University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications


Dicer's role as an antiviral: still an enigma

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Animals; Antiviral Agents; Caenorhabditis elegans; DEAD-box RNA Helicases; Drosophila melanogaster; Humans; RNA, Viral; Ribonuclease III


Immunology of Infectious Disease | Immunopathology | Molecular Genetics | Virology


Dicer is a multifunctional protein that is essential across species for the generation of microRNAs, a function that is highly conserved across the plant and animal kingdoms. Intriguingly, Dicer exhibits antiviral functions in lower organisms including Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. Antiviral activity occurs via small interfering RNA production following cytoplasmic sensing of viral dsRNA. Notably, such antiviral activity has not yet been clearly demonstrated in higher organisms such as mammals. Here, we review the evidence for Dicer as an innate antiviral across species.

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Citation: Curr Opin Immunol. 2014 Feb;26:49-55. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2013.10.015. Epub 2013 Nov 22. Link to article on publisher's site

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID