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Molecules 2010, 15(10), 7197-7207; doi:10.3390/molecules15107197

Small Interfering RNA Effectively Inhibits the Expression of SARS Coronavirus Membrane Gene at Two Novel Targeting Sites

Department of Microbiology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & School of Basic Medicine, Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100005, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 September 2010 / Accepted: 15 September 2010 / Published: 18 October 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catalytic Nucleic Acids)
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Small interfering RNA (siRNA) is a class of duplex RNA molecules of 21-25 nt nucleotides in length functioning post-transcriptionally to downregulate targeted gene expression. The membrane (M) protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) is highly abundant during viral infections and is a critical element for viral assembly. Nucleotide substitution in the viral genome occurs frequently during SARS-CoV infection. In the current study, we analyzed the M gene sequences derived from 15 SARS-CoV isolates and uncovered six nucleotide substitutions among these isolates. Interestingly, these nucleotide substitutions are all located at the 5’ half of the M gene. Based on this information and previous reports, we created two novel siRNAs targeting two unexploited and well conserved regions in the M gene. The effects of these two siRNAs were tested by semi-quantitative RT-PCR and EGFP-M fusion gene expression. The results demonstrated that both siRNAs effectively and specifically blocked the targeted gene expression. Real time quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) revealed that siRNA targeting the 3’ half of the M gene (si-M2) induced more potent inhibition than that targeting the 5’ half (si-M1). Both si-M1 and si-M2 significantly downregulated M gene mediated upregulation of interferon b expression. Thus, our results indicate that SARS-CoV M gene specific siRNA might function in a sequence-dependent manner.
Keywords: siRNA; SARS-CoV; membrane gene; RT-PCR; EGFP siRNA; SARS-CoV; membrane gene; RT-PCR; EGFP
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Wang, Y.; Cao, Y.-L.; Yang, F.; Zhang, Y.; Wang, S.-H.; Liu, L. Small Interfering RNA Effectively Inhibits the Expression of SARS Coronavirus Membrane Gene at Two Novel Targeting Sites. Molecules 2010, 15, 7197-7207.

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