In October 2010, I am moving to an independent faculty position at Northwestern University to pursue the functional analysis of Kaposi's saroma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) microRNAs (miRNAs). MiRNAs are -22 nucleotide long non-coding RNAs that posttranscriptionally repress mRNAs bearing imperfect matches to the miRNA, primarily in their 3'UTR. KSHV expresses a number of viral miRNAs from 12 pre-miRNAstem loops during latent infection. During the K99 phase ofthis award, I have comprehensively identified targets of all KSHV miRNAs using the newly developed PAR-CLIP technology and characterized the role of KSHV mJR-KI in the evasion of p53-mediated cell cycle arrest by KSHV. My research goal for the ROO phase of this award is to use this detailed knowledge ofthe KSHVmiRNAtargets to study the contribution ofthe KSHV miRNAs to the de-regulation of cell cycle progression and apoptosis by KSHV. Interference with these pathways by KSHV is thought to be critical for the tumorigenic properties of this virus. The interplay of the KSHV miRNAs with these pathways will be studied (a) based on PAR-CLIP-identified targets of these miRNAs with known functions in cell cycle regulation and the induction of apoptosis, (b) through systematic functional interrogation of B-cell lines or endothelial cells which ectopically express individual or multiple KSHV miRNAs, and (c) through systematic functional interrogation of latently KSHV infected primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) cells or endothelial cells in which the function of individual or multiple miRNAs has been blocked using sponges. I will monitor my development as an independent researcher through regular meetings with a newly formed mentorship committee of experts in herpesvirology miRNA biology. Furthermore, I expect that the proposed research will yield sufficient interesting data to apply for an ROI grant early in the independent phase and also significantly shape my long term research program.

Public Health Relevance

The tumorigenic human gamma herpesvirus KSHV expresses 12 viral microRNAs during latency. Elucidating functions of KSHV miRNAs is expected to strongly enhance our understanding of KSHV biology and may yield vital clues to the mechanisms of oncogenesis by KSHV and miR-155, an ortholog of the KSHV microRNA miR-K11.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Transition Award (R00)
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Special Emphasis Panel (NSS)
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Read-Connole, Elizabeth Lee
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Northwestern University at Chicago
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Manzano, Mark; Shamulailatpam, Priscilla; Raja, Archana N et al. (2013) Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus encodes a mimic of cellular miR-23. J Virol 87:11821-30
Corcoran, David L; Georgiev, Stoyan; Mukherjee, Neelanjan et al. (2011) PARalyzer: definition of RNA binding sites from PAR-CLIP short-read sequence data. Genome Biol 12:R79
Gottwein, Eva; Corcoran, David L; Mukherjee, Neelanjan et al. (2011) Viral microRNA targetome of KSHV-infected primary effusion lymphoma cell lines. Cell Host Microbe 10:515-26