Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection is of particular concern in immunodeficient individuals notably transplant recipients, leading to increased morbidity and mortality. HCMV is predicted to encode multiple microRNAs (miRNAs) and several have been characterized in vitro. Furthermore, these miRNAs have been shown to target human and viral mRNAs. Pathways involved in human cellular targets have key roles in vesicle trafficking, immune evasion and cell cycle control. This demonstration of viral miRNA targets provides novel insights into viral pathogenesis. This review details the evidence for the existence of HCMV-encoded miRNA and their targets. HCMV miRNA in blood and other tissues is a potential diagnostic tool and blocking the effects of specific HCMV-encoded miRNA with sequence specific antagomirs is a potential new therapy.
- CMV viral infection