Author(s): Korf M, Jarczak D, Beger C, Manns MP, Krger M
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Abstract BACKGROUND/AIMS: Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are an efficient tool to specifically inhibit gene expression by RNA interference. Since hepatitis C virus (HCV) replicates in the cytoplasm of liver cells without integration into the host genome, RNA-directed antiviral strategies are likely to successfully block the HCV replication cycle. Additional benefit might arise from inhibition of cellular cofactors of HCV replication, such as proteasome alpha-subunit 7 (PSMA7) or Hu antigen R (HuR). METHODS: In this study, we investigated direct and cofactor-mediated inhibition of HCV by a panel of DNA-based retroviral vectors expressing siRNAs against highly conserved HCV sequences or the putative HCV cofactors PSMA7 and HuR. Effects were determined in HCV IRES-mediated translation assays and subgenomic HCV replicon cells. RESULTS: PSMA7- and HuR-directed siRNAs successfully inhibited expression of the endogenous genes, and PSMA7 and HuR silencing significantly diminished HCV replicon RNA and NS5B protein levels. HCV-directed siRNAs substantially inhibited HCV IRES-mediated translation and subgenomic HCV replication. Combinations of PSMA7- and HuR-directed siRNAs with HCV-directed siRNAs revealed additive HCV RNA inhibitory effects in monocistronic replicon cells. CONCLUSIONS: A dual approach of direct- and cofactor-mediated inhibition of HCV replication might avoid selection of mutants and thereby become a powerful strategy against HCV.
This article was published in J Hepatol
and referenced in Virology & Mycology