mRNA-Seq reveals accumulation followed by reduction of small nuclear and nucleolar RNAs in yeast exposed to antiviral ribavirin

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Ribavirin is an antiviral drug that is used to treat a wide range of human viral infections. However, the side effects are reported, and the mechanisms on eukaryotic cells are still largely unknown. Here we report our observation of accumulation followed by reduction of small nuclear (sn)RNAs and small nucleolar (sno)RNAs in Saccharomyces cerevisiae exposed to ribavirin. The three strains reported to contain dsRNA virus-like particle(s) were exposed to 100 μM of ribavirin, and snRNAs and snoRNAs from a total of 31 snR genes were differentially detected between the samples exposed to ribavirin and the respective negative controls by mRNA-Seq. Our results suggest that polyadenylated snRNAs and snoRNAs accumulated at 1 h but reduced to the subbasal levels at 4 h of ribavirin exposure. The tendency was reproducible across the three tested strains. Our study showed ribavirin affected snRNAs and snoRNAs in yeast. There may be a need to scrutinize the relationships between the side effects and such non-coding RNAs in humans who are treated with ribavirin.

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