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Gene Ther. 2006 Jun;13(11):883-92.

Intracellular-diced dsRNA has enhanced efficacy for silencing HCV RNA and overcomes variation in the viral genotype.

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Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, The Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science, 3-18-22 Honkomagome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8613, Japan.


RNA interference (RNAi) can be used to inhibit viral replication in mammalian cells and therefore could be a powerful new antiviral therapy. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) may be effective for RNAi, but there are some technical problems that must be solved in each case, for example, predicting the effective siRNA target site and targeting heterogeneous sequences in a virus population. We show here that diced siRNA generated from long double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is highly effective for inducing RNAi in HuH-7 cells harboring hepatitis C virus (HCV) replicons and can overcome variations in the HCV genotype. However, in mammalian cells, long dsRNA induced an interferon response and caused cell death. Here we describe an improvement of this method, U6 promoter-driven expression of long hairpin-RNA with multiple point mutations in the sense strand. This can efficiently silence HCV RNA replication and HCV protein expression without triggering the interferon response or cell death normally caused by dsRNA. In conclusion, intracellular-diced dsRNA efficiently induces RNAi, and, despite the high rate of mutation in HCV, it should be a feasible therapeutic strategy for silencing HCV RNA.

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