Viral-based modelling and correction of neurodegenerative diseases by RNA interference

Experimental recapitulation of recessive human genetic neurodegenerative disease in rodents can be classically addressed through genetic disruption of the related gene. Although very informative, this specific gene targeting is restricted to mice and precludes a species scale-up towards non-human primates. Concomitantly, this requirement to silence a specific gene in a broad range of animal models is important in the design of therapeutic approaches to dominantly inherited neurodegenerative diseases. The emergence of RNA interference (RNAi), a highly specific mechanism of post-translational gene silencing, has opened a plethora of biological application ranging from reverse genetic analysis to therapeutic schemes. Recombinant viral vectors, by promoting a long-lasting delivery of genetic instructions in a broad range of cellular types of different species origins, represent potential platforms mandating silencing of specific gene products through RNAi. This review aims at providing an overview of the different viral systems engineered so far for efficient in vitro and in vivo delivery of RNAi instructions. Additionally, the potential of RNAi for functional analysis and therapy for polyglutamine disorders or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is discussed


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