Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

RNA Interference inhibits Hepatitis B Virus of different genotypes in Vitro and in Vivo

Ya-Li Zhang, Tong Cheng*, Yi-Jun Cai, Quan Yuan, Che Liu, Tao Zhang, De-Zhen Xia, Rui-Yin Li, Lian-Wei Yang, Ying-Bin Wang, Anthony ET Yeo, James Wai-Kuo Shih, Jun Zhang and Ning-shao Xia

Author Affiliations

National Institute of Diagnostics and Vaccine Development in Infectious Diseases, School of Life Science, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian Province, China

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BMC Microbiology 2010, 10:214  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-214

Published: 10 August 2010



Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection increases the risk of liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) can be a potential new tool for HBV therapy. Given the high heterogeneity of HBV strains and the sensitivity towards sequences changes of siRNA, finding a potent siRNA inhibitor against the conservative site on the HBV genome is essential to ensure a therapeutic application.


Forty short hairpin RNA (shRNA) expression plasmids were constructed to target conserved regions among nine HBV genotypes. HBV 1.3-fold genome plasmids carrying various genotypes were co-transfected with shRNA plasmids into either Huh7 cells or mice. The levels of various viral markers were examined to assess the anti-HBV efficacy of siRNA. Four (B245, B376, B1581 and B1789) were found with the ability to potently inhibit HBV RNA, DNA, surface antigen (HBsAg), e antigen (HBeAg) and core antigen (HBcAg) expression in HBV genotypes A, B, C, D and I (a newly identified genotype) in Huh7 cells and in mice. No unusual cytotoxicity or off-target effects were noted.


Such siRNA suggests an alternate way of inhibiting various HBV genotypes in vitro and in vivo, promising advances in the treatment of HBV.