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      Nucleic Acid Immunity

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          Abstract

          Organisms throughout biology need to maintain the integrity of their genome. From bacteria to vertebrates, life has established sophisticated mechanisms to detect and eliminate foreign genetic material or to restrict its function and replication. Tremendous progress has been made in the understanding of these mechanisms which keep foreign or unwanted nucleic acids from viruses or phages in check. Mechanisms reach from restriction-modification systems and CRISPR/Cas in bacteria and archaea to RNA interference and immune sensing of nucleic acids, altogether integral parts of a system which is now appreciated as nucleic acid immunity. With inherited receptors and acquired sequence information, nucleic acid immunity comprises innate and adaptive components. Effector functions include diverse nuclease systems, intrinsic activities to directly restrict the function of foreign nucleic acids (e.g., PKR, ADAR1, IFIT1), and extrinsic pathways to alert the immune system and to elicit cytotoxic immune responses. These effects act in concert to restrict viral replication and to eliminate virus-infected cells. The principles of nucleic acid immunity are highly relevant for human disease. Besides its essential contribution to antiviral defense and restriction of endogenous retroelements, dysregulation of nucleic acid immunity can also lead to erroneous detection and response to self nucleic acids then causing sterile inflammation and autoimmunity. Even mechanisms of nucleic acid immunity which are not established in vertebrates are relevant for human disease when they are present in pathogens such as bacteria, parasites, or helminths or in pathogen-transmitting organisms such as insects. This review aims to provide an overview of the diverse mechanisms of nucleic acid immunity which mostly have been looked at separately in the past and to integrate them under the framework nucleic acid immunity as a basic principle of life, the understanding of which has great potential to advance medicine.

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          Most cited references 165

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          Interferons (IFNs) are critical for protection from viral infection, but the pathways linking virus recognition to IFN induction remain poorly understood. Plasmacytoid dendritic cells produce vast amounts of IFN-alpha in response to the wild-type influenza virus. Here, we show that this requires endosomal recognition of influenza genomic RNA and signaling by means of Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) and MyD88. Single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) molecules of nonviral origin also induce TLR7-dependent production of inflammatory cytokines. These results identify ssRNA as a ligand for TLR7 and suggest that cells of the innate immune system sense endosomal ssRNA to detect infection by RNA viruses.
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            RIG-I-mediated antiviral responses to single-stranded RNA bearing 5'-phosphates.

            Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) produced during viral replication is believed to be the critical trigger for activation of antiviral immunity mediated by the RNA helicase enzymes retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) and melanoma differentiation-associated gene 5 (MDA5). We showed that influenza A virus infection does not generate dsRNA and that RIG-I is activated by viral genomic single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) bearing 5'-phosphates. This is blocked by the influenza protein nonstructured protein 1 (NS1), which is found in a complex with RIG-I in infected cells. These results identify RIG-I as a ssRNA sensor and potential target of viral immune evasion and suggest that its ability to sense 5'-phosphorylated RNA evolved in the innate immune system as a means of discriminating between self and nonself.
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              RNA interference is mediated by 21- and 22-nucleotide RNAs.

               S. Elbashir (2001)
              Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) induces sequence-specific posttranscriptional gene silencing in many organisms by a process known as RNA interference (RNAi). Using a Drosophila in vitro system, we demonstrate that 21- and 22-nt RNA fragments are the sequence-specific mediators of RNAi. The short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are generated by an RNase III-like processing reaction from long dsRNA. Chemically synthesized siRNA duplexes with overhanging 3' ends mediate efficient target RNA cleavage in the lysate, and the cleavage site is located near the center of the region spanned by the guiding siRNA. Furthermore, we provide evidence that the direction of dsRNA processing determines whether sense or antisense target RNA can be cleaved by the siRNA-protein complex.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Adv Immunol
                Adv. Immunol
                Advances in Immunology
                Elsevier Inc.
                0065-2776
                1557-8445
                15 December 2016
                2017
                15 December 2016
                : 133
                : 121-169
                Affiliations
                Institute of Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Pharmacology, University Hospital, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
                Author notes
                Article
                S0065-2776(16)30052-9
                10.1016/bs.ai.2016.11.001
                7112058
                28215278
                Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

                Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.

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