RNA interference restricts Rift Valley fever virus in multiple insect systems

Isabelle Dietrich, Stephanie Jansen, Gamou Fall, Stephan Lorenzen, Martin Rudolf, Katrin Huber, Anna Heitmann, Sabine Schicht, El Hadji Ndiaye, Michael Watson, Ilaria Castelli, Benjamin Brennan, Richard M. Elliott, Mawlouth Diallo, Amadou A. Sall, Anna-Bella Failloux, Esther Schnettler, Alain Kohl, Stefanie C. Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The emerging bunyavirus Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is transmitted to humans and livestock by a large number of mosquito species. RNA interference (RNAi) has been characterized as an important innate immune defense mechanism used by mosquitoes to limit replication of positive-sense RNA flavi- and togaviruses; however, little is known about its role against negative-strand RNA viruses such as RVFV. We show that virus-specific small RNAs are produced in infected mosquito cells, RVFV vector mosquitoes and those derived from the model insect Drosophila melanogaster. We also show that these have antiviral activity, since silencing of RNAi pathway effectors enhances viral replication. Moreover, our data suggest that RVFV does not encode for a suppressor of RNAi. These findings point towards a significant role of RNAi in the control of RVFV in mosquitoes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00090-17
Issue number3
Early online date3 May 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 May 2017


  • antiviral immunity
  • RNA interference
  • mosquito
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Rift Valley fever virus


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