Double-stranded RNA induces sequence-specific antiviral silencing in addition to nonspecific immunity in a marine shrimp: convergence of RNA interference and innate immunity in the invertebrate antiviral response?
ABSTRACT Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is a common by-product of viral infections and a potent inducer of innate antiviral immune responses in vertebrates. In the marine shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei, innate antiviral immunity is also induced by dsRNA in a sequence-independent manner. In this study, the hypothesis that dsRNA can evoke not only innate antiviral immunity but also a sequence-specific antiviral response in shrimp was tested. It was found that viral sequence-specific dsRNA affords potent antiviral immunity in vivo, implying the involvement of RNA interference (RNAi)-like mechanisms in the antiviral response of the shrimp. Consistent with the activation of RNAi by virus-specific dsRNA, endogenous shrimp genes could be silenced in a systemic fashion by the administration of cognate long dsRNA. While innate antiviral immunity, sequence-dependent antiviral protection, and gene silencing could all be induced by injection of long dsRNA molecules, injection of short interfering RNAs failed to induce similar responses, suggesting a size requirement for extracellular dsRNA to engage antiviral mechanisms and gene silencing. We propose a model of antiviral immunity in shrimp by which viral dsRNA engages not only innate immune pathways but also an RNAi-like mechanism to induce potent antiviral responses in vivo.
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ABSTRACT: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and parainfluenza virus (PIV) are two respiratory pathogens of paramount medical significance that exert high mortality. At present, there is no reliable vaccine or antiviral drug against either virus. Using an RNA interference (RNAi) approach, we show that individual as well as joint infection by RSV and PIV can be specifically prevented and inhibited by short interfering RNAs (siRNAs), instilled intranasally in the mouse, with or without transfection reagents. The degree of protection matched the antiviral activity of the siRNA in cell culture, allowing an avenue for quick screening of an efficacious siRNA. When targeting both viruses in a joint infection, excess of one siRNA moderated the inhibitory effect of the other, suggesting competition for the RNAi machinery. Our results suggest that, if properly designed, low dosages of inhaled siRNA might offer a fast, potent and easily administrable antiviral regimen against respiratory viral diseases in humans.Nature Medicine 02/2005; 11(1):50-5. · 22.46 Impact Factor