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A virus‐derived microRNA targets immune response genes during SARS‐CoV‐2 infection

Abstract : SARS-CoV-2 infection results in impaired interferon response in patients with severe COVID-19. However, how SARS-CoV-2 interferes with host immune responses is incompletely understood. Here, we sequence small RNAs from SARS-CoV-2-infected human cells and identify a microRNA (miRNA) derived from a recently evolved region of the viral genome. We show that the virus-derived miRNA produces two miRNA isoforms in infected cells by the enzyme Dicer, which are loaded into Argonaute proteins. Moreover, the predominant miRNA isoform targets the 3'UTR of interferon-stimulated genes and represses their expression in a miRNA-like fashion. Finally, the two viral miRNA isoforms were detected in nasopharyngeal swabs from COVID-19 patients. We propose that SARS-CoV-2 can potentially employ a virus-derived miRNA to hijack the host miRNA machinery, which could help to evade the interferon-mediated immune response.
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Submitted on : Thursday, January 6, 2022 - 11:45:20 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, June 7, 2022 - 4:20:12 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, April 7, 2022 - 6:58:17 PM

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Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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Meetali Singh, Maxime Chazal, Piergiuseppe Quarato, Loan Bourdon, Christophe Malabat, et al.. A virus‐derived microRNA targets immune response genes during SARS‐CoV‐2 infection. EMBO Reports, EMBO Press, 2021, pp.e54341. ⟨10.15252/embr.202154341⟩. ⟨pasteur-03514377⟩

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