Inhibition of Viruses by RNA Interference
ABSTRACT RNA-mediated interference (RNAi) is a recently discovered process by which dsRNA is able to silence specific gene functions. Although initially described in plants, nematodes and Drosophila, the process is currently considered to be an evolutionarily conserved process that is present in the entire eukaryotic kingdom in which its original function was as a defense mechanism against viruses and foreign nucleic acids. Similarly to the silencing of genes by RNAi, viral functions can be also silenced by the same mechanism, through the introduction of specific dsRNA molecules into cells, where they are targeted to essential genes or directly to the viral genome in case RNA viruses, thus arresting viral replication. Since the pioneering work of Elbashir and coworkers, who identified RNAi activity in mammalian cells, many publications have described the inhibition of viruses belonging to most if not all viral families, by targeting and silencing diverse viral genes as well as cell genes that are essential for virus replication. Moreover, virus expression vectors were developed and used as vehicles with which to deliver siRNAs into cells. This review will describe the use of RNAi to inhibit virus replication directly, as well as through the silencing of the appropriate cell functions.
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ABSTRACT: RNA interference (RNAi) mechanism targets viral RNA for degradation. To test whether RNAi gene products contributed to viral RNA recombination, a series of Arabidopsis thaliana RNAi-defective mutants were infected with Brome mosaic virus (BMV) RNAs that have been engineered to support crossovers within the RNA3 segment. Single-cross RNA3-RNA1, RNA3-RNA2, and RNA3-RNA3 recombinants accumulated in both the wild-type (wt) and all knock-out lines at comparable frequencies. However, a reduced accumulation of novel 3' mosaic RNA3 recombinants was observed in ago1, dcl2, dcl4, and rdr6 lines but not in wt Col-0 or the dcl3 line. A BMV replicase mutant accumulated a low level of RNA3-RNA1 single-cross recombinants in Col-0 plants while, in a dcl2 dcl4 double mutant, the formation of both RNA3-RNA1 and mosaic recombinants was at a low level. A control infection in the cpr5-2 mutant, a more susceptible BMV Arabidopsis host, generated similar-to-Col-0 profiles of both single-cross and mosaic recombinants, indicating that recombinant profiles were, to some extent, independent of a viral replication rate. Also, the relative growth experiments revealed similar selection pressure for recombinants among the host lines. Thus, the altered recombinant RNA profiles have originated at the level of recombinant formation rather than because of altered selection. In conclusion, the viral replicase and the host RNAi gene products contribute in distinct ways to BMV RNA recombination. Our studies reveal that the antiviral RNAi mechanisms are utilized by plant RNA viruses to increase their variability, reminiscent of phenomena previously demonstrated in fungi.Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 09/2011; 25(1):97-106. DOI:10.1094/MPMI-05-11-0137 · 4.46 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a non-enveloped, single-stranded, positive sense RNA virus, which is a major cause of water-borne hepatitis. RNA interference (RNAi) is a sequence-specific cellular antiviral defence mechanism, induced by double-stranded RNA, which we used to investigate knockdown of several genes and the 3' cis-acting element (CAE) of HEV. In the present report, shRNAs were developed against the putative helicase and replicase domains and the 3'CAE region of HEV. Production of siRNA was confirmed by northern hybridization. The possible innate response induction due to shRNA expressions was verified by transcript analysis for interferon-beta and 2',5'-oligoadenylate synthetase genes and was found to be absent. Initially, the selected shRNAs were tested for their efficiency against the respective genes/3'CAE using inhibition of fused viral subgenomic target domain-renilla luciferase reporter constructs. The effective shRNAs were studied for their inhibitory effects on HEV replication in HepG2 cells using HEV replicon and reporter replicon. RNAi mediated silencing was demonstrated by reduction of luciferase activity in subgenomic target-reporter constructs and reporter replicon. The real time PCR was used to demonstrate inhibition of native replicon replication in transfected cells. Designed shRNAs were found to be effective in inhibiting virus replication to a variable extent (45-93%).Antiviral research 03/2010; 85(3):541-50. DOI:10.1016/j.antiviral.2010.01.005 · 3.43 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A hallmark of immune activation by certain RNA sequences is the generation of interferon responses. However, the study of immunostimulatory RNA (isRNA) has been hindered by costly and slow methods, particularly in vitro. We have developed a cell-based assay to detect human type I interferon (IFN) that reliably senses both IFN-alpha and IFN-beta simultaneously. The human 293T cell line was stably transfected with a fusion gene of monomeric red fluorescent protein (mRFP) under the transcriptional control of an interferon-stimulated response element (ISRE). High levels of mRFP are expressed following activation of the type I IFN receptor (IFNAR). Using this method, detection limits for IFN similar to that of ELISA can be achieved but with a greater dynamic range and in a high-throughput manner. As a proof of concept, we utilized this method to screen a library of cationic lipid-like materials that form nanoparticle complexes with RNA for induction of innate immune responses in vitro. We expect the screening and detection methods described herein may provide a useful tool in elucidating mechanisms that govern the delivery of RNA molecules to effector cells and receptors of the innate immune system. We apply this tool to investigate isRNA drug delivery, but it may also find use in other applications for which high-throughput detection of type 1 IFN is desired.Biotechnology and Bioengineering 07/2009; 103(4):664-75. DOI:10.1002/bit.22312 · 4.16 Impact Factor