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J Virol. 1994 Nov; 68(11): 7426–7432.
PMCID: PMC237185

Specific inhibition of aphthovirus infection by RNAs transcribed from both the 5' and the 3' noncoding regions.


RNA molecules containing the 3' terminal region of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) RNA in both antisense and sense orientations were able to inhibit viral FMDV translation and infective particle formation in BHK-21 cells following comicroinjection or cotransfection with infectious viral RNA. Antisense, but not sense, transcripts from the 5' noncoding region including the proximal element of the internal ribosome entry site and the two functional initiation AUGs were also inhibitory, both in in vitro translation and in vivo in comicroinjected or cotransfected BHK-21 cells. This effect was not observed with nonrelated RNA transcripts from lambda phage. The inhibitions found were permanent, sequence specific, and dose dependent; an inverse correlation between the length of the transcript and the extent of the antiviral effect was seen. In all cases, the extent of inhibition increased when viral RNAs and transcripts were allowed to reanneal before transfection, concomitant with a decrease in the doses required. The antiviral effect was specific for FMDV, since transcripts failed to inhibit infective particle formation by other picornavirus, such as encephalomyocarditis virus. These results indicate that the ability of RNA transcripts to inhibit viral multiplication depends on their efficient hybridization with target regions on the viral genome. Furthermore, cells transfected with the 5'1as transcript, which is complementary to the 5' noncoding region, showed a significant reduction of plaque-forming ability during the course of a natural infection. RNA 5'1as was able to inhibit FMDV RNA translation in vitro, suggesting that the inhibitions observed are mediated by a blockage of the viral translation initiation. Conversely, hybridization of short sequences of both sense and antisense transcripts from the 3' end induces distortion of predicted highly ordered structural motifs, which could be required for the synthesis of negative-stranded viral RNA, and correlates with inhibition of viral propagation.

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