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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 2019 Jul;110:121-127. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2019.05.005. Epub 2019 May 20.

The microRNA pathway core genes are differentially expressed during the development of Helicoverpa armigera and contribute in the insect's development.

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Department of Entomology, Faculty of Agriculture, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.
Australian Infectious Disease Research Centre, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
Department of Entomology, Faculty of Agriculture, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran. Electronic address:


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs (18-25 nt) that are produced by all animals and plants as well as some viruses. Their roles have been revealed in many physiological processes including development, cancer, immunity, apoptosis and, host-microbe interactions through post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. In this study, we predicted, characterized and transcriptionally analyzed the core miRNA pathway genes in Helicoverpa armigera. Our results showed that the canonical miRNA biogenesis pathway genes including Pasha, Drosha, Loquacious, Exportin-5, Dicer-1 and Argonaute-1 are differentially expressed in different tissues and during the development of this insect. Considering the essential role of Dicer-1 in this pathway, we used RNA interference to silence the expression of this gene in H. armigera. Silencing of Dicer-1 decreased the levels of cellular miRNAs, let-7 and miR-184. Together, our results showed that the miRNA pathway functions during the development of H. armigera, and silencing of Dicer-1 resulted in the miRNA pathway blockage and depletion of the miRNA contents leading to mortalities in the immature stage and abnormalities in the mature stage. Blockage of this pathway can therefore be considered in future attempts for interrupting/suppressing populations of this important crop pest.


Development; Epigenetics; RNAi; microRNA


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