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1.
RNA Biol ; 20(1): 272-280, 2023 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20236945

ABSTRACT

RNA interference (RNAi) offers an efficient way to repress genes of interest, and it is widely used in research settings. Clinical applications emerged more recently, with 5 approved siRNAs (the RNA guides of the RNAi effector complex) against human diseases. The development of siRNAs against the SARS-CoV-2 virus could therefore provide the basis of novel COVID-19 treatments, while being easily adaptable to future variants or to other, unrelated viruses. Because the biochemistry of RNAi is very precisely described, it is now possible to design siRNAs with high predicted activity and specificity using only computational tools. While previous siRNA design algorithms tended to rely on simplistic strategies (raising fully complementary siRNAs against targets of interest), our approach uses the most up-to-date mechanistic description of RNAi to allow mismatches at tolerable positions and to force them at beneficial positions, while optimizing siRNA duplex asymmetry. Our pipeline proposes 8 siRNAs against SARS-CoV-2, and ex vivo assessment confirms the high antiviral activity of 6 out of 8 siRNAs, also achieving excellent variant coverage (with several 3-siRNA combinations recognizing each correctly-sequenced variant as of September2022). Our approach is easily generalizable to other viruses as long as avariant genome database is available. With siRNA delivery procedures being currently improved, RNAi could therefore become an efficient and versatile antiviral therapeutic strategy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Viruses , Humans , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , RNA Interference , Viruses/genetics , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use
2.
Nucleic Acids Res ; 51(6): 2529-2573, 2023 04 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20235160

ABSTRACT

Eighteen nucleic acid therapeutics have been approved for treatment of various diseases in the last 25 years. Their modes of action include antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs), splice-switching oligonucleotides (SSOs), RNA interference (RNAi) and an RNA aptamer against a protein. Among the diseases targeted by this new class of drugs are homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, spinal muscular atrophy, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, hereditary transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis, familial chylomicronemia syndrome, acute hepatic porphyria, and primary hyperoxaluria. Chemical modification of DNA and RNA was central to making drugs out of oligonucleotides. Oligonucleotide therapeutics brought to market thus far contain just a handful of first- and second-generation modifications, among them 2'-fluoro-RNA, 2'-O-methyl RNA and the phosphorothioates that were introduced over 50 years ago. Two other privileged chemistries are 2'-O-(2-methoxyethyl)-RNA (MOE) and the phosphorodiamidate morpholinos (PMO). Given their importance in imparting oligonucleotides with high target affinity, metabolic stability and favorable pharmacokinetic and -dynamic properties, this article provides a review of these chemistries and their use in nucleic acid therapeutics. Breakthroughs in lipid formulation and GalNAc conjugation of modified oligonucleotides have paved the way to efficient delivery and robust, long-lasting silencing of genes. This review provides an account of the state-of-the-art of targeted oligo delivery to hepatocytes.


Subject(s)
Oligonucleotides, Antisense , Humans , Morpholinos/pharmacology , Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne/drug therapy , Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne/genetics , Oligonucleotides, Antisense/chemistry , Oligonucleotides, Antisense/metabolism , Oligonucleotides, Antisense/therapeutic use , RNA/chemistry , RNA Interference
3.
Viruses ; 15(5)2023 05 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20244232

ABSTRACT

Insect cell expression systems are increasingly being used in the medical industry to develop vaccines against diseases such as COVID-19. However, viral infections are common in these systems, making it necessary to thoroughly characterize the viruses present. One such virus is Bombyx mori latent virus (BmLV), which is known to be specific to Bombyx mori and to have low pathogenicity. However, there has been little research on the tropism and virulence of BmLV. In this study, we examined the genomic diversity of BmLV and identified a variant that persistently infects Trichoplusia ni-derived High Five cells. We also assessed the pathogenicity of this variant and its effects on host responses using both in vivo and in vitro systems. Our results showed that this BmLV variant causes acute infections with strong cytopathic effects in both systems. Furthermore, we characterized the RNAi-based immune response in the T. ni cell line and in Helicoverpa armigera animals by assessing the regulation of RNAi-related genes and profiling the generated viral small RNAs. Overall, our findings shed light on the prevalence and infectious properties of BmLV. We also discuss the potential impact of virus genomic diversity on experimental outcomes, which can help interpret past and future research results.


Subject(s)
Bombyx , COVID-19 , Moths , Tymoviridae , Viruses , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , Insecta , RNA Interference
5.
Viruses ; 15(1)2022 Dec 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2309502

ABSTRACT

COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2, created a devastating outbreak worldwide and consequently became a global health concern. However, no verifiable, specifically targeted treatment has been devised for COVID-19. Several emerging vaccines have been used, but protection has not been satisfactory. The complex genetic composition and high mutation frequency of SARS-CoV-2 have caused an uncertain vaccine response. Small interfering RNA (siRNA)-based therapy is an efficient strategy to control various infectious diseases employing post-transcriptional gene silencing through the silencing of target complementary mRNA. Here, we designed two highly effective shRNAs targeting the conserved region of RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP) and spike proteins capable of significant SARS-CoV-2 replication suppression. The efficacy of this approach suggested that the rapid development of an shRNA-based therapeutic strategy might prove to be highly effective in treating COVID-19. However, it needs further clinical trials.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , RNA Interference , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , COVID-19/therapy , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism
6.
Commun Biol ; 6(1): 277, 2023 03 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2287903

ABSTRACT

Expanding the arsenal of prophylactic approaches against SARS-CoV-2 is of utmost importance, specifically those strategies that are resistant to antigenic drift in Spike. Here, we conducted a screen of over 16,000 RNAi triggers against the SARS-CoV-2 genome, using a massively parallel assay to identify hyper-potent siRNAs. We selected Ten candidates for in vitro validation and found five siRNAs that exhibited hyper-potent activity (IC50 < 20 pM) and strong blockade of infectivity in live-virus experiments. We further enhanced this activity by combinatorial pairing of the siRNA candidates and identified cocktails that were active against multiple types of variants of concern (VOC). We then examined over 2,000 possible mutations in the siRNA target sites by using saturation mutagenesis and confirmed broad protection of the leading cocktail against future variants. Finally, we demonstrated that intranasal administration of this siRNA cocktail effectively attenuates clinical signs and viral measures of disease in the gold-standard Syrian hamster model. Our results pave the way for the development of an additional layer of antiviral prophylaxis that is orthogonal to vaccines and monoclonal antibodies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , RNA, Small Interfering , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Cricetinae , Administration, Intranasal , COVID-19/prevention & control , Mesocricetus , RNA Interference , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics , RNA, Small Interfering/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
7.
Molecules ; 27(19)2022 Sep 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2066278

ABSTRACT

In designing effective siRNAs for a specific mRNA target, it is critically important to have predictive models for the potency of siRNAs. None of the published methods characterized the chemical structures of individual nucleotides constituting a siRNA molecule; therefore, they cannot predict the potency of gene silencing by chemically modified siRNAs (cm-siRNA). We propose a new approach that can predict the potency of gene silencing by cm-siRNAs, which characterizes each nucleotide (NT) using 12 BCUT cheminformatics descriptors describing its charge distribution, hydrophobic and polar properties. Thus, a 21-NT siRNA molecule is described by 252 descriptors resulting from concatenating all the BCUT values of its composing nucleotides. Partial Least Square is employed to develop statistical models. The Huesken data (2431 natural siRNA molecules) were used to perform model building and evaluation for natural siRNAs. Our results were comparable with or superior to those from Huesken's algorithm. The Bramsen dataset (48 cm-siRNAs) was used to build and test the models for cm-siRNAs. The predictive r2 of the resulting models reached 0.65 (or Pearson r values of 0.82). Thus, this new method can be used to successfully model gene silencing potency by both natural and chemically modified siRNA molecules.


Subject(s)
Cheminformatics , Gene Silencing , Nucleotides/genetics , RNA Interference , RNA, Messenger , RNA, Small Interfering/chemistry , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics
8.
BioDrugs ; 36(5): 549-571, 2022 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2035460

ABSTRACT

The highly specific induction of RNA interference-mediated gene knockdown, based on the direct application of small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), opens novel avenues towards innovative therapies. Two decades after the discovery of the RNA interference mechanism, the first siRNA drugs received approval for clinical use by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency between 2018 and 2022. These are mainly based on an siRNA conjugation with a targeting moiety for liver hepatocytes, N-acetylgalactosamine, and cover the treatment of acute hepatic porphyria, transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis, hypercholesterolemia, and primary hyperoxaluria type 1. Still, the development of siRNA therapeutics faces several challenges and issues, including the definition of optimal siRNAs in terms of target, sequence, and chemical modifications, siRNA delivery to its intended site of action, and the absence of unspecific off-target effects. Further siRNA drugs are in clinical studies, based on different delivery systems and covering a wide range of different pathologies including metabolic diseases, hematology, infectious diseases, oncology, ocular diseases, and others. This article reviews the knowledge on siRNA design and chemical modification, as well as issues related to siRNA delivery that may be addressed using different delivery systems. Details on the mode of action and clinical status of the various siRNA therapeutics are provided, before giving an outlook on issues regarding the future of siRNA drugs and on their potential as one emerging standard modality in pharmacotherapy. Notably, this may also cover otherwise un-druggable diseases, the definition of non-coding RNAs as targets, and novel concepts of personalized and combination treatment regimens.


Subject(s)
Acetylgalactosamine , Prealbumin , Humans , Prealbumin/genetics , RNA Interference , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics , RNA, Small Interfering/therapeutic use
9.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(16)2022 Aug 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2023732

ABSTRACT

The development of novel target therapies based on the use of RNA interference (RNAi) and antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) is growing in an exponential way, challenging the chance for the treatment of the genetic diseases and cancer by hitting selectively targeted RNA in a sequence-dependent manner. Multiple opportunities are taking shape, able to remove defective protein by silencing RNA (e.g., Inclisiran targets mRNA of protein PCSK9, permitting a longer half-life of LDL receptors in heterozygous familial hypercholesteremia), by arresting mRNA translation (i.e., Fomivirsen that binds to UL123-RNA and blocks the translation into IE2 protein in CMV-retinitis), or by reactivating modified functional protein (e.g., Eteplirsen able to restore a functional shorter dystrophin by skipping the exon 51 in Duchenne muscular dystrophy) or a not very functional protein. In this last case, the use of ASOs permits modifying the expression of specific proteins by modulating splicing of specific pre-RNAs (e.g., Nusinersen acts on the splicing of exon 7 in SMN2 mRNA normally not expressed; it is used for spinal muscular atrophy) or by downregulation of transcript levels (e.g., Inotersen acts on the transthryretin mRNA to reduce its expression; it is prescribed for the treatment of hereditary transthyretin amyloidosis) in order to restore the biochemical/physiological condition and ameliorate quality of life. In the era of precision medicine, recently, an experimental splice-modulating antisense oligonucleotide, Milasen, was designed and used to treat an 8-year-old girl affected by a rare, fatal, progressive form of neurodegenerative disease leading to death during adolescence. In this review, we summarize the main transcriptional therapeutic drugs approved to date for the treatment of genetic diseases by principal regulatory government agencies and recent clinical trials aimed at the treatment of cancer. Their mechanism of action, chemical structure, administration, and biomedical performance are predominantly discussed.


Subject(s)
Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne , Neurodegenerative Diseases , Child , Female , Genetic Therapy , Humans , Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne/genetics , Neurodegenerative Diseases/drug therapy , Oligonucleotides, Antisense/genetics , Oligonucleotides, Antisense/therapeutic use , Proprotein Convertase 9/genetics , Quality of Life , RNA , RNA Interference , RNA Splicing , RNA, Messenger/genetics
10.
Mol Genet Metab ; 136(4): 289-295, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1984258

ABSTRACT

RNA-based therapies are a new, rapidly growing class of drugs that until a few years ago were being used mainly in research in rare diseases. However, the clinical efficacy of recently approved oligonucleotide drugs and the massive success of COVID-19 RNA vaccines has boosted the interest in this type of molecules of both scientists and industry, as wells as of the lay public. RNA drugs are easy to design and cost effective, with greatly improved pharmacokinetic properties thanks to progress in oligonucleotide chemistry over the years. Depending on the type of strategy employed, RNA therapies offer the versatility to replace, supplement, correct, suppress, or eliminate the expression of a targeted gene. Currently, there are more than a dozen RNA-based drugs approved for clinical use, including some for specific inborn errors of metabolism (IEM), and many other in different stages of development. New initiatives in n-of-1 RNA drug development offer new hope for patients with rare diseases and/or ultra-rare mutations. RNA-based therapeutics include antisense oligonucleotides, aptamers, small interfering RNAs, small activating RNAs, microRNAs, lncRNAs and messenger RNAs. Further research and collaborations in the fields of chemistry, biology and medicine will help to overcome major challenges in their delivery to target tissues. Herein, we review the mechanism of action of the different therapeutic approaches using RNA drugs, focusing on those approved or in clinical trials to treat IEM.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Metabolism, Inborn Errors , Humans , Metabolism, Inborn Errors/drug therapy , Metabolism, Inborn Errors/therapy , Oligonucleotides/therapeutic use , RNA Interference , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics , RNA, Small Interfering/therapeutic use , Rare Diseases/drug therapy , Rare Diseases/genetics
11.
Cell Death Dis ; 13(7): 644, 2022 Jul 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1955799

ABSTRACT

The growing understanding of RNA functions and their crucial roles in diseases promotes the application of various RNAs to selectively function on hitherto "undruggable" proteins, transcripts and genes, thus potentially broadening the therapeutic targets. Several RNA-based medications have been approved for clinical use, while others are still under investigation or preclinical trials. Various techniques have been explored to promote RNA intracellular trafficking and metabolic stability, despite significant challenges in developing RNA-based therapeutics. In this review, the mechanisms of action, challenges, solutions, and clinical application of RNA-based therapeutics have been comprehensively summarized.


Subject(s)
RNA, Small Interfering , RNA Interference , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics
12.
Trends Biochem Sci ; 47(11): 978-988, 2022 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1866217

ABSTRACT

The antiviral defense directed by the RNAi pathway employs distinct specificity and effector mechanisms compared with other immune responses. The specificity of antiviral RNAi is programmed by siRNAs processed from virus-derived double-stranded RNA by Dicer endonuclease. Argonaute-containing RNA-induced silencing complex loaded with the viral siRNAs acts as the effector to mediate specific virus clearance by RNAi. Recent studies have provided evidence for the production and antiviral function of virus-derived siRNAs in both undifferentiated and differentiated mammalian cells infected with a range of RNA viruses when the cognate virus-encoded suppressor of RNAi (VSR) is rendered nonfunctional. In this review, we discuss the function, mechanism, and evolutionary origin of the validated mammalian VSRs and cell culture assays for their identification.


Subject(s)
Argonaute Proteins , RNA, Double-Stranded , Animals , Antiviral Agents , Argonaute Proteins/genetics , Argonaute Proteins/metabolism , Mammals/genetics , RNA Interference , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics , RNA, Small Interfering/metabolism , RNA, Viral/genetics
13.
Front Immunol ; 13: 859749, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1862606

ABSTRACT

In invertebrate cells, RNA interference (RNAi) acts as a powerful immune defense that stimulates viral gene knockdown thereby preventing infection. With this pathway, virally produced long dsRNA (dsRNA) is cleaved into short interfering RNA (siRNA) by Dicer and loaded into the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) which can then destroy/disrupt complementary viral mRNA sequences. Comparatively, in mammalian cells it is believed that the type I interferon (IFN) pathway is the cornerstone of the innate antiviral response. In these cells, dsRNA acts as a potent inducer of the IFN system, which is dependent on dsRNA length, but not sequence, to stimulate an antiviral state. Although the cellular machinery for RNAi is intact and functioning in mammalian cells, its role to trigger an antiviral response using long dsRNA (dsRNAi) remains controversial. Here we show that dsRNAi is not only functional but has a significant antiviral effect in IFN competent mammalian cells. We found that pre-soaking mammalian cells with concentrations of sequence specific dsRNA too low to induce IFN production could significantly inhibit vesicular stomatitis virus expressing green fluorescent protein (VSV-GFP), and the human coronaviruses (CoV) HCoV-229E and SARS-CoV-2 replication. This phenomenon was shown to be dependent on dsRNA length, was comparable in effect to transfected siRNAs, and could knockdown multiple sequences at once. Additionally, knockout cell lines revealed that functional Dicer was required for viral inhibition, revealing that the RNAi pathway was indeed responsible. These results provide the first evidence that soaking with gene-specific long dsRNA can generate viral knockdown in mammalian cells. We believe that this novel discovery provides an explanation as to why the mammalian lineage retained its RNAi machinery and why vertebrate viruses have evolved methods to suppress RNAi. Furthermore, demonstrating RNAi below the threshold of IFN induction has uses as a novel therapeutic platform, both antiviral and gene targeting in nature.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Interferon Type I , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Humans , Interferon Type I/metabolism , Mammals/genetics , RNA Interference , RNA, Double-Stranded , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics , RNA, Small Interfering/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2
14.
BMC Res Notes ; 14(1): 401, 2021 Oct 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1841025

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the novel coronavirus causing severe respiratory illness (COVID-19). This virus was initially identified in Wuhan city, a populated area of the Hubei province in China, and still remains one of the major global health challenges. RNA interference (RNAi) is a mechanism of post-transcriptional gene silencing that plays a crucial role in innate viral defense mechanisms by inhibiting the virus replication as well as expression of various viral proteins. Dicer, Drosha, Ago2, and DGCR8 are essential components of the RNAi system, which is supposed to be dysregulated in COVID-19 patients. This study aimed to assess the expression level of the mentioned mRNAs in COVID-19patients compared to healthy individuals. RESULTS: Our findings demonstrated that the expression of Dicer, Drosha, and Ago2 was statistically altered in COVID-19 patients compared to healthy subjects. Ultimately, the RNA interference mechanism as a crucial antiviral defense system was suggested to be dysregulated in COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , MicroRNAs , Humans , RNA Interference , RNA-Binding Proteins/genetics , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2
15.
Comput Biol Chem ; 98: 107687, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1814276

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is a highly transmissible and pathogenic coronavirus that first emerged in late 2019 and has since triggered a pandemic of acute respiratory disease named COVID-19 which poses a significant threat to all public health institutions in the absence of specific antiviral treatment. Since the outbreak began in March 2020, India has reported 4.77 lakh Coronavirus deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The innate RNA interference (RNAi) pathway, on the other hand, allows for the development of nucleic acid-based antiviral drugs in which complementary small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) mediate the post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) of target mRNA. Therefore, in this current study, the potential of RNAi was harnessed to construct siRNA molecules that target the consensus regions of specific structural proteins associated genes of SARS-CoV-2, such as the envelope protein gene (E), membrane protein gene (M), nucleocapsid phosphoprotein gene (N), and surface glycoprotein gene (S) which are important for the viral pathogenesis. Conserved sequences of 811 SARS-CoV-2 strains from around India were collected to design 21 nucleotides long siRNA duplex based on various computational algorithms and parameters targeting E, M, N and S genes. The proposed siRNA molecules possessed sufficient nucleotide-based and other features for effective gene silencing and BLAST results revealed that siRNAs' targets have no significant matches across the whole human genome. Hence, siRNAs were found to have no off-target effects on the genome, ruling out the possibility of off-target silencing. Finally, out of 157 computationally identified siRNAs, only 4 effective siRNA molecules were selected for each target gene which is proposed to exert the best action based on GC content, free energy of folding, free energy of binding, melting temperature, heat capacity and molecular docking analysis with Human AGO2 protein. Our engineered siRNA candidates could be used as a genome-level therapeutic treatment against various sequenced SARS-CoV-2 strains in India. However, future applications will necessitate additional validations in vitro and in vivo animal models.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/genetics , Molecular Docking Simulation , RNA Interference , RNA, Small Interfering/chemistry , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
16.
Molecules ; 27(6)2022 Mar 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1760783

ABSTRACT

Shigella species account for the second-leading cause of deaths due to diarrheal diseases among children of less than 5 years of age. The emergence of multi-drug-resistant Shigella isolates and the lack of availability of Shigella vaccines have led to the pertinence in the efforts made for the development of new therapeutic strategies against shigellosis. Consequently, designing small-interfering RNA (siRNA) candidates against such infectious agents represents a novel approach to propose new therapeutic candidates to curb the rampant rise of anti-microbial resistance in such pathogens. In this study, we analyzed 264 conserved sequences from 15 different conserved virulence genes of Shigella sp., through extensive rational validation using a plethora of first-generation and second-generation computational algorithms for siRNA designing. Fifty-eight siRNA candidates were obtained by using the first-generation algorithms, out of which only 38 siRNA candidates complied with the second-generation rules of siRNA designing. Further computational validation showed that 16 siRNA candidates were found to have a substantial functional efficiency, out of which 11 siRNA candidates were found to be non-immunogenic. Finally, three siRNA candidates exhibited a sterically feasible three-dimensional structure as exhibited by parameters of nucleic acid geometry such as: the probability of wrong sugar puckers, bad backbone confirmations, bad bonds, and bad angles being within the accepted threshold for stable tertiary structure. Although the findings of our study require further wet-lab validation and optimization for therapeutic use in the treatment of shigellosis, the computationally validated siRNA candidates are expected to suppress the expression of the virulence genes, namely: IpgD (siRNA 9) and OspB (siRNA 15 and siRNA 17) and thus act as a prospective tool in the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway. However, the findings of our study require further wet-lab validation and optimization for regular therapeutic use for treatment of shigellosis.


Subject(s)
Dysentery, Bacillary , Shigella , Child , Diarrhea/drug therapy , Dysentery, Bacillary/drug therapy , Dysentery, Bacillary/genetics , Humans , RNA Interference , RNA, Small Interfering/metabolism , Shigella/genetics
17.
EMBO Mol Med ; 14(4): e15811, 2022 04 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1743028

ABSTRACT

There is an urgent need to bring new antivirals to SARS-CoV-2 to the market. Indeed, in the last 3 months, we have seen at least two new antivirals approved, molnupiravir and paxlovid. Both are older established antivirals that show some efficacy against SARS-CoV-2. The work by Chang et al (2022) in the current issue of EMBO Molecular Medicine explores the use of short interfering RNAs to directly target SARS-CoV-2 and shows that RNAi is an effective approach to reducing, or even eliminating viral replication, depending on the experimental setting. This antiviral effect results in significant prevention of infection-related pathology in animals. The key feature of this approach, besides its simplicity as naked siRNAs, is that all current variants are covered by this treatment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/therapy , RNA Interference , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics , RNA, Small Interfering/pharmacology , RNA, Small Interfering/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Replication
18.
Curr Mol Pharmacol ; 15(1): 143-158, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1679980

ABSTRACT

There are no available antivirals for many viruses or strains, while current antivirals are limited by toxicity and drug resistance. Therefore, alternative strategies, such as RNA interference (RNAi) are required. RNAi suppresses gene expression of any mRNA, making it an attractive candidate for antiviral therapeutics. Studies have evaluated siRNAs in a range of viruses, with some showing promising results. However, issues with stability and delivery of siRNAs remain. These issues may be minimized by modifying the siRNA structure, using an efficient delivery vector and targeting multiple regions of a virus's genome in a single dose. Finding these solutions could accelerate the progress of RNAi-based antivirals. This review highlights selected examples of antiviral siRNAs, limitations of RNAi and strategies to overcome these limitations.


Subject(s)
Viruses , Antiviral Agents , RNA Interference , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics , RNA, Small Interfering/metabolism , Viruses/genetics , Viruses/metabolism
19.
Mol Ther ; 30(5): 2005-2023, 2022 05 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1621101

ABSTRACT

Despite rapid development and deployment of vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), clinically relevant modalities to curb the pandemic by directly attacking the virus on a genetic level remain highly desirable and are urgently needed. Here we comprehensively illustrate the capacity of adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors co-expressing a cocktail of three short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs; RNAi triggers) directed against the SARS-CoV-2 RdRp and N genes as versatile and effective antiviral agents. In cultured monkey cells and human gut organoids, our most potent vector, SAVIOR (SARS virus repressor), suppressed SARS-CoV-2 infection to background levels. Strikingly, in control experiments using single shRNAs, multiple SARS-CoV-2 escape mutants quickly emerged from infected cells within 24-48 h. Importantly, such adverse viral adaptation was fully prevented with the triple-shRNA AAV vector even during long-term cultivation. In addition, AAV-SAVIOR efficiently purged SARS-CoV-2 in a new model of chronically infected human intestinal cells. Finally, intranasal AAV-SAVIOR delivery using an AAV9 capsid moderately diminished viral loads and/or alleviated disease symptoms in hACE2-transgenic or wild-type mice infected with human or mouse SARS-CoV-2 strains, respectively. Our combinatorial and customizable AAV/RNAi vector complements ongoing global efforts to control the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and holds great potential for clinical translation as an original and flexible preventive or therapeutic antiviral measure.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antiviral Agents , COVID-19/prevention & control , Dependovirus , Mice , Pandemics , RNA Interference , RNA, Small Interfering/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
20.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 364, 2022 01 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1617003

ABSTRACT

RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) interact with and determine the fate of many cellular RNAs directing numerous essential roles in cellular physiology. Nuclear Factor 90 (NF90) is an RBP encoded by the interleukin enhancer-binding factor 3 (ILF3) gene that has been found to influence RNA metabolism at several levels, including pre-RNA splicing, mRNA turnover, and translation. To systematically identify the RNAs that interact with NF90, we carried out iCLIP (individual-nucleotide resolution UV crosslinking and immunoprecipitation) analysis in the human embryonic fibroblast cell line HEK-293. Interestingly, many of the identified RNAs encoded proteins involved in the response to viral infection and RNA metabolism. We validated a subset of targets and investigated the impact of NF90 on their expression levels. Two of the top targets, IRF3 and IRF9 mRNAs, encode the proteins IRF3 and IRF9, crucial regulators of the interferon pathway involved in the SARS-CoV-2 immune response. Our results support a role for NF90 in modulating key genes implicated in the immune response and offer insight into the immunological response to the SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Immunoprecipitation/methods , Nuclear Factor 90 Proteins/metabolism , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , RNA/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Cells, Cultured , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Interferon Regulatory Factor-3/genetics , Interferon Regulatory Factor-3/metabolism , Interferon-Stimulated Gene Factor 3, gamma Subunit/genetics , Interferon-Stimulated Gene Factor 3, gamma Subunit/metabolism , Nuclear Factor 90 Proteins/genetics , Protein Binding , RNA/genetics , RNA Interference , RNA Stability , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , RNA-Binding Proteins/genetics , RNA-Seq/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
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