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Gene Ther. 2007 Mar;14(5):459-64. Epub 2006 Oct 19.

Use of herpes simplex virus type 1-based amplicon vector for delivery of small interfering RNA.

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  • 1Department of Experimental and Diagnostic Medicine, Section of Microbiology, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.


Silencing of gene expression by small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) is rapidly becoming a powerful tool for genetic analysis of mammalian cells. The use of DNA-based plasmid vectors to achieve transient and stable expression of siRNA has been developed to avoid the problems of double-stranded oligonucleotides transfection. These vectors direct the transcription of small hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) from a polymerase-III (H1 or U6)-RNA gene promoter. However, numerous disadvantages remain, including low transfection efficiency and difficulty in transfecting primary cells. To overcome some of these problems, the use of viral vectors for siRNA delivery has been described. Retroviral, adenoviral, adeno-associated and herpes viral shRNAs delivery systems have been successfully used to silence genes, in vitro and in vivo. The use of a herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1)-based amplicon vector for siRNA delivery into mammalian cells, using human polyomavirus BK (BKV)-transformed cells as a model system is described. The results demonstrate the ability of amplicon vectors to inhibit the expression of BKV T-Ag and tumorigenicity of BKV-transformed cells. We show that the use of the amplicon vector is highly efficient for the delivery of siRNA molecules. The unique ability of these vectors to deliver multiple copies of siRNA may provide a useful tool in the development of novel anticancer therapy.

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