The NS3 protein of the tenuivirus rice hoja blanca virus (RHBV) has previously been shown to represent the viral RNA interference (RNAi) suppressor and is active in both plant and insect cells by binding short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) in vitro. Using a firefly luciferase-based silencing assay it is described here that NS3 is also active in mammalian cells. This activity is independent of the inducer molecule used. Using either synthetic siRNAs or a short hairpin RNA construct, NS3 was able to significantly suppress the RNAi-mediated silencing of luciferase expression in both monkey (Vero) and human (HEK293) cells. These results support the proposed mode of action of NS3 to act by sequestering siRNAs, the key molecules of the RNAi pathway conserved in all eukaryotes. The possible applications of this protein in modulating RNAi and investigating the proposed antiviral RNAi response in mammalian cell systems are discussed.
- interfering rna