Standing your ground to exoribonucleases: Function of Flavivirus long non-coding RNAs.Virus Res 2016; 212:70-7VR
Members of the Flaviviridae (e.g., Dengue virus, West Nile virus, and Hepatitis C virus) contain a positive-sense RNA genome that encodes a large polyprotein. It is now also clear most if not all of these viruses also produce an abundant subgenomic long non-coding RNA. These non-coding RNAs, which are called subgenomic flavivirus RNAs (sfRNAs) or Xrn1-resistant RNAs (xrRNAs), are stable decay intermediates generated from the viral genomic RNA through the stalling of the cellular exoribonuclease Xrn1 at highly structured regions. Several functions of these flavivirus long non-coding RNAs have been revealed in recent years. The generation of these sfRNAs/xrRNAs from viral transcripts results in the repression of Xrn1 and the dysregulation of cellular mRNA stability. The abundant sfRNAs also serve directly as a decoy for important cellular protein regulators of the interferon and RNA interference antiviral pathways. Thus the generation of long non-coding RNAs from flaviviruses, hepaciviruses and pestiviruses likely disrupts aspects of innate immunity and may directly contribute to viral replication, cytopathology and pathogenesis.