Inhibition of rabies virus replication by multiple artificial microRNAs

Antiviral Res. 2009 Oct;84(1):76-83. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2009.07.012. Epub 2009 Jul 29.


The RNA interference (RNAi) technology has been recognized as a promising antiviral therapy for a few years. One of the potential limitations for applying this technology against wild type rabies virus is its high rate of genetic variation. Recently, an RNAi vector system that incorporated modified dsRNA within microRNA structure [or artificial miRNAs(amiRNAs)] has been described. This allowed expression of multiple amiRNAs of single or multiple targets from a single construct. In this study, we evaluated a benefit of using amiRNA vector against different rabies strains. We found that applying single targeting amiRNA against challenged rabies virus standard (CVS) rabies nucleocapsid (N) mRNA resulted in more than 90% reduction of viral genome in Neuro2A cells up to 72 h after infection. Multiple amiRNAs aiming at single or multiple NmRNA target(s) yielded comparable inhibitory results as with a single amiRNA against perfectly matched target. Although the level of each mature miRNA generated from multiple amiRNA construct was slightly reduced as assessed by stem-loop RT and real-time PCR techniques, its effectiveness remained unchanged even when an ineffective or scrambled amiRNA was also included in the transcript. Against highly pathogenic wild type virus, single amiRNA construct activity was reduced when mismatching with target sequence occurred at critical site whereas multiple targeting amiRNA construct remained highly effective. Our results suggest the benefit of using multiple targeting amiRNAs when confronting with wild type rabies virus, the sequence of which is not completely known.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • Down-Regulation*
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleocapsid Proteins / genetics
  • Nucleocapsid Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA Interference*
  • Rabies / virology
  • Rabies virus / genetics*
  • Rabies virus / physiology
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Virus Replication*


  • MicroRNAs
  • Nucleocapsid Proteins
  • nucleocapsid protein, Rabies virus