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Open Access

In vivo characterization of the BLV miRNA cluster

  • Anthony Rodari1,
  • Benoît Van Driessche1,
  • Nadège Delacourt1,
  • Caroline Vanhulle1,
  • Arsène Burny2,
  • Anne Van den Broeke2, 3,
  • Olivier Rohr4 and
  • Carine Van Lint1Email author
Contributed equally
Retrovirology201512(Suppl 1):O11

Published: 28 August 2015


Etiologic AgentChromatin ImmunoprecipitationDeep SequencingHost Immune SystemBovine Leukemia Virus

Bovine leukemia virus (BLV), a B-lymphotropic oncogenic retrovirus sharing common biological and structural features with the human T-cell leukemia virus I and II (HTLV-I and II), is the etiologic agent of enzootic bovine leucosis. One major feature of the BLV infection is the absence of viremia. It is widely accepted that BLV latency, due to the RN! polymerase II 5’-LTR-driven transcriptional and epigenetic repression is a viral strategy to escape from the host immune system and allow tumor development. Recently, it has been demonstrated by deep sequencing and bioinformatics analysis that the BLV genome encodes a cluster of micro-RNAs which is predicted to be transcribed by RNA polymerase III suggesting that the silencing dogma in BLV transcriptional regulation is only partially correct. Here, we demonstrated by chromatin immunoprecipitation assays that BLV miRNAs were indeed transcribed in vivo by RNA polymerase III through a type II RNAPIII promoter similar to the one directing tRNAs transcription. We also showed that an activating epigenetic environment surrounds the miRNAs cluster. Overall, our results provide new insights into a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating gene expression of oncogenic retroviruses.


Authors’ Affiliations

Service of Molecular Virology, University of Brusells (ULB), Gosselies, Belgium
Laboratory of Experimental Hematology, Institut Jules Bordet, University of Brusells (ULB), Brusells, Belgium
Unit of Animal Genomics, GIGA, University of Liège (ULg), Liège, Belgium
Institut Universitaire de Technologie (IUT) Louis Pasteur de Schiltigheim, Université of Strasbourg, Schiltigheim, France


© Rodari et al. 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.