Oncoviruses and Pathogenic MicroRNAs in Humans

Yoichi Robertus Fujii*
Retroviral Genetics Group, Nagoya City University, Nagoya, 467-8603, Japan

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* Address correspondence to this author at the Retroviral Genetics Group, Nagoya City University, Nagoya, 467-8603, Japan, E-mail: or


For disease prognosis, the functional significance of the oncoviral integration locus in oncogenesis has remained enigmatic. The locus encodes several transcripts without protein products, but microRNAs (miRNAs) have recently been identified from a common oncoviral integration locus. miRNA is an endogenous, non-coding small RNA by which gene expression is suppressed. Although miRNA genes, such as let-7 in the nematode, have orthologs among animals, the relationship between miRNAs and tumorigenesis or tumor suppression has been mainly discovered in several human cancers. On the contrary, this review clearly demonstrates the potential for human tumorigenesis of both miRNA genes from oncoviral integration sites and other cellular onco-microRNA genes, and we conclude that alteration of the miRNA profile of cells can be defined as tumorigenic or tumor suppressive. Thus, we explain here that virally-pathogenic miRNAs could also be partly responsible for oncogenesis or oncogene suppression to confirm’ the RNA wave’, with the miRNAs hypothesized as a mobile and functional genetic element.

Keywords: Cancer, human genome, microRNA, non-coding RNA, oncovirus, tumor..