Journal of NeuroVirology

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 457–463 | Cite as

Honeysuckle-derived microRNA2911 directly inhibits varicella-zoster virus replication by targeting IE62 gene

  • Ying Huang
  • Huabo Liu
  • Xinlei Sun
  • Meng Ding
  • Gaojian TaoEmail author
  • Xihan LiEmail author


Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) leads to chicken pox on primary infection and herpes zoster on reactivation. Recent studies suggest that microRNA2911 (MIR2911), honeysuckle (HS)-encoded atypical microRNA, has potential as a therapeutic agent against influenza and EV71 virus infections. Here, we report that MIR2911 directly inhibits VZV replication by targeting the IE62 gene. The luciferase reporter assay and bioinformatics prediction revealed that MIR2911 could target the IE62 gene of VZV. The VZV-encoded IE62 protein expression was inhibited significantly by synthetic MIR2911, while the expression of the mutants, whose MIR2911-binding sites were modified, was not inhibited. The RNA extracted from HS decoction and synthetic MIR2911 considerably suppressed VZV infection. However, it did not influence viral replication of a mutant virus with alterations in the nucleotide sequences of IE62. At the same time, the RNA extracted from HS decoction treated with the anti-MIR2911 antagomir could not inhibit the VZV replication, demonstrating that VZV replication was specifically and sufficiently inhibited by MIR2911. These results indicated that, by targeting the IE62 gene, MIR2911 may effectively inhibit VZV replication. Our results also suggest a potential novel strategy for the treatment and prevention of diseases caused by VZV infection.


microRNA Varicella-zoster virus Honeysuckle MIR2911 


Funding information

This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81801100), the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (No. BK20171124), the Jiangsu Provincial Commission of Health and Family Planning (No. H2017049), Basic Science and Research Foundation of the Central University (No.021414380186), Science and Technology Program of Nanjing (No. 201803037), and the Science and Technology Planning of Zhoushan City (No. 2012C13020).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Journal of NeuroVirology, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pain, Drum Tower HospitalMedical School of Nanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Department of PainZhejiang Province Zhoushan HospitalZhoushanChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Life SciencesNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  4. 4.Department of Gastroenterology, Drum Tower HospitalMedical School of Nanjing UniversityNanjingChina

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