Small interfering RNA (siRNA) is a powerful tool for functional genomics and gene therapy. Viral replication and gene expression are strongly inhibited by siRNA treatment of infected mammalian cells. However, the high sequence specificity of siRNAs, combined with prolonged treatment, promote the emergence of siRNA-resistant virus variants, especially among viruses that encode a polymerase lacking proofreading capabilities, indicating that the antiviral properties of specific siRNAs are not as effective as expected. To investigate the silencing effect of siRNAs against selected host cellular proteins that promote replication of hepatitis C virus (HCV), several siRNAs against human VAMP-associated protein (hVAP-A), La antigen and polypyrimidine-tract-binding protein (PTB) were evaluated. The data show that several siRNAs markedly decreased the expression levels of corresponding cellular genes that inhibited HCV replication in Huh-7 cells. These treatments were also shown to have no impact upon cell viability. These findings provide an alternative approach for blocking HCV replication. Hence, combination therapies with siRNAs against both the virus and host genes that support virus replication are likely to be a potent approach in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: May 1, 2007
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