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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2007 Nov;64(22):2994-3006.

Inhibition of hepatitis C virus internal ribosome entry site-mediated translation by an RNA targeting the conserved IIIf domain.

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Instituto de Parasitología y Biomedicina López-Neyra, CSIC, Parque Tecnológico de Ciencias de la Salud, Avda. del Conocimiento s/n, Armilla, 18100 Granada, Spain.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) translation initiation depends on an internal ribosome entry site (IRES). We previously identified an RNA molecule (HH363-10) able to bind and cleave the HCV IRES region. This paper characterizes its capacity to interfere with IRES function. Inhibition assays showed that it blocks IRES activity both in vitro and in a human hepatoma cell line. Although nucleotides involved in binding and cleavage reside in separate regions of the inhibitor HH363-10, further analysis demonstrated the strongest effect to be an intrinsic feature of the entire molecule; the abolishment of either of the two activities resulted in a reduction in its function. Probing assays demonstrate that HH363-10 specifically interacts with the conserved IIIf domain of the pseudoknot structure in the IRES, leading to the inhibition of the formation of translationally competent 80S particles. The combination of two inhibitory activities targeting different sequences in a chimeric molecule may be a good strategy to avoid the emergence of resistant viral variants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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