RNA interference-mediated antiviral defense in insects

Don B. Gammon, Craig C. Mello

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Abstract Small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated RNA interference (RNAi) pathways are critical for the detection and inhibition of RNA virus replication in insects. Recent work has also implicated RNAi pathways in the establishment of persistent virus infections and in the control of DNA virus replication. Accumulating evidence suggests that diverse double-stranded RNAs produced by RNA and DNA viruses can trigger RNAi responses yet many viruses have evolved mechanisms to inhibit RNAi defenses. Therefore, an evolutionary arms race exists between host RNAi pathways and invading viral pathogens. Here we review recent advances in our knowledge of how insect RNAi pathways are elicited upon infection, the strategies used by viruses to counter these defenses, and discuss recent evidence implicating Piwi-interacting RNAs in antiviral defense.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number85
Pages (from-to)111-120
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Opinion in Insect Science
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science


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