Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2020

Department

Biological Sciences

School

Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences

Abstract

© This article is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution 4.0 International, as described at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). RNAi promises to reshape pest control by being nontoxic, biodegradable, and species specific. However, due to the plastic nature of RNAi, there is a significant variability in responses. In this study, we investigate small RNA pathways and processing of ingested RNAi trigger molecules in a hemipteran plant pest, the whitefly Bemisia tabaci. Unlike Drosophila, where the paradigm for insect RNAi technology was established, whitefly has abundant somatic piwi-associated RNAs (piRNAs). Long regarded as germline restricted, piRNAs are common in the soma of many invertebrates. We sought to exploit this for a novel gene silencing approach. The main principle of piRNA biogenesis is the recruitment of target RNA fragments into the pathway. As such, we designed synthetic RNAs to possess complementarity to the loci we annotated. Following feeding of these exogenous piRNA triggers knockdown as effective as conventional siRNA-only approaches was observed. These results demonstrate a new approach for RNAi technology that could be applicable to dsRNA-recalcitrant pest species and could be fundamental to realizing insecticidal RNAi against pests.

Publication Title

Life Science Alliance

Volume

3

Issue

10

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