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

le mice had a common profile showing distinct rates of genetic activity. This profile contained unique "signatures" of non-protein coding RNA activity. These signatures were associated with lethal infection. Test-tube studies show that more that 40 percent of the long non-coding RNAs and genomic regions activated in a SARS infection were also activated in response to both influenza virus infection and interferon treatment.

This finding further pointed to a signature profile associated with pathogenicity the power of a virus-host interaction to cause disease.

"The relevance of long-non-protein coding RNAs to viral infections has not been systematically studied," said Dr. Paulene Quigley, program manager of the STRIDE center. " But now, with our ability to do whole-transcriptome analysis using next generation sequencing, we can systematically catalog and compare these long non-protein coding RNA in response to infection. What we are finding is very promising for infectious disease research."

These results, to the best of the scientists' knowledge, are the first to clearly demonstrate the widespread production and activation of long non-coding RNAs in response to virus infection. Their success opens new avenues for investigating the roles of long-non-protein coding RNAs in innate immunity to infection.

Exactly how the long-non-protein coding RNAs perform these functions is not yet known. It's possible that they might interact with protein complexes that modify gene expression during a viral infection. They might also modulate the host's response by regulating neighboring protein-coding genes.

"The functions of non-protein coding RNAs remain largely unexplored, but we now have the tools to study them," Katze said. "Such studies are critical, because non-protein coding RNAs may represent a whole new class of innate immunity signaling molecules, interferon-dependent regulators, or modulators of the host response during
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Contact: Leila Gray
leilag@u.washington.edu
206-685-0381
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert  

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