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PLoS One. 2010 Jan 7;5(1):e8615. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008615.

Intracranial administration of P gene siRNA protects mice from lethal Chandipura virus encephalitis.

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National Institute of Virology, Pune, India.



In parts of India, Chandipura Virus (CHPV) has emerged as an encephalitis causing pathogen in both epidemic and sporadic forms. This pediatric disease follows rapid course leading to 55-75% mortality. In the absence of specific treatment, effectiveness of RNA interference (RNAi) was evaluated.


Efficacy of synthetic short interfering RNA (siRNA) or short hairpin RNA (shRNA) in protecting mice from CHPV infection was assessed. The target genes were P and M genes primarily because important role of the former in viral replication and lethal nature of the latter. Real time one step RT-PCR and plaque assay were used for the assessment of gene silencing. Using pAcGFP1N1-CHPV-P, we showed that P-2 siRNA was most efficient in reducing the expression of P gene in-vitro. Both quantitative assays documented 2 logs reduction in the virus titer when P-2, M-5 or M-6 siRNAs were transfected 2 hr post infection (PI). Use of these siRNAs in combination did not result in enhanced efficiency. P-2 siRNA was found to tolerate four mismatches in the center. As compared to five different shRNAs, P-2 siRNA was most effective in inhibiting CHPV replication. An extended survival was noted when mice infected intracranially with 100 LD50 CHPV were treated with cationic lipid complexed 5 microg P-2 siRNA simultaneously. Infection with 10LD50 and treatment with two doses of siRNA first, simultaneously and second 24 hr PI, resulted in 70% survival. Surviving mice showed 4 logs less CHPV titers in brain without histopathological changes or antibody response. Gene expression profiles of P-2 siRNA treated mice showed no interferon response. First dose of siRNA at 2 hr or 4 hr PI with second dose at 24hr resulted in 40% and 20% survival respectively suggesting potential application in therapy.


The results highlight therapeutic potential of siRNA in treating rapid and fatal Chandipura encephalitis.

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