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Mol Ther. 2012 Feb;20(2):367-75. doi: 10.1038/mt.2011.244. Epub 2011 Nov 15.

In vivo delivery of cytoplasmic RNA virus-derived miRNAs.

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Department of Microbiology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, USA.


The discovery of microRNAs (miRNAs) revealed an unappreciated level of post-transcriptional control used by the cell to maintain optimal protein levels. This process has represented an attractive strategy for therapeutics that is currently limited by in vivo delivery constraints. Here, we describe the generation of a single-stranded, cytoplasmic virus of negative polarity capable of producing functional miRNAs. Cytoplasmic RNA virus-derived miRNAs accumulated to high levels in vitro, generated significant amounts of miRNA star strand, associated with the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC), and conferred post transcriptional gene silencing in a sequence-specific manner. Furthermore, we demonstrate that these vectors could deliver miRNAs to a wide range of tissues, and sustain prolonged expression capable of achieving measurable knockdown of physiological targets in vivo. Taken together, these results validate noncanonical processing of cytoplasmic-derived miRNAs and provide a novel platform for small RNA delivery.

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