Impact of natural occurring erap1 single nucleotide polymorphisms within mirna-binding sites on hcmv infection

Ombretta Melaiu, Silvia D’amico, Patrizia Tempora, Valeria Lucarini, Doriana Fruci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a β-herpesvirus that causes serious problems in people with a compromised immune system, whereas it coexists asymptomatically within the host with a healthy immune system. Like other viruses, HCMV has adopted multiples strategies to manipulate the host’s immune responses. Among them, expression of viral microRNAs (miRNAs) is one of the most intriguing. HCMV miR-UL112-5p and miR-US4-1 have been found to contribute to immune evasion by targeting the endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase 1 (ERAP1), a highly polymorphic key component of antigen processing. The current incomplete picture on the interplay between viral miRNAs and host immunity implies the need to better characterize the host genetic determinants. Naturally occurring single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the miRNA binding sites of target genes may affect miRNA–target interactions. In this review, we focus on the relevance of 3 untranslated region (3 UTR) ERAP1 SNPs within miRNA binding sites in modulating miRNA–mRNA interactions and the possible consequent individual susceptibility to HCMV infection. Moreover, we performed an in silico analysis using different bioinformatic algorithms to predict ERAP1 variants with a putative powerful biological function. This evidence provides a basis to deepen the knowledge on how 3 UTR ERAP1 variants may alter the mechanism of action of HCMV miRNAs, in order to develop targeted antiviral therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5861
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2 2020


  • ERAP1
  • HCMV
  • Immune evasion
  • MicroRNAs
  • Single nucleotide polymorphisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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