Long-term RNA interference and its application to hepatitis B virus
Pan, Jin Shui
Wang, Xiao Zhong
Ren, Jian Lin
- 医学院－已发表论文 
RNA interference (RNAi) is an ancient defensive mechanism in eukaryotes to control gene expressing and defend their genomes from foreign invaders. It refers to the phenomenon that double-stranded RNA results in the sequence-specific silencing of target gene expression. Although it was documented in a relatively short time ago, intensive research has facilitated making its mechanism clear. Researchers have found that it was a powerful tool for analyzing the functions of genes and treating tumors, infectious diseases and genetic abnormalities that are associated with a dominant gene defect. However, delivery in vivo, low blood stability and poor intracellular uptake present significant challenges for the development of RNAi reagents in clinical use. Thus, long-term inducible RNAi was designed. There are hundreds of millions of hepatitis B virus (HBV) carriers in the world at present, a portion of whom will lose their lives after several years due to chronic complications such as cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinomas or both. Although a preventive vaccine is now available, the present therapeutic options for chronically infected patients are limited and of low efficiency. Admittedly, to date most RNAi experiments have been done in vitro, but it is hoped that they may be developed into a therapeutic strategy for HBV in the near future. In this article the principles and construction of long-term RNA are discussed. Its therapeutic potentiality and attention to the potential hazards will also outlined. We conclude that this ancient defensive mechanism can be recruited as a powerful weapon in the fight against HBV.