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Antiviral RNA interference in mammals.

  • Author(s): Ding, Shou-Wei;
  • Han, Qingxia;
  • Wang, Jinyan;
  • Li, Wan-Xiang
  • et al.

Infection of plants and insects with RNA and DNA viruses triggers Dicer-dependent production of virus-derived small interfering RNAs (vsiRNAs), which subsequently guide specific virus clearance by RNA interference (RNAi). Consistent with a major antiviral function of RNAi, productive virus infection in these eukaryotic hosts depends on the expression of virus-encoded suppressors of RNAi (VSRs). The eukaryotic RNAi pathway is highly conserved, particularly between insects and mammals. This review will discuss key recent findings that indicate a natural antiviral function of the RNAi pathway in mammalian cells. We will summarize the properties of the characterized mammalian vsiRNAs and VSRs and highlight important questions remaining to be addressed on the function and mechanism of mammalian antiviral RNAi.

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