The Role of Noncoding RNA in the Transmission and Pathogenicity of Flaviviruses

Viruses. 2024 Feb 2;16(2):242. doi: 10.3390/v16020242.


Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) constitute a class of RNA molecules that lack protein-coding capacity. ncRNAs frequently modulate gene expression through specific interactions with target proteins or messenger RNAs, thereby playing integral roles in a wide array of cellular processes. The Flavivirus genus comprises several significant members, such as dengue virus (DENV), Zika virus (ZIKV), and yellow fever virus (YFV), which have caused global outbreaks, resulting in high morbidity and mortality in human populations. The life cycle of arthropod-borne flaviviruses encompasses their transmission between hematophagous insect vectors and mammalian hosts. During this process, a complex three-way interplay occurs among the pathogen, vector, and host, with ncRNAs exerting a critical regulatory influence. ncRNAs not only constitute a crucial regulatory mechanism that has emerged from the coevolution of viruses and their hosts but also hold potential as antiviral targets for controlling flavivirus epidemics. This review introduces the biogenesis of flavivirus-derived ncRNAs and summarizes the regulatory roles of ncRNAs in viral replication, vector-mediated viral transmission, antiviral innate immunity, and viral pathogenicity. A profound comprehension of the interplay between ncRNAs and flaviviruses will help formulate efficacious prophylactic and therapeutic strategies against flavivirus-related diseases.

Keywords: flavivirus; noncoding RNA; pathogenicity; subgenomic flaviviral RNAs; vector-borne transmission; viral replication.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / metabolism
  • Flavivirus* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mammals
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics
  • RNA, Untranslated / metabolism
  • Virulence
  • Virus Replication
  • Zika Virus Infection*
  • Zika Virus* / genetics
  • Zika Virus* / metabolism


  • Proteins
  • RNA, Untranslated
  • Antiviral Agents