Author(s): Sui H, Zhou M, Chen Q, Lane HC, Imamichi T, Sui H, Zhou M, Chen Q, Lane HC, Imamichi T
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Abstract In addition to silencing specific genes, small interfering RNA (siRNA) transfection is also associated with the non-specific induction of inflammatory cytokines and type I interferon. Those so-called "off-target" effects have considerable implications for the interpretation of in vitro studies and clinical application of siRNA. The present study attempted to develop a better understanding of the mechanism involved in these off target effects. Synthesized siRNA significantly enhances DNA-mediated interferon lambda-1 response (IFN-λ1/IL-29), a newly characterized antiviral interferon in non-immune or primary immune cells. This enhancement was most pronounced by double-stranded siRNA with at least a 2-nucleotide overhang at one 3' terminus in a dose-dependent manner, while the presence of DNA was indispensable. A pull-down assay using biotinylated siRNA- or DNA-conjugated beads indicated that retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) and interferon gamma-inducible protein 16 (IFI16) were involved in the sensing of siRNA and DNA, respectively. Co-immunoprecipitation analysis further revealed that RIG-I and IFI16 formed a complex via siRNA, and the dissociation of IFI16 from this complex in the presence of DNA activated the downstream STING-TBK1-IRF3 (stimulator of interferon genes - tank-binding kinase 1 - interferon regulatory factor 3) pathway, shedding light on a new physiological signalling pathway to activate innate immunity. Collectively, these findings may provide rational information for siRNA-induced innate immunity, with important implications for developing siRNA-based reagents to control human diseases.
This article was published in Nucleic Acids Res
and referenced in Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research