A Re-examination of global suppression of RNA interference by HIV-1

Viraj R. Sanghvi, Laura F. Steel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The nature of the interaction between replicating HIV-1 and the cellular RNAi pathway has been controversial, but it is clear that it can be complex and multifaceted. It has been proposed that the interaction is bi-directional, whereby cellular silencing pathways can restrict HIV-1 replication, and in turn, HIV-1 can suppress silencing pathways. Overall suppression of RNAi has been suggested to occur via direct binding and inhibition of Dicer by the HIV-1 Tat protein or through sequestration of TRBP, a Dicer co-factor, by the structured TAR element of HIV-1 transcripts. The role of Tat as an inhibitor of Dicer has been questioned and our results support and extend the conclusion that Tat does not inhibit RNAi that is mediated by either exogenous or endogenous miRNAs. Similarly, we find no suppression of silencing pathways in cells with replicating virus, suggesting that viral products such as the TAR RNA elements also do not reduce the efficacy of cellular RNA silencing. However, knockdown of Dicer does allow increased viral replication and this occurs at a post-transcriptional level. These results support the idea that although individual miRNAs can act to restrict HIV-1 replication, the virus does not counter these effects through a global suppression of RNAi synthesis or processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere17246
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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