miR-146a was reported to participate in various pathophysiological conditions in mammals, such as inflammation and immune responses, oncogenesis and cell damage. However, its function in low vertebrates has not been well elucidated. In this study, we characterized the expression profiles and functions of miR-146a in fish cells during iridovirus infection. We found that the reported fish miR-146a genes encoded an identical mature sequence, which shared high similarity with its mammalian orthologues, suggesting a putative functional conservation of miR-146a between fish and other vertebrates. Using a well-established infection model of Singapore grouper iridovirus (SGIV) in fathead minnow cells, we found that SGIV infection induced the expression of miR-146a to a dramatic extent. More importantly, we found that miR-146a promoted SGIV propagation, as demonstrated by higher expression of viral genes and increased virus titres in miR-146a- overexpressing cells. Mechanistically, we found that miR-146a overexpression suppressed, while miR-146a knockdown promoted, NF-κB activation and SGIV-induced cell apoptosis, two major cellular events involved in SGIV infection. Our study suggested that the induction of miR-146a by SGIV infection may function through a feed-forward mechanism to promote viral infection by restraining anti-viral cellular responses.