RNA Silencing of Dengue Virus Type 2 Replication in Transformed C6/36 Mosquito Cells Transcribing an Inverted-Repeat RNA Derived from the Virus Genome Academic Article uri icon


  • Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) initiates cellular posttranscriptional responses that are collectively called RNA silencing in a number of different organisms, including plants, nematodes, and fruit flies. In plants, RNA silencing has been associated with protection from virus infection. In this study, we demonstrate that dsRNA-mediated interference also can act as a viral defense mechanism in mosquito cells. C6/36 (Aedes albopictus) cells were stably transformed with a plasmid designed to transcribe an inverted-repeat RNA (irRNA) derived from the genome of dengue virus type 2 (DEN-2) capable of forming dsRNA. Clonal cell lines were selected with an antibiotic resistance marker and challenged with DEN-2. The cell lines were classified as either susceptible or resistant to virus replication, based on the percentage of cells expressing DEN-2 envelope (E) antigen 7 days after challenge. Eight out of 18 (44%) cell lines designed to express irRNA were resistant to DEN-2 challenge, with more than 95% of the cells showing no DEN-2 antigen accumulation. One of the DEN-2-resistant cell lines, FB 9.1, was further characterized. DEN-2 genome RNA failed to accumulate in FB 9.1 cells after challenge. Northern blot hybridization detected transcripts containing transgene sequences of both sense and antisense polarity, suggesting that DEN-2-specific dsRNA was present in the cells. In addition, a class of small RNAs 21 to 25 nucleotides in length was detected that specifically hybridized to labeled sense or antisense DEN-2 RNA derived from the target region of the genome. These observations were consistent with RNA silencing as the mechanism of resistance to DEN-2 in transformed mosquito cells.

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Adelman, Z. N., Sanchez-Vargas, I., Travanty, E. A., Carlson, J. O., Beaty, B. J., Blair, C. D., & Olson, K. E.

citation count

  • 121

publication date

  • December 2002