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Antiviral therapy: Inhibition of Hepatitis C Virus expression by RNA interference directed against the NS5B region of the Viral Genome

Laura Trejo-Ávila, Regina Elizondo-González, Karina del C. Trujillo-Murillo, Pablo Karina del C., Cristina Rodríguez-Padilla, Ana María Rivas-Estilla


health problem with 170 million chronically infected people throughout the world. Currently, the only treatment available consists of a combination of pegylated interferon (INF-α) and ribavirin, but only half of the patients treated show a sufficient antiviral response. Thus there is a great need for the development of new treatments for HCV infections. RNA interference (RNAi) represents a new promising approach to develop effective antiviral drugs and has been extremely effective against HCV gene expression in short-term cell culture. Our aim was to determine the effect of RNAi directed against the NS5B-HCV region on HCV expression in a human hepatoma cell line that expresses HCV-subgenomic replicon (Huh7 HCV replicon cells). Methods: We transfected Huh7 HCV replicon cells with different concentrations of RNAi (100-200 nM) targeting the NS5B region of the viral genome. 2-6 days post-transfection HCV-RNA was quantified by semiquantitative and real-time RT-PCR, and HCV NS5B protein levels were assayed by western blot. Cell viability was also quantified by MTT assay. Results: Our results indicate that the NS5B-siRNAs used in this study can specifically inhibit HCV-RNA replication and protein expression (more than 90%) compared to control cells. Conclusions: Synthetic siRNA against NS5BHCV inhibited HCV replication and viral proteins levels and thereby becomes a powerful strategy to combat hepatitis C virus.

Key words. Hepatitis C virus (HCV), RNA interference (RNAi), small interfering RNA (siRNA), non-structural 5B HCV protein (NS5B), HCV ribonucleic acid (HCVRNA)

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The Official Journal of the Mexican Association of Hepatology, the Latin-American Association for the Study of the Liver and the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver

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