Molecular Mechanisms of Non-Coding RNAs in Modulating the Pathogenesis of SARS-Cov-2 Infection

Omid Gholizadeh1, 2, Sama Akbarzadeh3, Zahra Yekanipour4, Raheleh Tabatabaie5, Somayeh Sedighi6, Hamed Afkhami7, *
1 Department of Bacteriology and Virology, Faculty of Medicine, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
2 Infectious and Tropical Diseases Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
3 Department of Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran
4 Department of Microbiology, Marand Branch, Islamic Azad University, Marand, Iran
5 Department of Immunology, Medical Sciences University of Hamedan, Hamedan, Iran
6 Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Medical Science of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
7 Department of Medical Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Shahed University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran

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© 2022 Gholizadeh et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Medical Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Shahed University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran; E-mail:


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been spreading worldwide since December 2019. It is a significant threat to community healthcare in all countries worldwide, so policymakers and researchers are paying close attention to it. The most significant components of non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are miRNAs and lncRNAs, which serve as regulatory elements. They are vital ingredients of the transcriptome, with a role in normal biological reactions and inflammatory processes, including viral infection. In the field of viral infection, microRNAs and non-coding RNAs with 19 to 25 nucleotides receive more attention as they target mRNAs to control gene expression. However, the role of many lncRNAs is yet to be discovered. In this review, we provide detailed information about the effects of host lncRNAs and viral lncRNAs, interactions between lncRNAs and their interactions with other ncRNAs, and small membrane vesicles called exosomes and microRNAs in COVID-19 infection. The profile of ncRNAs in host cells of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is altered. As a result, these changes may serve as valuable indicators for disease development and severity. Understanding these pathways will help researchers learn more about SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis and seek more practical treatments to control cytokine storm and viral life cycle.

Keywords: COVID-19, Cytokine storm, Non-coding RNAs, IL-6, Inflammasome, MERS-CoV, Infection.