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Late regulation of immune genes and microRNAs in circulating leukocytes in a pig model of influenza A (H1N2) infection

Brogaard, L., Heegaard, P.M.H., Larsen, L.E., et al.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of short regulatory RNA molecules which are implicated in modulating gene expression. Levels of circulating, cell-associated miRNAs in response to influenza A virus (IAV) infection has received limited attention so far. To further understand the temporal dynamics and biological implications of miRNA regulation in circulating leukocytes, we collected blood samples before and after (1, 3, and 14 days) IAV challenge of pigs. Differential expression of miRNAs and innate immune factor mRNA transcripts was analysed using RT-qPCR. A total of 20 miRNAs were regulated after IAV challenge, with the highest number of regulated miRNAs seen on day 14 after infection at which time the infection was cleared. Targets of the regulated miRNAs included genes involved in apoptosis and cell cycle regulation. Significant regulation of both miRNAs and mRNA transcripts at 14 days after challenge points to a protracted effect of IAV infection, potentially affecting the host’s ability to respond to secondary infections. In conclusion, experimental IAV infection of pigs demonstrated the dynamic nature of miRNA and mRNA regulation in circulating leukocytes during and after infection, and revealed the need for further investigation of the potential immunosuppressing effect of miRNA and innate immune signaling after IAV infection.

Citation

Brogaard, L., Heegaard, P.M.H., Larsen, L.E., et al. "Late regulation of immune genes and microRNAs in circulating leukocytes in a pig model of influenza A (H1N2) infection" Scientific Reports (2016): 21,812