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Viruses 2010, 2(7), 1382-1393;

Targeting microRNA-122 to Treat Hepatitis C Virus Infection

School of Pharmacy, Centre for Biomolecular Sciences, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
Received: 31 May 2010 / Revised: 28 June 2010 / Accepted: 2 July 2010 / Published: 5 July 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antivirals Against Hepatitis C Virus)
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An important host factor for hepatitis C virus (HCV) is microRNA-122 (miR-122). miR-122 is a liver-specific member of a family of small, non-coding RNA molecules known as microRNAs that play major roles in the regulation of gene expression by direct interaction with RNA targets. miR-122 binds directly to two sites in the 5′ untranslated region (UTR) of HCV RNA and positively regulates the viral life cycle. The mechanism by which this regulation occurs is still not fully understood. There has been a great deal of interest in potential therapeutics based on small RNAs, and targeting miR-122 to combat HCV is one of the furthest advanced. Chemical inhibitors of miR-122 can be introduced into mammals intravenously and result in potent and specific knockdown of the microRNA, with no detectable adverse effects on liver physiology. This strategy was recently applied to chimpanzees chronically infected with HCV and resulted in a sustained reduction in viral load in the animals. Inhibition of miR-122 therefore presents a very attractive novel approach to treating HCV, a virus for which improved therapeutics are urgently needed. View Full-Text
Keywords: microRNA-122; hepatitis C virus microRNA-122; hepatitis C virus

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Jopling, C.L. Targeting microRNA-122 to Treat Hepatitis C Virus Infection. Viruses 2010, 2, 1382-1393.

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