Expression Analyses of MicroRNAs in Hamster Lung Tissues Infected by SARS-CoV-2

Mol Cells. 2020 Nov 30;43(11):953-963. doi: 10.14348/molcells.2020.0177.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is an infectious disease with multiple severe symptoms, such as fever over 37.5°C, cough, dyspnea, and pneumonia. In our research, microRNAs (miRNAs) binding to the genome sequences of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East respiratory-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and SARS-CoV-2 were identified by bioinformatic tools. Five miRNAs (hsa-miR-15a-5p, hsa-miR-15b-5p, hsa-miR-195-5p, hsa-miR-16-5p, and hsa-miR-196a-1-3p) were found to commonly bind to SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2. We also identified miRNAs that bind to receptor proteins, such as ACE2, ADAM17, and TMPRSS2, which are important for understanding the infection mechanism of SARS-CoV-2. The expression patterns of those miRNAs were examined in hamster lung samples infected by SARS-CoV-2. Five miRNAs (hsa-miR-15b-5p, hsa-miR-195-5p, hsa-miR-221-3p, hsa-miR-140-3p, and hsa-miR-422a) showed differential expression patterns in lung tissues before and after infection. Especially, hsa-miR-15b-5p and hsa-miR-195-5p showed a large difference in expression, indicating that they may potentially be diagnostic biomarkers for SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Keywords: hamster lung; hsa-miR-15b-5p; hsa-miR-195-5p; microRNA; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.