Silencing SARS-CoV Spike protein expression in cultured cells by RNA interference

FEBS Lett. 2004 Feb 27;560(1-3):141-6. doi: 10.1016/S0014-5793(04)00087-0.


The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has been one of the most epidemic diseases threatening human health all over the world. Based on clinical studies, SARS-CoV (the SARS-associated coronavirus), a novel coronavirus, is reported as the pathogen responsible for the disease. To date, no effective and specific therapeutic method can be used to treat patients suffering from SARS-CoV infection. RNA interference (RNAi) is a process by which the introduced small interfering RNA (siRNA) could cause the degradation of mRNA with identical sequence specificity. The RNAi methodology has been used as a tool to silence genes in cultured cells and in animals. Recently, this technique was employed in anti-virus infections in human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis C/B virus. In this study, RNAi technology has been applied to explore the possibility for prevention of SARS-CoV infection. We constructed specific siRNAs targeting the S gene in SARS-CoV. We demonstrated that the siRNAs could effectively and specifically inhibit gene expression of Spike protein in SARS-CoV-infected cells. Our study provided evidence that RNAi could be a tool for inhibition of SARS-CoV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Transformation, Viral
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Coronavirus / genetics*
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Silencing*
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Hemagglutinins, Viral / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kidney / cytology
  • Kidney / embryology
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • RNA Interference*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • RNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / prevention & control
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus / genetics*
  • Vero Cells
  • Viral Structural Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Structural Proteins / metabolism*


  • Hemagglutinins, Viral
  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • RNA, Viral
  • Viral Structural Proteins