Inhibition of hepatitis C virus RNA replicons by peptide aptamers

Alla Trahtenherts, Meital Gal-Tanamy, Romy Zemel, Larisa Bachmatov, Shelly Loewenstein, Ran Tur-Kaspa*, Itai Benhar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background/aims: Hepatitis C virus infection is a major worldwide health problem, causing chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis and primary liver cancer. In addition to its role in the viral polyprotein-processing, the viral NS3 serine protease has been implicated in interactions with various cell constituents resulting in phenotypic changes including malignant transformation. NS3 is currently regarded a prime target for anti-viral drugs thus specific inhibitors of its activities should be important. With the aim of inhibiting NS3 protease activity as a means to inhibit HCV replication we used a novel bacterial genetic screen to isolate NS3-inhibiting peptide aptamers. Methods: We have isolated and characterized seven NS3-inhibiting peptide aptamers. We investigated the phenotypic changes that SEAP-secreting subgenomic RNA replicons undergo upon intracellular expression of these peptide aptamers, assayed by real-time RT-PCR and inhibition of SEAP secretion by transfected replicon cells. Results and conclusions: The peptide aptamers inhibited NS3 protease activity in vitro with an IC50 in the low micromolar range. Upon transfection, aptamers inhibited the replication of SEAP-secreting genotype 1b subgenomic RNA replicons. Aptamer-based intracellular immunization may emerge as a promising antiviral approach to interfere with the life cycle and pathogenicity of HCV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-205
Number of pages11
JournalAntiviral Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008


FundersFunder number
Horowitz Fund, Israel and the Israel Cancer Association


    • HCV
    • Liver diseases
    • NS3 serine protease
    • Peptide aptamers
    • RNA replicons


    Dive into the research topics of 'Inhibition of hepatitis C virus RNA replicons by peptide aptamers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this