A new study published in the Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research sheds more light on the role played by doubled stranded RNA (dsRNA) in sensing the presence of pathogens, such as a virus, that leads to development of an effective antiviral defense system when they invade a host cell. Isaque João da Silva de Faria and coauthors from Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, describe two families of sensors that share a region with high specificity for viral dsRNA. In the article sRNA Sensing During Viral Infection: Lessons from Plants, Worms, Insects and Mammals they explain that while this shared region is necessary for dsRNA recognition, it is not sufficient. The authors review recent studies that have identified novel components of these antiviral recognition systems that contribute to their complexity and effectiveness in protecting hosts against viral infection.
"While dsRNA has long been recognized as a product of viral infection, the understanding of cellular mechanisms for its recognition and for subsequent response has increased dramatically in recent years. This review addresses the impact of this new information," says Co-Editor-in-Chief Thomas A. Hamilton, PhD, Chairman, Department of Immunology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation.