Immune recognition of viral genome-derived double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) molecules and their subsequent processing into small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) in plants, invertebrates, and mammals trigger specific antiviral immunity known as antiviral RNA interference (RNAi). Immune sensing of viral dsRNA is sequence-independent, and most regions of viral RNAs are targeted by virus-derived siRNAs which extensively overlap in sequence. Thus, the high mutation rates of viruses do not drive immune escape from antiviral RNAi, in contrast to other mechanisms involving specific virus recognition by host immune proteins such as antibodies and resistance (R) proteins in mammals and plants, respectively. Instead, viruses actively suppress antiviral RNAi at various key steps with a group of proteins known as viral suppressors of RNAi (VSRs). Some VSRs are so effective in virus counter-defense that potent inhibition of virus infection by antiviral RNAi is undetectable unless the cognate VSR is rendered nonexpressing or nonfunctional. Since viral proteins are often multifunctional, resistance phenotypes of antiviral RNAi are accurately defined by those infection defects of VSR-deletion mutant viruses that are efficiently rescued by host deficiency in antiviral RNAi. Here, we review and discuss in vivo infection defects of VSR-deficient RNA and DNA viruses resulting from the actions of host antiviral RNAi in model systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)