Inhibition of dengue virus translation and RNA synthesis by a morpholino oligomer targeted to the top of the terminal 3' stem-loop structure.


Dengue virus (DEN) is a major public health problem worldwide and causes a spectrum of diseases, for which no antiviral treatments exist. Peptide-conjugated phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers (P-PMOs) complementary to the DEN 5' stem-loop (5'SL) and to the DEN 3' cyclization sequence (3'CS) inhibit DEN replication, presumably by blocking critical RNA-RNA or RNA-protein interactions involved in viral translation and/or RNA synthesis. Here, a third P-PMO, complementary to the top of the 3' stem-loop (3'SLT), inhibited DEN replication in BHK cells. Using a novel DEN2 reporter replicon and a DEN2 reporter mRNA, we determined that the 5'SL P-PMO inhibited viral translation, the 3'CS P-PMO blocked viral RNA synthesis but not viral translation, and the 3'SLT P-PMO inhibited both viral translation and RNA synthesis. These results show that the 3'CS and the 3'SL domains regulate DEN translation and RNA synthesis and further demonstrate that P-PMOs are potentially useful as antiviral agents.

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