ZIKV - CDB: A Collaborative Database to Guide Research Linking SncRNAs and ZIKA Virus Disease Symptoms. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: In early 2015, a ZIKA Virus (ZIKV) infection outbreak was recognized in northeast Brazil, where concerns over its possible links with infant microcephaly have been discussed. Providing a causal link between ZIKV infection and birth defects is still a challenge. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs (sncRNAs) that regulate post-transcriptional gene expression by translational repression, and play important roles in viral pathogenesis and brain development. The potential for flavivirus-mediated miRNA signalling dysfunction in brain-tissue development provides a compelling hypothesis to test the perceived link between ZIKV and microcephaly. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here, we applied in silico analyses to provide novel insights to understand how Congenital ZIKA Syndrome symptoms may be related to an imbalance in miRNAs function. Moreover, following World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, we have assembled a database to help target investigations of the possible relationship between ZIKV symptoms and miRNA-mediated human gene expression. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We have computationally predicted both miRNAs encoded by ZIKV able to target genes in the human genome and cellular (human) miRNAs capable of interacting with ZIKV genomes. Our results represent a step forward in the ZIKV studies, providing new insights to support research in this field and identify potential targets for therapy.

publication date

  • June 2016