Background: In 2019, severe acute respiratory coronavirus II (or SARS-COV-2) emerged in Wuhan, China, rapidly becoming a global pandemic. Coronavirus genus (Coronaviridae) has the largest single-stranded positive-sense RNA genome (~30 kb) among the human infected single-stranded RNA viruses.
Objectives: For the study of active therapeutic plant-derived miRNA(s), it may be possible to uptake the miRNAs and their biological role in the host cell. In this study, we bioinformatically searched plant miRNAs that can potentially interact with the Sars-CoV-2 genome within the 3’- UTR region and have prompt antiviral activity.
Materials and Methods: We searched the plant miRNAs that target the 3’-UTR flanking region of the Sars-CoV-2 genome by employing the RNAHybrid, RNA22, and STarMir miRNA/target prediction tools.
Results: The RNAHybrid algorithm found 63 plant miRNAs having hybridization energy with less or equal to -25 kcal.mol-1. Besides, RNA22 and STarMir tools identified eight interactions between the plant miRNAs and the targeted RNA sequence. pvu-miR159a. 2 and sbi-miR5387b were predicted as the most effectively interacting miRNAs in targeting the 3’-UTR sequence, not only by the RNA22 tool but also by the STarMir tool at the same position. However, the GC content of the pvumiR159a. 2 is 55% instead of sbi-miR5387b, which is a GC enriched sequence (71.43%) that may activate TLR receptors.
Conclusion: In our opinion, they are potent plant-derived miRNA candidates that have a great chance of targeting the Sars-CoV-2 genome in the 3’-UTR region in vitro. Therefore, we propose pvu-miR159a.2 for studying antiviral miRNA-based therapies without any essential side effects in vivo.