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Genes (Basel). 2012 Nov 6;3(4):702-41. doi: 10.3390/genes3040702.

RNAi in Arthropods: Insight into the Machinery and Applications for Understanding the Pathogen-Vector Interface.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, 0002, South Africa.
  • 2Institut für Parasitologie und Tropenveterinärmedizin, Freie Universität Berlin, Königsweg 67, 14163, Berlin, Germany.
  • 3Department of Genetics, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, 0002, South Africa.
  • 4Department of Biochemistry, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, 0002, South Africa.


The availability of genome sequencing data in combination with knowledge of expressed genes via transcriptome and proteome data has greatly advanced our understanding of arthropod vectors of disease. Not only have we gained insight into vector biology, but also into their respective vector-pathogen interactions. By combining the strengths of postgenomic databases and reverse genetic approaches such as RNAi, the numbers of available drug and vaccine targets, as well as number of transgenes for subsequent transgenic or paratransgenic approaches, have expanded. These are now paving the way for in-field control strategies of vectors and their pathogens. Basic scientific questions, such as understanding the basic components of the vector RNAi machinery, is vital, as this allows for the transfer of basic RNAi machinery components into RNAi-deficient vectors, thereby expanding the genetic toolbox of these RNAi-deficient vectors and pathogens. In this review, we focus on the current knowledge of arthropod vector RNAi machinery and the impact of RNAi on understanding vector biology and vector-pathogen interactions for which vector genomic data is available on VectorBase.

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