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Anti-HCV RNA Aptamers Targeting the Genomic cis-Acting Replication Element

Author(s): Soledad Marton | Beatriz Berzal-Herranz | Eva Garmendia | Francisco J. Cueto | Alfredo Berzal-Herranz

Journal: Pharmaceuticals
ISSN 1424-8247

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 49;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: aptamer selection | SELEX | RNA aptamers | anti-HCV aptamers | aptamer therapeutics

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication is dependent on the existence of several highly conserved functional genomic RNA domains. The cis-acting replication element (CRE), located within the 3' end of the NS5B coding region of the HCV genome, has been shown essential for efficient viral replication. Its sequence and structural features determine its involvement in functional interactions with viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase and distant RNA domains of the viral genome. This work reports the use of an in vitro selection strategy to select aptamer RNA molecules against the complete HCV-CRE. After six selection cycles, five potential target sites were identified within this domain. Inhibition assays using a sample of representative aptamers showed that the selected RNAs significantly inhibit the replication (>80%) of a subgenomic HCV replicon in Huh-7 cell cultures. These results highlight the potential of aptamer RNA molecules as therapeutic antiviral agents.
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