Sequence-non-specific effects of RNA interference triggers and microRNA regulators

Nucleic Acids Res. 2010 Jan;38(1):1-16. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkp829. Epub 2009 Oct 20.


RNA reagents of diverse lengths and structures, unmodified or containing various chemical modifications are powerful tools of RNA interference and microRNA technologies. These reagents which are either delivered to cells using appropriate carriers or are expressed in cells from suitable vectors often cause unintended sequence-non-specific immune responses besides triggering intended sequence-specific silencing effects. This article reviews the present state of knowledge regarding the cellular sensors of foreign RNA, the signaling pathways these sensors mobilize and shows which specific features of the RNA reagents set the responsive systems on alert. The representative examples of toxic effects caused in the investigated cell lines and tissues by the RNAs of specific types and structures are collected and may be instructive for further studies of sequence-non-specific responses to foreign RNA in human cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Proteomics
  • RNA / chemistry
  • RNA Interference*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / chemistry
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry
  • Signal Transduction


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • RNA