Emerging Roles of Small Epstein-Barr Virus Derived Non-Coding RNAs in Epithelial Malignancy

Raymond Wai-Ming Lung; Joanna Hung-Man Tong; Ka-Fai To
September 2013
International Journal of Molecular Sciences;Sep2013, Vol. 14 Issue 9, p17378
Academic Journal
Latent Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection is an etiological factor in the progression of several human epithelial malignancies such as nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and a subset of gastric carcinoma. Reports have shown that EBV produces several viral oncoproteins, yet their pathological roles in carcinogenesis are not fully elucidated. Studies on the recently discovered of EBV-encoded microRNAs (ebv-miRNAs) showed that these small molecules function as post-transcriptional gene regulators and may play a role in the carcinogenesis process. In NPC and EBV positive gastric carcinoma (EBVaGC), 22 viral miRNAs which are located in the long alternative splicing EBV transcripts, named BamH1 A rightward transcripts (BARTs), are abundantly expressed. The importance of several miR-BARTs in carcinogenesis has recently been demonstrated. These novel findings enhance our understanding of the oncogenic properties of EBV and may lead to a more effective design of therapeutic regimens to combat EBV-associated malignancies. This article will review the pathological roles of miR-BARTs in modulating the expression of cancer-related genes in both host and viral genomes. The expression of other small non-coding RNAs in NPC and the expression pattern of miR-BARTs in rare EBV-associated epithelial cancers will also be discussed.


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