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Science 304 (5671): 734-736

Copyright © 2004 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Identification of Virus-Encoded MicroRNAs

Sébastien Pfeffer,1 Mihaela Zavolan,2 Friedrich A. Grässer,3 Minchen Chien,4 James J. Russo,4 Jingyue Ju,4 Bino John,5 Anton J. Enright,5 Debora Marks,4 Chris Sander,5 Thomas Tuschl1*

Abstract: RNA silencing processes are guided by small RNAs that are derived from double-stranded RNA. To probe for function of RNA silencing during infection of human cells by a DNA virus, we recorded the small RNA profile of cells infected by Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). We show that EBV expresses several microRNA (miRNA) genes. Given that miRNAs function in RNA silencing pathways either by targeting messenger RNAs for degradation or by repressing translation, we identified viral regulators of host and/or viral gene expression.

1 Laboratory of RNA Molecular Biology, The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, Box 186, New York, NY 10021, USA.
2 Biozentrum der Universität Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 50-70, CH-4056 Basel, Switzerland.
3 Institut für Mikrobiologie und Hygiene, Abteilung Virologie, Haus 47, Universitätskliniken, D-66421 Homburg/Saar, Germany.
4 Columbia Genome Center, Columbia University, 1150 St. Nicholas Avenue, New York, NY 10032, USA.
5 Computational Biology Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ttuschl{at}

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Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882