Washington: A novel therapeutic approach in which key regions of the dengue genome essential for viral replication are targeted and silenced, can prevent dengue virus from reproducing in humans.
Pei-wen Xie, Yu Xie, Xiu-juan Zhang, Hai Huang, Li-na He, Xue-jun Wang, and Sheng-qi Wang, Beijing Institute of Radiation Medicine and Second Artillery General Hospital, Beijing, and Central South University, Changsha, China, identified multiple regions in the dengue virus genome that have maintained the same nucleic sequence over long periods of evolution.
These highly conserved regions are ideal targets for antiviral drug development as they are unlikely to mutate and allow the virus to develop drug resistance.
In the article `Inhibition of Dengue Virus 2 Replication by Artificial MicroRNAs Targeting the Conserved Regions,` the authors describe how they constructed artificial short strands of nucleic acids called microRNAs that specifically target these conserved sites in the dengue virus genome.
Their experiments led to the identification of the most effective combinations of microRNAs capable of inhibiting the virus from replication in humans.
The research is published in the journal Nucleic Acid Therapeutics.