Author(s): Enterlein S, Warfield KL, Swenson DL, Stein DA, Smith JL,
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Abstract Phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers (PMO) are a class of uncharged single-stranded DNA analogs modified such that each subunit includes a phosphorodiamidate linkage and morpholine ring. PMO antisense agents have been reported to effectively interfere with the replication of several positive-strand RNA viruses in cell culture. The filoviruses, Marburg virus and Ebola virus (EBOV), are negative-strand RNA viruses that cause up to 90\% lethality in human outbreaks. There is currently no commercially available vaccine or efficacious therapeutic for any filovirus. In this study, PMO conjugated to arginine-rich cell-penetrating peptide (P-PMO) and nonconjugated PMO were assayed for the ability to inhibit EBOV infection in cell culture and in a mouse model of lethal EBOV infection. A 22-mer P-PMO designed to base pair with the translation start site region of EBOV VP35 positive-sense RNA generated sequence-specific and time- and dose-dependent inhibition of EBOV amplification in cell culture. The same oligomer provided complete protection to mice when administered before or after an otherwise lethal infection of EBOV. A corresponding nonconjugated PMO, as well as nonconjugated truncated versions of 16 and 19 base residues, provided length-dependent protection to mice when administered prophylactically. Together, these data suggest that antisense PMO and P-PMO have the potential to control EBOV infection and are promising therapeutic candidates.
This article was published in Antimicrob Agents Chemother
and referenced in Journal of Bioprocessing & Biotechniques