Antiviral Applications of RNAi

  • K.V. Morris
  • J.J. Rossi
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 173)


RNA interference is a natural mechanism by which small interfering (si)RNA operates to specifically and potently down-regulate the expression of a target gene. This down-regulation has been thought to predominantly function at the level of the messenger (m)RNA, post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS). Recently, the discovery that siRNAs can function to suppress a gene’s expression at the level of transcription, i.e., transcriptional gene silencing (TGS), has created a major paradigm shift in mammalian RNAi. These recent findings significantly broaden the role RNA, specifically siRNAs and potentially microRNAs, plays in the regulation of gene expression as well as the breadth of potential siRNA target sites. Indeed, the specificity and simplicity of design makes the use of siRNAs to target and suppress virtually any gene or gene promoter of interest a realized technology. Furthermore, since siRNAs are a small nucleic acid reagent, they are unlikely to elicit an immune response, making them a theoretically good future therapeutic. This review will focus on the development, delivery, and potential therapeutic use of antiviral siRNAs in treating viral infections as well as emerging viral threats.




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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • K.V. Morris
    • 1
  • J.J. Rossi
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Rheumatology, Department of Molecular and Experimental MedicineThe Scripps Research InstituteLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Division of Molecular BiologyBeckman Research Institute of the City of HopeDuarteUSA

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