Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection frequently leads to chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver and has been linked to development of hepatocellular carcinoma. We previously identified a small yeast RNA (IRNA) capable of specifically inhibiting poliovirus (PV) internal ribosome entry site (IRES)-mediated translation. Here we report that IRNA specifically inhibits HCV IRES-mediated translation both in vivo and in vitro. A number of human hepatoma (Huh-7) cell lines expressing IRNA were prepared and characterized. Constitutive expression of IRNA was not detrimental to cell growth. HCV IRES-mediated cap-independent translation was markedly inhibited in cells constitutively expressing IRNA compared to control hepatoma cells. However, cap-dependent translation was not significantly affected in these cell lines. Additionally, Huh-7 cells constitutively expressing IRNA became refractory to infection by a PV-HCV chimera in which the PV IRES is replaced by the HCV IRES. In contrast, replication of a PV-encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) chimera containing the EMCV IRES element was not affected significantly in the IRNA-producing cell line. Finally, the binding of the La autoantigen to the HCV IRES element was specifically and efficiently competed by IRNA. These results provide a basis for development of novel drugs effective against HCV infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science