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Nucleic Acid Ther. 2012 Dec;22(6):414-22. doi: 10.1089/nat.2012.0359. Epub 2012 Oct 12.

Small interfering RNA targeting the nonstructural gene 1 transcript inhibits influenza A virus replication in experimental mice.

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  • 1Department of Respiratory Virology, Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, University of Delhi, Delhi, India.


Nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) of influenza A viruses counteracts the host immune response against the influenza viruses by not only inhibiting the nuclear export and maturation of host cell messenger RNA (mRNA), but by also blocking the double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase-mediated inhibition of viral RNA translation. Reduction of NS1 gene product in the host cell may be a potent antiviral strategy to provide protection against the influenza virus infection. We used small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) synthesized against the viral mRNA to down regulate the NS1 gene and observed its effect on inhibition of virus replication. When NS1 gene-specific siRNA were transfected in Madin Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells followed by influenza A virus infection, approximately 60% inhibition in intracellular levels of NS1 RNA was observed. When siRNA was administered in BALB/c mice, 92% reduction in the levels of NS1 gene expression in mice lungs was observed. A significant reduction in the lung virus titers and cytokine levels was also detected in the presence of siRNAs as compared with the untreated control. The study was validated by the use of selectively disabled mutants of each set of siRNA. Our findings suggest that siRNA targeted against NS1 gene of influenza A virus can provide considerable protection to the virus-infected host cells and may be used as potential candidates for nucleic acid-based antiviral therapy for prevention of influenza A virus infection.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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