Challenges and Future Trends of RNA Interference in Insects

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450). This special issue belongs to the section "Insect Molecular Biology and Genomics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2024 | Viewed by 2936

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Honglin Feng
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Entomology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
Interests: RNA interference; insects; pest management; RNAi delivery; RNAi safety

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

RNA interference (RNAi) is a powerful molecular tool that has revolutionized functional genomics and gene regulation in various organisms, including insects. Insects are critical model systems for understanding the mechanisms of RNAi and developing novel RNAi-based technologies for pest management. However, despite the significant progress made in the field, several challenges and future directions need to be addressed to fully exploit RNAi’s potential in insects. The objective of this Special Issue is to provide a comprehensive overview of the current challenges and future trends of RNAi in insects. This Special Issue aims to cover a range of topics, including the mechanisms of RNAi in insects, novel delivery strategies, target gene selection, off-target effects, insect resistance, and the application of RNAi in insect pest management. This Special Issue will bring together leading experts in the field to discuss the latest advancements in RNAi technology, highlight the potential of RNAi as a tool for managing insect pests, and identify key areas for future research.

Dr. Honglin Feng
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • RNA interference
  • insects
  • pest management
  • RNAi delivery
  • RNAi safety

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

12 pages, 1885 KiB  
Article
Cyantraniliprole and Thiamethoxam Exposure Changes Expression of Transcripts Associated with Small Non-Coding RNA Processing in the Colorado Potato Beetle
Insects 2024, 15(3), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects15030147 - 22 Feb 2024
Viewed by 185
Abstract
The Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say)) can cause extensive damage to agricultural crops worldwide and is a significant insect pest. This insect is notorious for its ability to evade various strategies deployed to control its spread and is known for its [...] Read more.
The Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say)) can cause extensive damage to agricultural crops worldwide and is a significant insect pest. This insect is notorious for its ability to evade various strategies deployed to control its spread and is known for its relative ease in developing resistance against different insecticides. Various molecular levers are leveraged by L. decemlineata for this resistance to occur, and a complete picture of the genes involved in this process is lacking. While small non-coding RNAs, including miRNAs, are differentially expressed in insects exposed to insecticides, levels of transcript coding for proteins underlying their synthesis remain to be characterized fully. The overarching objective of this work aims to fill that gap by assessing the expression of such targets in L. decemlineata exposed to cyantraniliprole and thiamethoxam. The expression status of Ago1, Ago2, Ago3, Dcr2a, Dcr2b, Expo-5, Siwi-1 and Siwi-2 transcripts were quantified via qRT-PCR in adult L. decemlineata treated with low and high doses of these compounds for different lengths of time. Variation in Ago1 and Dcr2b expression was notably observed in L. decemlineata exposed to cyantraniliprole, while thiamethoxam exposure was associated with the modulation of Dcr2a and Siwi-1 transcript levels. The down-regulation of Ago1 expression in L. decemlineata using dsRNA, followed by cyantraniliprole treatment, was associated with a reduction in the survival of insects with reduced Ago1 transcript expression. Overall, this work presents the insecticide-mediated modulation of transcripts associated with small non-coding RNA processing and showcases Ago1 as a target to further investigate its relevance in cyantraniliprole response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges and Future Trends of RNA Interference in Insects)
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18 pages, 9389 KiB  
Article
Knockdown of the Expression of Two Trehalase Genes with RNAi Disrupts the Trehalose and Chitin Metabolism Pathways in the Oriental Armyworm, Mythimna separata
Insects 2024, 15(3), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects15030142 - 21 Feb 2024
Viewed by 155
Abstract
Trehalose is an important carbohydrate substance in insect hemolymph. Chitin is the main component of cuticle and peritrophic matrix in insects. Trehalase (Tre) catalyzes the decomposition of trehalose. Few studies of trehalase in lepidopteran insects have been conducted. Here, the functions of soluble [...] Read more.
Trehalose is an important carbohydrate substance in insect hemolymph. Chitin is the main component of cuticle and peritrophic matrix in insects. Trehalase (Tre) catalyzes the decomposition of trehalose. Few studies of trehalase in lepidopteran insects have been conducted. Here, the functions of soluble Tre (Tre1) and membrane-bound Tre (Tre2) in the growth and development of Mythimna separata were investigated. We cloned and identified Tre1 and Tre2 cDNA sequences in M. separata. Analysis expression revealed that MsTre1 and MsTre2 were highly expressed in midgut and integument, respectively. The expression of MsTre1 and MsTre2 was highest in the pupal stage. We used RNA interference (RNAi) to inhibit Tre expression in M. separata larvae. Injection of dsMsTre1 or dsMsTre2 resulted in abnormal phenotypes and impeded normal molting. Silencing of MsTre1 and MsTre2 resulted in significant changes in the expression of genes in the trehalose and chitin metabolism pathways, significantly increased the trehalose and glycogen content, and significantly decreased MsTre1 and MsTre2 activity, the glucose content, and the chitin content in midgut and integument. Silencing of MsTre1 slowed larval molting, and the new cuticle was significantly thinner. These results indicate that RNAi of Tre may be useful for control strategies against M. separata. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges and Future Trends of RNA Interference in Insects)
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14 pages, 2525 KiB  
Article
RNAi-Mediated Knockdown of Acidic Ribosomal Stalk Protein P1 Arrests Egg Development in Adult Female Yellow Fever Mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti
Insects 2024, 15(2), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects15020084 - 24 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1062
Abstract
After taking a blood meal, the fat body of the adult female yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, switches from a previtellogenic state of arrest to an active state of synthesizing large quantities of yolk protein precursors (YPPs) that are crucial for egg [...] Read more.
After taking a blood meal, the fat body of the adult female yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, switches from a previtellogenic state of arrest to an active state of synthesizing large quantities of yolk protein precursors (YPPs) that are crucial for egg development. The synthesis of YPPs is regulated at both the transcriptional and translational levels. Previously, we identified the cytoplasmic protein general control nonderepressible 1 (GCN1) as a part of the translational regulatory pathway for YPP synthesis. In the current study, we used the C-terminal end of GCN1 to screen for protein–protein interactions and identified 60S acidic ribosomal protein P1 (P1). An expression analysis and RNAi-mediated knockdown of P1 was performed to further investigate the role of P1 in mosquito reproduction. We showed that in unfed (absence of a blood meal) adult A. aegypti mosquitoes, P1 was expressed ubiquitously in the mosquito organs and tissues tested. We also showed that the RNAi-mediated knockdown of P1 in unfed adult female mosquitoes resulted in a strong, transient knockdown with observable phenotypic changes in ovary length and egg deposition. Our results suggest that 60S acidic ribosomal protein P1 is necessary for mosquito reproduction and is a promising target for mosquito population control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges and Future Trends of RNA Interference in Insects)
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12 pages, 1806 KiB  
Article
Demonstration of RNAi Yeast Insecticide Activity in Semi-Field Larvicide and Attractive Targeted Sugar Bait Trials Conducted on Aedes and Culex Mosquitoes
Insects 2023, 14(12), 950; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14120950 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1169
Abstract
Eco-friendly new mosquito control innovations are critical for the ongoing success of global mosquito control programs. In this study, Sh.463_56.10R, a robust RNA interference (RNAi) yeast insecticide strain that is suitable for scaled fermentation, was evaluated under semi-field conditions. Inactivated and dried Sh.463_56.10R [...] Read more.
Eco-friendly new mosquito control innovations are critical for the ongoing success of global mosquito control programs. In this study, Sh.463_56.10R, a robust RNA interference (RNAi) yeast insecticide strain that is suitable for scaled fermentation, was evaluated under semi-field conditions. Inactivated and dried Sh.463_56.10R yeast induced significant mortality of field strain Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus, and Culex quinquefasciatus larvae in semi-field larvicide trials conducted outdoors in St. Augustine, Trinidad, where 100% of the larvae were dead within 24 h. The yeast was also stably suspended in commercial bait and deployed as an active ingredient in miniature attractive targeted sugar bait (ATSB) station sachets. The yeast ATSB induced high levels of Aedes and Culex mosquito morbidity in semi-field trials conducted in Trinidad, West Indies, as well as in Bangkok, Thailand, in which the consumption of the yeast resulted in adult female mosquito death within 48 h, faster than what was observed in laboratory trials. These findings support the pursuit of large-scale field trials to further evaluate the Sh.463_56.10R insecticide, a member of a promising new class of species-specific RNAi insecticides that could help combat insecticide resistance and support effective mosquito control programs worldwide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges and Future Trends of RNA Interference in Insects)
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