MicroRNA Molecules May Repress the Replication of Human Coronaviruses

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Smart infection outfoxed: Russian scientists have actually discovered MicroRNA particles possibly efficient in quelching the duplication of human coronaviruses.

HSE University scientists have actually discovered microRNA particles that are possibly efficient in quelching the duplication of human coronaviruses, consisting of SARS-CoV-2. It ends up that the infection utilizes miRNA hsa-miR-21-3p to prevent development in the very first phases of infection in order to postpone the active immune action. The outcomes of the research study will be released today (September 14, 2020) in the journal PeerJ.

After the infection gets in the cell, it begins actively connecting with numerous in-cell particles. One such particle class is microRNAs (miRNAs), which are little RNAs whose primary function is to manage gene expression. When an infection gets in, miRNAs begin binding particular parts of its genome RNA, which causes the damage of infection RNAs. Such an attack can stop infection duplication entirely. However, in cases when miRNAs are not extremely “aggressive,” such interactions do not ruin the infection however rather decrease its duplication. This circumstance is advantageous for the infection because it assists prevent a quick immune action in the cell. And a few of the infections actively collect host miRNA binding websites. This becomes their benefit: infections with more binding websites make it through and recreate much better, which causes their evolutionary dominance.

Researchers from the HSE Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, Stepan Nersisyan, and Alexander Tonevitsky, together with first-year trainees Narek Engibaryan, Aleksandra Gorbonos, Ksenia Kirdey, and Alexey Makhonin, discovered cell miRNAs that have the ability to bind coronavirus genomes.

miRNA Binding Sites

The image reveals miRNA binding websites hsa-miR-21-3p and hsa-miR-421, which are shared for 6 out of 7 human coronaviruses. Credit: @Nersisyan, et. al.

There are 7 kinds of human coronaviruses in overall. Four of them (HCoV-OC43, HCoV-NL63, HCoV-HKU1 and HCoV-229E) are extensive and trigger the cold, while infections MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 can trigger unsafe irregular pneumonia. The scientists discovered 4 households of human miRNAs with discovered binding websites with all the infections under factor to consider.

The image reveals miRNA binding websites hsa-miR-21-3p and hsa-miR-421, which are shared for 6 out of 7 human coronaviruses.

To discover how the infection can engage with the discovered miRNAs, the scientists examined the readily available information on miRNA series in lungs of mice contaminated with SARS-CoV. They found that the infection causes an 8-fold boost in the expression of the formerly discovered miRNA hsa-miR-21-3p.

‘MiRNA hsa-miR-21-3p has big potential for binding all human coronaviruses. But after infection with SARS-CoV, the concentration of this miRNA in the lungs grows a lot. If we assume that this is a mechanism of immune response, it is unclear why the virus does not eliminate the binding sites with cell miRNAs in the process of mutation. On the contrary, we see that the virus ‘accumulates’ them in its genome throughout the development — our research study shows that such websites exist in all human coronaviruses and do not alter significantly. We expect that in this manner the infection utilizes this miRNA to decrease its duplication in the early phases of infection in order to postpone the active immune action,’ Stepan Nersisyan stated.

The next action of the group’s research study will be speculative confirmation of their discoveries. The scientists are likewise preparing to examine the possibility of medical impact on the infection that targets the found miRNAs. In specific, they prepare to figure out whether their synthetic intro or removal has the ability to avoid infection recreation.

Reference: 14 September 2020, PeerJ.
DOI: 10.7717/peerj.9994