In this study, we reported for the first time the existence of complemented palindrome small RNAs (cpsRNAs) and proposed cpsRNAs and palindrome small RNAs (psRNAs) as a novel class of small RNAs. The first discovered cpsRNA UCUUUAACAAGCUUGUUAAAGA from SARS coronavirus named SARS-CoV-cpsR-22 contained 22 nucleotides perfectly matching its reverse complementary sequence. Further sequence analysis supported that SARS-CoV-cpsR-22 originated from bat betacoronavirus. The results of RNAi experiments showed that one 19-nt segment of SARS-CoV-cpsR-22 significantly induced cell apoptosis. These results suggested that SARS-CoV-cpsR-22 could play a role in SARS-CoV infection or pathogenicity. The discovery of psRNAs and cpsRNAs paved the way to find new markers for pathogen detection and reveal the mechanisms in the infection or pathogenicity from a different point of view. The discovery of psRNAs and cpsRNAs also broaden the understanding of palindrome motifs in animal of plant genomes.
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