miRNAs are potent tools that in principle can be used to control the replication of infectious agents. The objectives of the studies reported here were to design miRNAs that can block the replication of herpes simplex virus 1 and which could be delivered to infected cells via exosomes. We report the following: (1) We designed three miRNAs targeting the mRNA encoding ICP4, an essential viral regulatory protein. Of the three miRNAs, one miRNA401 effectively blocked ICP4 accumulation and viral replication on transfection into susceptible cells. (2) To facilitate packaging of the miRNA into exosomes, we incorporated into the sequence of miRNA401 an exosome-packaging motif. miRNA401 was shown to be packaged into exosomes and successfully delivered by exosomes to susceptible cells, where it remained stable for at least 72 hr. Finally, the results show that miRNA401 delivered to cells via exosomes effectively reduced virus yields in a miRNA401 dose-dependent fashion. The protocol described in this report can be applied to study viral gene functions without actually deleting or mutagenizing the gene.
Wang, Lei, Xiaoqing Chen, Xusha Zhou, Bernard Roizman, and Grace Guoying Zhou. "miRNAs targeting ICP4 and delivered to susceptible cells in exosomes block herpes simplex virus 1 replication in dose dependent manner." Molecular Therapy (2018).
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