<p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) causes an economically important and highly contagious disease of cloven-hoofed animals. RNAi triggered by small RNA molecules, including siRNAs and miRNAs, offers a new approach for controlling viral infections. There is no report available for FMDV inhibition by vector-delivered miRNA, although miRNA is believed to have more potential than siRNA. In this study, the inhibitory effects of vector-delivered miRNAs targeting the 3D gene on FMDV replication were examined.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Four pairs of oligonucleotides encoding 3D-specific miRNA of FMDV were designed and selected for construction of miRNA expression plasmids. In the reporter assays, two of four miRNA expression plasmids were able to significantly silence the expression of 3D-GFP fusion proteins from the reporter plasmid, p3D-GFP, which was cotransfected with each miRNA expression plasmid. After detecting the silencing effects of the reporter genes, the inhibitory effects of FMDV replication were determined in the miRNA expression plasmid-transfected and FMDV-infected cells. Virus titration and real-time RT-PCR assays showed that the p3D715-miR and p3D983-miR plasmids were able to potently inhibit the replication of FMDV when BHK-21 cells were infected with FMDV.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>Our results indicated that vector-delivered miRNAs targeting the 3D gene efficiently inhibits FMDV replication <it>in vitro</it>. This finding provides evidence that miRNAs could be used as a potential tool against FMDV infection.</p
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