Role of miR-2392 in driving SARS-CoV-2 infection

Cell Rep. 2021 Oct 19;37(3):109839. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109839. Epub 2021 Sep 30.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs involved in post-transcriptional gene regulation that have a major impact on many diseases and provide an exciting avenue toward antiviral therapeutics. From patient transcriptomic data, we determined that a circulating miRNA, miR-2392, is directly involved with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) machinery during host infection. Specifically, we show that miR-2392 is key in driving downstream suppression of mitochondrial gene expression, increasing inflammation, glycolysis, and hypoxia, as well as promoting many symptoms associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection. We demonstrate that miR-2392 is present in the blood and urine of patients positive for COVID-19 but is not present in patients negative for COVID-19. These findings indicate the potential for developing a minimally invasive COVID-19 detection method. Lastly, using in vitro human and in vivo hamster models, we design a miRNA-based antiviral therapeutic that targets miR-2392, significantly reduces SARS-CoV-2 viability in hamsters, and may potentially inhibit a COVID-19 disease state in humans.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; antiviral therapeutic; biomarker; miR-2392; miRNA; microRNA; nanoligomers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • COVID-19 / genetics*
  • COVID-19 / immunology*
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment
  • Cricetinae
  • Female
  • Ferrets
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Glycolysis
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia
  • Inflammation
  • Male
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Proteomics / methods
  • ROC Curve
  • Rats
  • SARS-CoV-2 / genetics*


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • MIRN2392 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs