Exploring virus–host interactions is key to understand mechanisms regulating the viral replicative cycle and any pathological outcomes associated with infection. Whereas interactions at the protein level are well explored, RNA interactions are less so. Novel sequencing methodologies have helped uncover the importance of RNA–protein and RNA–RNA interactions during infection. In addition to messenger RNAs (mRNAs), mammalian cells express a great number of regulatory non-coding RNAs, some of which are crucial for regulation of the immune system whereas others are utilized by viruses. It is thus becoming increasingly clear that RNA interactions play important roles for both sides in the arms race between virus and host. With the emerging field of RNA therapeutics, such interactions are promising antiviral targets. In this review, we discuss direct and indirect RNA interactions occurring between RNA viruses or retroviruses and host non-coding transcripts upon infection. In addition, we review RNA virus derived non-coding RNAs affecting immunological and metabolic pathways of the host cell typically to provide an advantage to the virus. The relatively few known examples of virus–host RNA interactions suggest that many more await discovery.
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