncRNA structure-mediated interactions with effector molecules of viral and host origin, including other RNAs, proteins and DNAs. In this review, we discuss examples of gammaherpesvirus-encoded lncRNAs, emphasize their unique structural attributes, and link them to viral life cycle, pathogenesis and disease progression. We will address...Continue Reading

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