Respiratory syncytial virus infection of airway cells: Role of microRNAs

Giovanni A. Rossi, Michela Silvestri, Andrew A. Colin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small single-stranded RNA molecules involved in the regulation of gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. In the airways, miRNAs are implicated in the modulation of antiviral defense, through modulation of both innate and adaptive immune response in inflammatory and immune effector cells but also in parenchymal cells. The first target of respiratory viruses are airway epithelial cells. Following infection, an altered expression of distinct miRNAs occurs in airway cells aimed at inhibiting viral replication and preserving the airway epithelial barrier, while at the same time viruses induce or repress the expression of other miRNAs that favor viral replication. Understanding the changes in miRNA expression profile, identification of miRNAs target genes and their contribution to the pathogenesis of the disease may help the intricate mechanisms of virus-host interaction. Further understanding of these molecular mechanisms could lead to development of new antiviral treatments in common, high impact, respiratory disorders for which specific treatments are not available. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) airway infection is a common example of virus modifying miRNAs expression to favor immune evasion, and constitutes the salient feature of this review.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)727-732
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric pulmonology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2015


  • RNA expression
  • airway epithelial cells
  • innate immune response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Respiratory syncytial virus infection of airway cells: Role of microRNAs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this