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

UNC COVID-19 Pathobiology Consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109839
JournalCell Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 19 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • antiviral therapeutic
  • biomarker
  • miR-2392
  • miRNA
  • microRNA
  • nanoligomers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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