Characterization of a broad-based mosquito yeast interfering RNA larvicide with a conserved target site in mosquito semaphorin-1a genes


Abstract Background RNA interference (RNAi), which has facilitated functional characterization of mosquito neural development genes such as the axon guidance regulator semaphorin-1a (sema1a), could one day be applied as a new means of vector control. Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker’s yeast) may represent an effective interfering RNA expression system that could be used directly for delivery of RNA pesticides to mosquito larvae. Here we describe characterization of a yeast larvicide developed through bioengineering of S. cerevisiae to express a short hairpin RNA (shRNA) targeting a conserved site in mosquito sema1a genes. Results Experiments conducted on Aedes aegypti larvae demonstrated that the yeast larvicide effectively silences sema1a expression, generates severe neural defects, and induces high levels of larval mortality in laboratory, simulated-field, and semi-field experiments. The larvicide was also found to induce high levels of Aedes albopictus, Anopheles gambiae and Culex quinquefasciatus mortality. Conclusions The results of these studies indicate that use of yeast interfering RNA larvicides targeting mosquito sema1a genes may represent a new biorational tool for mosquito control.


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Parasites & Vectors. 2019 May 22;12(1):256