Molecular Biotechnology

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 17–33 | Cite as

Antiviral ribozymes

New jobs for ancient molecules
  • Annette Menke
  • Gerd HobomEmail author


Catalytic RNAs are a genetic property not only of some particular viroids or viruses, but also are more common naturally among eukaryotes and even prokaryotes than earlier expected. However, the major interest in ribozymes results from their potential for development of “tailor-made” cDNA constructions designed to be transcribed into catalytic RNAs that will recognize by hybridization and destroy by specific cleavage their cellular or viral RNA targets. The efficiency of an antiviral ribozyme is determined by both the accessibility and sequence conservation of the target region, as well as the design of the ribozyme: its type, size, and composition of flanking sequences; expression rates; and cellular compartment localization. Until now the most frequently selected viral target is the human immunodeficiency virus, where an up to a 104-fold inhibition in its progeny production has been achieved. Although the first generation ribozymes focused on improvements in basic design and expression rates, more recently the efficiency of antiviral catalytic activity has been increased by employing polyribozymes and/or multitarget ribozymes, as well as special constructions to enhance the cellular co-compartmentation of the ribozyme with its viral RNA target.

Index Entries

Hammerhead ribozymes hairpin ribozymes hepatitis delta virus HIV antiviral therapy intracellular targeting polyribozymes multitarget ribozymes 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Mikrobiologie und MolekularbiologieGiessenGermany

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