Expression of microRNA in human retinal pigment epithelial cells following infection with Zaire ebolavirus

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OBJECTIVE: Survivors of Ebola virus disease (EVD) are at risk of developing blinding intraocular inflammation-or uveitis-which is associated with retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) scarring and persistence of live Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) within the eye. As part of a large research project aimed at defining the human RPE cell response to being infected with EBOV, this work focused on the microRNAs (miRNAs) associated with the infection. RESULTS: Using RNA-sequencing, we detected 13 highly induced and 2 highly repressed human miRNAs in human ARPE-19 RPE cells infected with EBOV, including hsa-miR-1307-5p, hsa-miR-29b-3p and hsa-miR-33a-5p (up-regulated), and hsa-miR-3074-3p and hsa-miR-27b-5p (down-regulated). EBOV-miR-1-5p was also found in infected RPE cells. Through computational identification of putative miRNA targets, we predicted a broad range of regulatory activities, including effects on innate and adaptive immune responses, cellular metabolism, cell cycle progression, apoptosis and autophagy. The most highly-connected molecule in the miR-target network was leucine-rich repeat kinase 2, which is involved in neuroinflammation and lysosomal processing. Our findings should stimulate new studies on the impact of miRNA changes in EBOV-infected RPE cells to further understanding of intraocular viral persistence and the pathogenesis of uveitis in EVD survivors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number639
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Research Notes
Issue number639
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

The accepted author manuscript was published according to the publisher's Institutional Repository Policy.


  • Ebola
  • Filovirus
  • MicroRNA
  • Retina
  • Retinal pigment epithelium
  • Uveitis
  • Zaire ebolavirus


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