Send to

Choose Destination
RNA. 2010 Nov;16(11):2108-19. doi: 10.1261/rna.2244210. Epub 2010 Sep 10.

RNase L releases a small RNA from HCV RNA that refolds into a potent PAMP.

Author information

Department of Cancer Biology, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.


Triggering and propagating an intracellular innate immune response is essential for control of viral infections. RNase L is a host endoribonuclease and a pivotal component of innate immunity that cleaves viral and cellular RNA within single-stranded loops releasing small structured RNAs with 5'-hydroxyl (5'-OH) and 3'-monophosphoryl (3'-p) groups. In 2007, we reported that RNase L cleaves self RNA to produce small RNAs that function as pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). However, the precise sequence and structure of PAMP RNAs produced by RNase L is unknown. Here we used hepatitis C virus RNA as substrate to characterize RNase L mediated cleavage products [named suppressor of virus RNA (svRNA)] for their ability to activate RIG-I like receptors (RLR). The NS5B region of HCV RNA was cleaved by RNase L to release an svRNA that bound to RIG-I, displacing its repressor domain and stimulating its ATPase activity while signaling to the IFN-β gene in intact cells. All three of these RIG-I functions were dependent on the presence in svRNA of the 3'-p. Furthermore, svRNA suppressed HCV replication in vitro through a mechanism involving IFN production and triggered a RIG-I-dependent hepatic innate immune response in mice. RNase L and OAS (required for its activation) were both expressed in hepatocytes from HCV-infected patients, raising the possibility that the OAS/RNase L pathway might suppress HCV replication in vivo. It is proposed that RNase L mediated cleavage of HCV RNA generates svRNA that activates RIG-I, thus propagating innate immune signaling to the IFN-β gene.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center