siRNAs targeting PB2 and NP genes potentially inhibit replication of Highly Pathogenic H5N1 Avian Influenza Virus
Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus is a threat to animal and public health worldwide. Till date, the H5N1 virus has claimed 402 human lives, with a mortality rate of 58% and has caused the death or culling of millions of poultry since 2003. In this study, we have designed three siRNAs (PB2-2235, PB2-479 and NP-865) targeting PB2 and NP genes of avian influenza virus and evaluated their potential, measured by hemagglutination (HA), plaque reduction and Real time RT-PCR assay, in inhibiting H5N1 virus (A/chicken/Navapur/7972/2006) replication in MDCK cells. The siRNAs caused 8- to 16-fold reduction in virus HA titers at 24 h after challenged with 100TCID50 of virus. Among these siRNAs, PB2-2235 offered the highest inhibition of virus replication with 16-fold reduction in virus HA titer, 80% reduction in viral plaque counts and 94% inhibition in expression of specific RNA at 24 h. The other two siRNAs had 68–73% and 87–88% reduction in viral plaque counts and RNA copy number, respectively. The effect of siRNA on H5N1 virus replication continued till 48h (maximum observation period). These findings suggest that PB2-2235 could efficiently inhibit HPAI H5N1 virus replication.