Caister Academic Press

RNA Interference: A Pathway to Arbovirus Control

Kathryn A. Hanley and Christy C. Andrade
from: Arboviruses: Molecular Biology, Evolution and Control (Edited by: Nikos Vasilakis and Duane J. Gubler). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2016) Pages: 303-314.


Arboviruses are responsible for a high burden of established and emerging disease worldwide, but specific antiviral therapies are lacking for the vast majority of these pathogens. RNA interference (RNAi) plays a central role in controlling arbovirus infections in arthropod vectors, and although the role of RNAi in vertebrate immunity remains controversial, it is clear that exogenous small RNAs can be used to stimulate antiviral effectors in vertebrate hosts. Thus a robust effort has been made to design and test RNAi-based strategies for control of arbovirus infections and prevention of arbovirus transmission. This chapter reviews these efforts, which group into three general categories: (i) use of exogenous small RNAs to prevent or treat arbovirus infections in humans and domestic animals, (ii) generation of genetically-modified arthropod vectors that express antiviral small RNAs and thereby block transmission, and (iii) creation of recombinant arboviruses that possess target sites for host microRNAs (miRNAs) as live-attenuated vaccines. While these approaches all hold promise, there remain barriers to the safe and effective delivery of small RNAs and critical knowledge gaps regarding arbovirus-RNAi interactions that must be overcome before any of these approaches come to fruition read more ...
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