Project: microRNA 2911


MicroRNAs (abbreviated miRNAs) are small non-coding RNA molecules (about 22 nucleotides). They can be found in plants, animals and some viruses. They function as RNA silencing and post-transcriptional regulators of gene expression via a base-pairing with complementary sequences within mRNA molecules. miRNAs are derived from regions of RNA transcripts that fold back on themselves to form short hairpins.[1,2,3]


Preparation of the honeysuckle decotion
When cooked into a decoction, only the miRNA2911 remains in significant amounts [5,6].

Lonicera japonica or the Japanese honeysuckle plant is a well-known Chinese herb and has been used to effectively treat influenza infection for thousands of years. The group around Zhou found out that the major portion of detected miRNAs in this plant is being degraded by boiling and only miRNA2911 stayed resistant and active in a decoction. Throughout a bioinformatical prediction and luciferase reporter assays they showed that miRNA2911 has antiviral properties by targeting various Influenza A viruses (IAV); e.g. H1N1, H5N1, H7N9. miRNA2911 is highly stable because of its folding and elevated levels could be detected in peripheral blood and lung tissues of mice after gavage feeding of the honeysuckle decoction. [4]

Murine plasma and lung tissue miRNA levels
Concentration of miRNA2911 in murine plasma and lung tissue, after being fed the decoction [4]
miRNA target prediction
The miRNA2911 aligns well to many different influenza A genes [4]
  1. Bartel, D. P. MicroRNAs: target recognition and regulatory functions. Cell 136, 215–33 (2009).
  2. Bartel, D. MicroRNAsGenomics, Biogenesis, Mechanism, and Function. Cell 116, 281–297 (2004).
  3. Ambros, V. The functions of animal microRNAs. Nature 431, 350–5 (2004).
  4. Zhou, Z. et al. Honeysuckle-encoded atypical microRNA2911 directly targets influenza A viruses. Cell Res. 25, 39–49 (2014).
  5. wikipedia/ commons/f/fe/Starr_071024-0039_Lonicera_japonica.jpg
  6. wiki/Tee#/media/ File:Chinese_tea,_gancha.jpg

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