Oct 18, 2019

Control of RNA viruses in mosquito cells through the acquisition of vDNA and endogenous viral elements

ELife
Michel TassettoRaul Andino

Abstract

Aedes aegypti transmit pathogenic arboviruses while the mosquito itself tolerates the infection. We examine a piRNA-based immunity that relies on the acquisition of viral derived cDNA (vDNA) and how this pathway discriminates between self and non-self. The piRNAs derived from these vDNAs are essential for virus control and Piwi4 has a central role in the pathway. Piwi4 binds preferentially to virus-derived piRNAs but not to transposon-targeting piRNAs. Analysis of episomal vDNA from infected cells reveals that vDNA molecules are acquired through a discriminatory process of reverse-transcription and recombination directed by endogenous retrotransposons. Using a high-resolution Ae. aegypti genomic sequence, we found that vDNAs integrated in the host genome as endogenous viral elements (EVEs), produce antisense piRNAs that are preferentially loaded onto Piwi4. Importantly, EVE-derived piRNAs are specifically loaded onto Piwi4 to inhibit virus replication. Thus, Ae. aegypti employs a sophisticated antiviral mechanism that promotes viral persistence and generates long-lasting adaptive immunity.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Biochemical Pathway
Virus
Genome
Virus Replication
Genome Assembly Sequence
Recombination, Genetic
Retrotransposons
Binding Protein
Adaptive Immunity
Piwi-Interacting RNA

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