Recent findings revealed that certain viruses encoded microRNA-like small RNAs using the RNA interference machinery in the host cells. However, the function of these virus-encoded microRNA-like small RNAs remained unclear, and whether these microRNA-like small RNAs were involved in the replication of the virus and viral infection was still disputable. In this chapter, the negative-sense RNA genome of Ebola virus (EBOV) was scanned using bioinformatics tools to predict the EBOV-encoded microRNA-like small RNAs. Then, the potential influence of viral microRNA-like small RNAs on the viral immune evasion, host cellular signaling pathway, and epigenetic regulation of antiviral defense mechanism were also detected by the reconstructed regulatory network of target genes associated with viral encoded microRNA-like small RNAs. In this analysis, EBOV-encoded microRNA-like small RNAs were proposed to inhibit the host immune response factors, probably facilitating the evasion of EBOV from the host defense mechanisms. In conclusion, systematic investigation of microRNA-like small RNAs in EBOV genome may shed light on the underlying molecular mechanisms of the pathological process of Ebola virus disease (EVD).
Part of the book: Ebola