RNA virus infection in plants and invertebrates can produce virus-derived small RNAs. These RNAs share features with host endogenous small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). They can potentially mediate RNA interference (RNAi) and related RNA silencing pathways, resulting in specific antiviral defense. Although most RNA silencing components such as Dicer, Ago2, and RISC are conserved among eukaryotic hosts, whether RNA virus infection in mammals can generate functional small RNAs that act in antiviral defense remains under discussion. Here, we review recent studies on the molecular and biochemical features of viral siRNAs and other virus-derived small RNAs from infected plants, arthropods, nematodes, and vertebrates and discuss the genetic pathways for their biogenesis and their roles in antiviral activity. WIREs RNA 2016, 7:575–588. doi: 10.1002/wrna.1351. For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology