The Journal of general virology

Inhibition of the foot-and-mouth disease virus subgenomic replicon by RNA aptamers.

PMID 25096816


We have previously documented the inhibitory activity of RNA aptamers to the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase of foot-and-mouth disease virus (3D(pol)). Here we report their modification and use with a subgenomic replicon incorporating GFP (pGFP-PAC replicon), allowing replication to be monitored and quantified in real-time. GFP expression in transfected BHK-21 cells reached a maximum at approximately 8 h post-transfection, at which time change in morphology of the cells was consistent with a virus-induced cytopathic effect. However, transfection of replicon-bearing cells with a 3D(pol) aptamer RNA resulted in inhibition of GFP expression and maintenance of normal cell morphology, whereas a control aptamer RNA had little effect. The inhibition was correlated with a reduction in 3D(pol) (detected by immunoblotting) and shown to be dose dependent. The 3D(pol) aptamers appeared to be more effective than 2'-C-methylcytidine (2'CMC). Aptamers to components of the replication complex are therefore useful molecular tools for studying viral replication and also have potential as diagnostic molecules in the future.