Characterization of MicroRNA and gene expression profiles following ricin intoxication

Nir Pillar, Danielle Haguel, Meitar Grad, Guy Shapira, Liron Yoffe, Noam Shomron*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Ricin, derived from the castor bean plant, is a highly potent toxin, classified as a potential bioterror agent. Current methods for early detection of ricin poisoning are limited in selectivity. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), which are naturally occurring, negative gene expression regulators, are known for their tissue specific pattern of expression and their stability in tissues and blood. While various approaches for ricin detection have been investigated, miRNAs remain underexplored. We evaluated the effect of pulmonary exposure to ricin on miRNA expression profiles in mouse lungs and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Significant changes in lung tissue miRNA expression levels were detected following ricin intoxication, specifically regarding miRNAs known to be involved in innate immunity pathways. Transcriptome analysis of the same lung tissues revealed activation of several immune regulation pathways and immune cell recruitment. Our work contributes to the understanding of the role of miRNAs and gene expression in ricin intoxication.

Original languageEnglish
Article number250
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2019


FundersFunder number
Tel Aviv University


    • Lung intoxication
    • Microrna
    • Ricin


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