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Development of Foot and Mouth Disease Resistant Livestock using RNA Interference

Bethany Solomon*, Mike Peoples, Sarah Canterberry, Kim Tessanne, Charles Long

Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
Texas A&M University, College Station TX  77843


Objective: The specific goal for this pilot project is to generate transgenic cell lines that contain (and express) a gene coding for a small hairpin RNA (shRNA), which blocks the production of foot and mouth disease virus (FMDV) in vitro. 

Animals/Sample Population:  293-T and BHK-21 cells.

Procedure:  Production and testing of shRNAs designed to inhibit FMDV replication.  Testing the effectiveness of expressing multiple shRNAs simultaneously in BHK-21 cells.  Production of transgenic porcine cells which inhibit FMDV replication. 

Results:  A cell line of transgenic BHK-21 expressing GFP or dsRed targeting FMDV have been produced and are currently undergoing testing at UTMB Galveston.

Conclusions/Clinical Relevance:  FMD is one of the most feared livestock diseases in North America because of it's high rate of infectivity, it's ability to affect mutiple species, and the fact that it is shed prior to the animal showing clinical signs. The impact of a FMDV outbreak on the United States $100 billion/year livestock industry is difficult to predict, but can be estimated by the $13 billion dollar economic loss and the loss of irreplaceable genetics following the FMD outbreak in Great Britain in 2001. Thus, new approaches to treat and/or prevent the outbreak of this and other viral animal diseases are of the utmost importance.  FMDV exhibits a high mutation rate, which leads to extreme antigenic variation, making humoral immune response serotype and subtype dependent. The vast knowledge of the molecular biology of FMDV permits us to design and develop shRNAs that will be effective across the various serotypes.