Background: Changes in the levels of circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) in the serum of humans and animals have been detected as a result of infection with a variety of viruses. However, to date, such a miRNA profiling study has not been conducted for foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) infection. Methods: The relative abundance of 169 miRNAs was measured in bovine serum collected at three different phases of FMDV infection in a proof-of-concept study using miRNA PCR array plates. Results: Alterations in specific miRNA levels were detected in serum during acute, persistent, and convalescent phases of FMDV infection. Subclinical FMDV persistence produced a circulating miRNA profile distinct from cattle that had cleared infection. bta-miR-17-5p was highest expressed during acute infection, whereas bta-miR-31 was the highest during FMDV persistence. Interestingly, miR-1281was significantly down-regulated during both acute and persistent infection. Cattle that cleared infection resembled the baseline profile, adding support to applying serum miRNA profiling for identification of sub-clinically infected FMDV carriers. Significantly regulated miRNAs during acute or persistent infection were associated with cellular proliferation, apoptosis, modulation of the immune response, and lipid metabolism. Conclusions: These findings suggest a role for non-coding regulatory RNAs in FMDV infection of cattle. Future studies will delineate the individual contributions of the reported miRNAs to FMDV replication, determine if this miRNA signature is applicable across all FMDV serotypes, and may facilitate development of novel diagnostic applications.
- Bovine miRNA profile
- Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV)
- microRNA (miRNA)