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New class of biomolecules triggered in response to respiratory virus infection
Date:10/26/2010

possible from the DNA code. Unlike the genome, the transcriptome varies in different types of cells in the body and in accordance with ever-changing conditions inside and outside the cell. Peng recalled, "There were intensive discussions about what value the new whole-transcriptome analysis would add to our understanding of viral pathogenesis. After several exploratory analyses, we realized that many long non-protein coding RNAs also responded to SARS virus infection. We were so excited. The response had just been overlooked by people."

"People have not seriously looked at these long-non-protein coding RNAs during viral infection," Peng noted, "because so little is known about these RNAs in general and this type of RNA can't be monitored easily with typical technologies." Katze and his research team were able to use highly advanced technologies, namely next generation sequencing, to perform a whole-transcriptome analysis of the host response to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infection. The study was conducted in four strains of mice, some more susceptible to this virus or to the flu virus than others.

Through a comprehensive computational analysis of the data, the researchers observed that virus infection triggered about 500 long non-protein coding RNAs transcribed from known locations on the genome and about 1,000 from previously unspecified genomic regions.

"Using this approach," Katze noted, "we demonstrated that virus infection alters the expression of numerous long non-protein coding RNAs. These findings suggest that these RNAs may be a new class of regulatory molecules that play a role in determining the outcome of infection." The long non-protein coding RNAs may be helping to manage the infected animal's response to the virus, including the basic, first-line defense against infection the animal's innate, or inborn, immunity.

Another important finding was that the strains of more susceptib
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Contact: Leila Gray
leilag@u.washington.edu
206-685-0381
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert  

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