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Open Access Research

In vitro inhibition of transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirus replication in swine testicular cells by short hairpin RNAs targeting the ORF 7 gene

Lei He1, Yan-ming Zhang1*, Ling-juan Dong1, Min Cheng1, Jing Wang1, Qing-hai Tang12 and Gang Wang1

Author Affiliations

1 College of Veterinary Medicine, Northwest A & F University, Yangling, Shaanxi, 712100, China

2 State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Biotechnology, Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Harbin, Heilongjiang, 150001, China

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Virology Journal 2012, 9:176  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-9-176

Published: 28 August 2012



Transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) is a highly contagious viral disease of swine, characterized by severe vomiting, diarrhea, and high mortality. Currently, the vaccines for it are only partially effective and no specific drug is available for treatment of TGE virus (TGEV) infection. RNA interference has been confirmed as a new approach for controlling viral infections. In this study, the inhibitory effect of short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) targeting the ORF 7 gene of TGEV on virus replication was examined.


Four theoretically effective sequences of TGEV ORF 7 gene were designed and selected for construction of shRNA expression plasmids. In the reporter assays, three of four shRNA expression plasmids were able to inhibit significantly the expression of ORF 7 gene and replication of TGEV, as shown by real-time quantitative RT-PCR analysis of viral ORF 7 and N genes and detection of virus titers (TCID50/ml). Stable swine testicular (ST) cells expressing the shRNAs were established. Observation of the cytopathic effect and apoptosis, as well as a cell proliferation assay demonstrated that the three shRNAs were capable of protecting ST cells against TGEV destruction, with high specificity and efficiency.


Our results indicated that plasmid-transcribed shRNAs targeting the ORF 7 gene in the TGEV genome effectively inhibited expression of the viral target gene and viral replication in vitro. These findings provide evidence that the shRNAs have potential therapeutic application for treatment of TGE.

Transmissible gastroenteritis virus; RNA interference; Short hairpin RNA; ORF 7