RNA interference against hepatitis B virus with endoribonuclease-prepared siRNA despite of the target sequence variations

Virus Res. 2007 Jun;126(1-2):172-8. doi: 10.1016/j.virusres.2007.02.013. Epub 2007 Mar 30.


RNA interference (RNAi) has proven to be very powerful in inhibiting hepatitis B virus (HBV) replication by cell culture and mouse model studies. We have previously reported that endoribonuclease-prepared short interfering RNAs (esiRNAs) were able to inhibit HBV replication more efficiently than synthesized siRNAs. Here we tested the hypothesis that esiRNAs are able to inhibit gene expression with limited mutations within the target region. Target sequences with different similarities to esiHBVP (esiRNA targeting the DNA polymerase and S antigen of Hepatitis B virus) were amplified and cloned into the 3' untranslated region of HBsAg, respectively. When the obtained expression vectors were co-transfected with esiHBVP into CHO cells, HBsAg expression was suppressed with same efficiency regardless of the target sequence similarities. In HepG2 cells, esiHP9 based on one of the amplified sequence that sharing 87% similarity to the target region suppressed HBsAg expression effectively and dose dependently. In vivo experiment showed that a single dose of 5 microg esiHP9 was able to reduce HBsAg and HBeAg level in the mouse sera by 88 and 77% despite of its 87% similarity to the target sequence, which was as good as esiHBVP that is 100% similar to the target sequence. All the data suggest that esiRNA can tolerate limited target sequence variations without losing its inhibitory capacity. It would be very helpful to suppress virus replication by RNAi despite of their high mutation rate.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • CHO Cells
  • Cell Line
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Endoribonucleases
  • Gene Expression
  • Genetic Variation
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / genetics
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics*
  • Hepatitis B virus / physiology
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA Interference*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / isolation & purification
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Transfection
  • Virus Replication


  • DNA, Viral
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Endoribonucleases