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Super-induction of Dicer-2 expression by alien double-stranded RNAs: An evolutionary ancient response to viral infection?

AuthorsLozano Fernández, Jesús ; Gomez-Orte, Eva ; Lee, How-Jing; Bellés, Xavier
Evolution of antiviral response
Evolution of virus sensing
Issue Date1-Jul-2012
CitationDevelopment Genes and Evolution 222(4): 229-235 (2012)
AbstractDicer-2 is a ribonuclease involved in the insect RNAi pathway. On attempting to knockdown Dicer-2 expression in the insect Blattella germanica by RNAi, we found that treatment with Dicer-2 dsRNA upregulated the targeted mRNA. This unexpected result was also observed after treating with a nucleopolyhedrovirus dsRNA. Experiments with this alien dsRNA showed an all-or-none response with a threshold for inducing Dicer-2 upregulation between 0.4 and 0.04 μg in terms of dsRNA concentration and between 50 and 20 bp in terms of dsRNA length. The response seems specific of dsRNA given that equivalent experiments carried out with dsDNA did not affect Dicer-2 expression. In insects, Dicer-2 is postulated to be a sensor of viral infections and a key antiviral defense element. The upregulation of Dicer-2 expression after dsRNA administration fits well with this sensor role, and the occurrence of this mechanism in B. germanica, a phylogenetically basal insect, suggests that sensing alien RNAs might be an ancestral function of Dicer-2 proteins. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00427-012-0404-x
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s00427-012-0404-x
issn: 0949-944X
e-issn: 1432-041X
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