Engineering RNA Interference-Based Dengue Virus Resistance in the Mosquito Vector Aedes aegypti: The Current Status and Future Directions

S. D. Denipitiyage, Y. I. N. S. Gunawardene, Z. Federico and R. S. Dassanayake,  Genetically Modified and other Innovative Vector Control Technologies,  2021.

Dengue is an acute, febrile disease caused by the dengue viruses (DENV) comprising four serotypes and transmitted by the mosquito vector Ae. aegypti. DENV are single-stranded, positive-sense RNA viruses of the family Flaviviridae. Dengue is declared as a current significant challenge in the Southeast Asia, imposing growing burden on infected populations. To date, dengue control has mostly relied on vector control strategies which have largely become ineffective. There is, therefore, an urgent need for novel vector control strategies. Development of genetically modified mosquito vectors to manipulate disease-vectoring populations has gathered increased interest in recent time. RNAi-mediated viral resistance contributes to the suppression of viruses, including DENV in the mosquito vector Ae. aegypti. With recent advances in the field of molecular biology, we and other scientists are continuing to engineer genes that confer virus resistance to reduce transmission rates of DENV and introducing these genes into the mosquito genome. Even though scientists successfully generated mosquito refractory to DENV2–4, no mosquito refractory to all four serotypes has been developed to date. This limitation can be overcome by systematic analysis of the molecular mechanisms of RNAi in the mosquito vector Ae. aegypti. An enhanced understanding of RNAi function in the mosquito vector Ae. aegypti will facilitate the application of RNAi to control the transmission of the dengue disease in the future. Here, based on current understanding of the RNAi, we discuss the mechanisms of RNAi in the mosquito vector Ae. aegypti. We also provide guidelines for optimal design of RNAi experiments in Ae. aegypti with the possible risks associated with them along with proposed solutions.

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