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In the past decade, research has demonstrated that viral miRNAs encoded by a number of viral genomes, particularly by most of the herpesvirus including Marek's disease virus (MDV), play important regulatory roles in viral infection, replication, and regulation of tumorigenesis. As macrovesicles in cells, exosomes can deliver viral miRNAs and exert gene regulatory functions. Whether the exosomes play a role in the replication, pathogenesis/tumorigenesis of avian herpesviruses such as oncogenic Marek's disease virus (MDV) remains unclear. Herein we extracted and identified the exosomes from MDV-transformed T cell line MSB-1 and demonstrated high abundance of MDV-1 miRNA expression. Using dual luciferase-based reporter assay, we also demonstrated that the exosomes derived from MSB-1 can deliver functional miRNA successfully into primary chicken embryo fibroblasts. These findings provide new insights into the role of exosomes and the mechanisms of how virus-encoded miRNA function in MDV latency/activation switching, viral replication, pathogenesis and/or tumorigenesis.

Original publication




Journal article


Tumour Virus Res

Publication Date





Exosomes, MDV, MSB-1, Tumorigenesis, miRNA