Avian metapneumovirus (aMPV) is one of the major causes of serious respiratory infections of poultry and leads to considerable economic losses to food animal production worldwide. Here, we show that double stranded short interfering RNA (siRNA) molecules corresponding to aMPV phosphoprotein (P) gene silence P RNA and protein expression. These siRNAs broadly reduced the expression of other viral proteins in addition to P, but did not have a discernable effect on cellular protein expression. The exposure of cells to P-specific siRNAs also led to inhibition of virus replication as evidenced by marked reduction in the progeny virion titers. Taken together, the findings suggest that exogenous P silencing siRNAs can inhibit aMPV replication with potential implications in the design of novel siRNA based prophylactics.
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