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The evolving world of small RNAs from RNA viruses

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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 This article is categorized under: Regulatory RNAs/RNAi/Riboswitches > Biogenesis of Effector Small RNAs Regulatory RNAs/RNAi/Riboswitches > RNAi: Mechanisms of Action Regulatory RNAs/RNAi/Riboswitches > Regulatory RNAs
General antiviral RNAi pathways and virus‐encoded RNAi suppressors. RNA virus‐encoded RNAi suppressors target steps in the arthropod siRNA pathway (a) and the plant siRNA pathway (b). During viral replication, double‐stranded RNAs (dsRNAs) are targeted by Dicer‐2 (DCR2) in arthropod cells and Dicer‐like protein (DCL) in plant cells and are cleaved into small fragments of dsRNA. The 3′‐end of a siRNA is methylated (m) at the indicated steps in arthropod and plant cells. One strand of the small dsRNA is loaded into Argonaute protein (Ago) complexes and combined with other proteins to form the RNA‐induced silencing complex (RISC). The guide siRNA within RISC forms base pairs with viral RNA to elicit RNA silencing via RNA degradation. The plant host can amplify siRNAs by the activity of cellular RNA‐dependent RNA polymerase (RDRP). Viruses and their respective RNAi suppressor proteins (red ovals) target the indicated steps within the RNAi pathways depicted. For arthropods, these include the following viruses: cricket paralysis virus (CrPV), Culex Y virus (CYV), Drosophila C virus (DCV), dengue virus (DENV), flock house virus (FHV), Nodamura virus (NoV), sfRNA from flavivirus infection, and Wuhan nodavirus (WhNV). For plants, these include the following viruses: cucumber mosaic virus (CMV), polerovirus, sweet potato mild mottle virus (SPMMV), tombusvirus, tospovirus, and turnip crinkle virus (TCV).
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Regulatory RNAs/RNAi/Riboswitches > Regulatory RNAs
Regulatory RNAs/RNAi/Riboswitches > RNAi: Mechanisms of Action
Regulatory RNAs/RNAi/Riboswitches > Biogenesis of Effector Small RNAs

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