Department of Biochemistry and State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Nanjing University, Nanjing, 210093, China.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV), a positive single-stranded RNA virus, is a major cause of liver disease in humans. Herein we report a novel strategy to inhibit the reproduction and translation of HCV using a short RNA, named an Additional RNA, to activate the endonuclease activity of Argonaute 2 (Ago2). In the presence of the Additional RNA, the HCV genome RNA has the requisite 12 nucleotides of base-pairing with microRNA-122. This activates the endonuclease activity of Ago2, resulting in cleavage and release of the HCV genome RNA from Ago2 and microRNA-122. The free HCV genome RNA would be susceptible to intracellular degradation, effectively inhibiting its reproduction and translation. This study presents a new method to inhibit HCV that may hold great potential for HCV treatment in the future.