Argonaute antagonism in two RNA viruses

Ronald van Rij

In a recent PLoS pathogens paper Joël van Mierlo, Walter Bronkhorst (not on photo), Gijs Overheul, Ronald van Rij (dept. Medical Microbiology) and collaborators analyzed the intricate interaction between viruses and the host RNAi machinery. Multi-cellular organisms require a potent immune response to ensure survival under the ongoing assault by microbial pathogens. The RNA interference (RNAi) pathway is a critical mechanism for antiviral defense in insects. Using Drosophila melanogaster as a model Van Mierlo et al show that two distinct insect RNA viruses inhibit the catalytic activity of Argonaute-2 a key protein of the RNAi pathway. Moreover using next generation sequencing they provide evidence that the viral replication intermediates are recognized by the nuclease Dicer-2 to initiate the antiviral RNAi response. The convergent evolution of Argonaute-2 suppression in two unrelated viruses highlights the importance of this protein in antiviral defense.

Joël T. van Mierlo Alfred W. Bronkhorst Gijs J. Overheul Sajna A. Sadanandan Jens-Ola Ekström Marco Heestermans Dan Hultmark Christophe Antoniewski Ronald P. van Rij Convergent Evolution of Argonaute-2 Slicer Antagonism in Two Distinct Insect RNA Viruses. PLoS Pathogens 2012. 9:e1002872

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