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Open AccessReview

Antiviral RNAi in Insects and Mammals: Parallels and Differences

Department of Medical Microbiology, Radboud University Medical Center, Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2019, 11(5), 448;
Received: 16 April 2019 / Revised: 14 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transmission Dynamics of Insect Viruses)
PDF [3103 KB, uploaded 16 May 2019]


The RNA interference (RNAi) pathway is a potent antiviral defense mechanism in plants and invertebrates, in response to which viruses evolved suppressors of RNAi. In mammals, the first line of defense is mediated by the type I interferon system (IFN); however, the degree to which RNAi contributes to antiviral defense is still not completely understood. Recent work suggests that antiviral RNAi is active in undifferentiated stem cells and that antiviral RNAi can be uncovered in differentiated cells in which the IFN system is inactive or in infections with viruses lacking putative viral suppressors of RNAi. In this review, we describe the mechanism of RNAi and its antiviral functions in insects and mammals. We draw parallels and highlight differences between (antiviral) RNAi in these classes of animals and discuss open questions for future research. View Full-Text
Keywords: small interfering RNA; RNA interference; RNA virus; antiviral defense; innate immunity; interferon; stem cells small interfering RNA; RNA interference; RNA virus; antiviral defense; innate immunity; interferon; stem cells

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Schuster, S.; Miesen, P.; van Rij, R.P. Antiviral RNAi in Insects and Mammals: Parallels and Differences. Viruses 2019, 11, 448.

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