miRNAs in Insects Infected by Animal and Plant Viruses

Verna Monsanto-Hearne, Karyn N Johnson


Viruses vectored by insects cause severe medical and agricultural burdens. The process of virus infection of insects regulates and is regulated by a complex interplay of biomolecules including the small, non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs). Considered an anomaly upon its discovery only around 25 years ago, miRNAs as a class have challenged the molecular central dogma which essentially typifies RNAs as just intermediaries in the flow of information from DNA to protein. miRNAs are now known to be common modulators or fine-tuners of gene expression. While recent years has seen an increased emphasis on understanding the role of miRNAs in host-virus associations, existing literature on the interaction between insects and their arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) is largely restricted to miRNA abundance profiling. Here we analyse the commonalities and contrasts between miRNA abundance profiles with different host-arbovirus combinations and outline a suggested pipeline and criteria for functional analysis of the contribution of miRNAs to the insect vector-virus interaction. Finally, we discuss the potential use of the model organism, Drosophila melanogaster, in complementing research on the role of miRNAs in insect vector-virus interaction.


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Related Concepts

Virus Diseases
Regulation of Biological Process
RNA, Small Temporal
Insect Vectors
Morphologically Abnormal Structure (Morphologic Abnormality)
Protein kinase modulator
Gene Expression

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