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The Implications of ncRNAs in the Development of Human Diseases
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miRCOVID-19: Potential Targets of Human miRNAs in SARS-CoV-2 for RNA-Based Drug Discovery

by 1,* and 2,*
1
College of Science and Engineering, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Doha 34110, Qatar
2
College of Medicine, Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, 505055 Dubai, United Arab Emirates
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 September 2020 / Revised: 8 February 2021 / Accepted: 25 February 2021 / Published: 2 March 2021
Sense-antisense interactions of long and short RNAs in human cells are integral to post-transcriptional gene regulation, in particular that of mRNAs by microRNAs. Many viruses, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 SARS-CoV-2 (the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019, COVID-19), have RNA genomes, and interactions between host and viral RNAs, while known to be functional in other viral diseases, have not yet been investigated in COVID-19. To remedy this gap in knowledge, we present miRCOVID-19, a computational meta-analysis framework identifying the predicted binding sites of human microRNAs along the SARS-CoV-2 RNA genome. To highlight the potential relevance of SARS-CoV-2-genome-complementary miRNAs to COVID-19 pathogenesis, we assessed their expression in COVID-19-relevant tissues using public transcriptome data. miRCOVID-19 identified 14 high-confidence mature miRNAs that are highly likely to interact with the SARS-CoV-2 genome and are expressed in diverse respiratory epithelial and immune cell types that are relevant to COVID-19 pathogenesis. As a proof of principle, we have shown that human miR-122, a previously known co-factor of another RNA virus, the hepatitis C virus (HCV) whose genome it binds as a prerequisite for pathogenesis, was predicted to also bind the SARS-CoV-2 RNA genome with high affinity, suggesting the perspective of repurposing anti-HCV RNA-based drugs, such as Miravirsen, to treat COVID-19. Our study is the first to identify all high-confidence binding sites of human miRNAs in the SARS-CoV-2 genome using multiple tools. Our work directly facilitates experimental validation of the reported targets, which would accelerate RNA-based drug discovery for COVID-19 and has the potential to provide new avenues for treating symptomatic COVID-19, and block SARS-CoV-2 replication, in humans. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; miR-122; HCV; coronavirus; microRNA; miRNA; anti-miR; antagomir; RNA therapeutics; Miravirsen COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; miR-122; HCV; coronavirus; microRNA; miRNA; anti-miR; antagomir; RNA therapeutics; Miravirsen
MDPI and ACS Style

Alam, T.; Lipovich, L. miRCOVID-19: Potential Targets of Human miRNAs in SARS-CoV-2 for RNA-Based Drug Discovery. Non-Coding RNA 2021, 7, 18. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ncrna7010018

AMA Style

Alam T, Lipovich L. miRCOVID-19: Potential Targets of Human miRNAs in SARS-CoV-2 for RNA-Based Drug Discovery. Non-Coding RNA. 2021; 7(1):18. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ncrna7010018

Chicago/Turabian Style

Alam, Tanvir, and Leonard Lipovich. 2021. "miRCOVID-19: Potential Targets of Human miRNAs in SARS-CoV-2 for RNA-Based Drug Discovery" Non-Coding RNA 7, no. 1: 18. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ncrna7010018

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