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Mol Ther. 2002 Aug;6(2):243-51.

Inhibition of viral gene expression and replication in mosquito cells by dsRNA-triggered RNA interference.

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National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, 20892, USA.


Mosquitoes transmit numerous viral pathogens to humans including dengue virus which affects approximately 50 million individuals per year. Inhibition of viral gene expression within an insect host could be used to block virus replication and subsequent transmission of the pathogen to humans. A naturally occurring gene silencing mechanism triggered by double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), RNA interference (RNAi), has recently been described in a number of species including Drosophila. To ascertain if dsRNA-triggered RNAi is present in mosquito cells, we used Aedes albopictus C6/36 cells, and to investigate the feasibility of blocking viral gene expression and replication, we used two mosquito-borne viruses, Semliki Forest virus (SFV) and the serotype 1 dengue virus (DEN1). We demonstrate that dsRNA can specifically inhibit transgene expression in C6/36 cells from both plasmid and SFV replicons and can significantly modify the kinetics of DEN1 RNA and virus replication. The inhibition mediated by dsRNA was sequence-specific and either equal or superior to that induced by antisense single-stranded RNA (ssRNA). This study demonstrates dsRNA-triggered inhibition of gene expression and virus replication in mosquito cells and suggests that this mechanism could be used to block pathogen replication within an insect host and, thus, block disease transmission.

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