Deletion of Cytoplasmic Double-Stranded RNA Sensors Does Not Uncover Viral Small Interfering RNA Production in Human Cells
SourceMsphere, 2, 4, (2017), article e00333-17
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectRadboudumc 4: lnfectious Diseases and Global Health RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
Antiviral immunity in insects and plants is mediated by the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway in which viral long double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is processed into small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) by Dicer enzymes. Although this pathway is evolutionarily conserved, its involvement in antiviral defense in mammals is the subject of debate. In vertebrates, recognition of viral RNA induces a sophisticated type I interferon (IFN)-based immune response, and it has been proposed that this response masks or inhibits antiviral RNAi. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed viral small RNA production in differentiated cells deficient in the cytoplasmic RNA sensors RIG-I and MDA5. We did not detect 22-nucleotide (nt) viral siRNAs upon infection with three different positive-sense RNA viruses. Our data suggest that the depletion of cytoplasmic RIG-I-like sensors is not sufficient to uncover viral siRNAs in differentiated cells. IMPORTANCE The contribution of the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway in antiviral immunity in vertebrates has been widely debated. It has been proposed that RNAi possesses antiviral activity in mammalian systems but that its antiviral effect is masked by the potent antiviral interferon response in differentiated mammalian cells. In this study, we show that inactivation of the interferon response is not sufficient to uncover antiviral activity of RNAi in human epithelial cells infected with three wild-type positive-sense RNA viruses.
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