Antisense Morpholino-Oligomers Directed against the 5′ End of the Genome Inhibit Coronavirus Proliferation and Growth† Academic Article uri icon


  • Conjugation of a peptide related to the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 Tat represents a novel method for delivery of antisense morpholino-oligomers. Conjugated and unconjugated oligomers were tested to determine sequence-specific antiviral efficacy against a member of the Coronaviridae, Mouse hepatitis virus (MHV). Specific antisense activity designed to block translation of the viral replicase polyprotein was first confirmed by reduction of luciferase expression from a target sequence-containing reporter construct in both cell-free and transfected cell culture assays. Peptide-conjugated morpholino-oligomers exhibited low toxicity in DBT astrocytoma cells used for culturing MHV. Oligomer administered at micromolar concentrations was delivered to >80% of cells and inhibited virus titers 10- to 100-fold in a sequence-specific and dose-responsive manner. In addition, targeted viral protein synthesis, plaque diameter, and cytopathic effect were significantly reduced. Inhibition of virus infectivity by peptide-conjugated morpholino was comparable to the antiviral activity of the aminoglycoside hygromycin B used at a concentration fivefold higher than the oligomer. These results suggest that this composition of antisense compound has therapeutic potential for control of coronavirus infection.

altmetric score

  • 7.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Neuman, B. W., Stein, D. A., Kroeker, A. D., Paulino, A. D., Moulton, H. M., Iversen, P. L., & Buchmeier, M. J.

citation count

  • 54

publication date

  • May 2004