Biochemical and biophysical research communications

Suppressing RNA silencing with small molecules and the viral suppressor of RNA silencing protein p19.

PMID 26079891


RNA silencing is a gene regulatory and host defense mechanism whereby small RNA molecules are engaged by Argonaute (AGO) proteins, which facilitate gene knockdown of complementary mRNA targets. Small molecule inhibitors of AGO represent a convenient method for reversing this effect and have applications in human therapy and biotechnology. Viral suppressors of RNA silencing, such as p19, can also be used to suppress the pathway. Here we assess the compatibility of these two approaches, by examining whether synthetic inhibitors of AGO would inhibit p19-siRNA interactions. We observe that aurintricarboxylic acid (ATA) is a potent inhibitor of p19's ability to bind siRNA (IC50 = 0.43 μM), oxidopamine does not inhibit p19:siRNA interactions, and suramin is a mild inhibitor of p19:siRNA interactions (IC50 = 430 μM). We observe that p19 and suramin are compatible inhibitors of RNA silencing in human hepatoma cells. Our data suggests that at least some inhibitors of AGO may be used in combination with p19 to inhibit RNA silencing at different points in the pathway.