In this study, sequences of small RNA (sRNA) libraries derived from the insect vector Laodelphax striatellus were assembled into contigs and used as queries for database searches. A large number of contigs were highly homologous to the genome sequence of an insect dicistrovirus, himetobi P virus (HiPV). Interestingly, HiPV-derived sRNAs had a wide size distribution, and were relatively abundant throughout the 18-30 nt size range with only a slight peak at 22 nt. HiPV sRNAs had a strong bias towards the sense strand, whilst the antisense sRNAs were predominantly 21 and 22 nt. HiPV sRNAs do not have the typical features of PIWI-interacting RNAs, but their 39 ends were preferentially cleaved at UA-rich sequences. Our data suggest that HiPV sRNAs may be derived both from activities of the RNA interference pathway and from cleavage of the viral genome by other host RNases.
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