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In this study, RNA polymerase I expressed replicons containing EGFP and luciferase reporter genes controlled by influenza vRNA or cRNA promoters were compared side-by-side in the ability to detect influenza RNA-dependent RNA polymerase activity as an indicator of influenza replication. Results showed the vRNA based Luc reporter was more sensitive to early detection of influenza virus at 6h post infection (p<0.05), and at 10-fold lower titer (MOI=0.001). Lower sensitivity of cRNA based Luc reporter constructs was due to its background expression, 2-fold lower expression, and around 4h delay in expression of luciferase. Despite these differences, both cRNA- and vRNA-based reporters demonstrated strong correlation between MOI and luciferase signal, and can be used for effective and early detection of influenza infection in vitro. Further, we demonstrated that these reporters can be used successfully to study the kinetics of antiviral drugs including siRNA. Our results also suggest that progeny vRNAs might participate not only in secondary transcription but also in secondary replication. The developed cRNA and vRNA reporters may help with further elucidation of the replication model of influenza A virus. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Yue Wang, Brian Landman, Changqing Wu, Jack Gelb, Serguei Golovan. Comparison of vRNA and cRNA based reporters for detection of influenza replication. Antiviral research. 2013 Apr;98(1):76-84

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PMID: 23403209

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