MicroRNA-130a inhibits HCV replication by restoring the innate immune response

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SUMMARY.Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major cause of chronic hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Currently pegylated interferon (IFN) combined with ribavirin remains the best therapeutic approach, although patients infected with HCV genotype I may benefit from adding protease inhibitors as ‘triple therapy’. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous small noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression and have recently been shown to play an important role in human innate immune response and as an antiviral in chimpanzees. We studied the effect of miR-130a on the HCV replication. We found that miR-130a significantly inhibits HCV replication in both HCV replicon and J6-/JFH1-infected cells. Over expression of miR-130a upregulated the expression of type I IFN (IFN-α/IFN -β), ISG15, USP18 and MxA, which are involved in innate immune response and decreased expression of miR-122, a well-defined miRNA promoting HCV production. In conclusion, miR-130a inhibits HCV replication/production by restoring host innate immune responses and/or downregulating pro-HCV miR-122. miR-130a might be a potential drug target by modulating host innate immune responses to combat HCV infection.

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