Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

The microRNA pathway is involved in Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf9) cells antiviral immune defense against Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus infection.

Abstract

The microRNA (miRNA) pathway is an epigenetic mechanism that plays important roles in various biological processes including host-virus interactions by regulating gene expression of the host and/or the virus. Previously, we showed that the cellular microRNAome in Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf9) cells is modulated following Autographa californica multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) infection suggesting that miRNAs may contribute in the cellular antiviral immunity. Here, we investigated the role of core components of the miRNA pathway in Sf9-AcMNPV interaction. Gene expression analyses showed that the expression levels of Dicer-1 (Dcr1), Argonaute-1 (Ago1) and Exportin-5 (Exp5) increased following AcMNPV infection particularly at 16 h post infection (hpi). Ran expression levels, however, decreased in response to virus infection. The expression levels of cellular miRNAs, miR-184 and let-7, also diminished at the post infection times further confirming differential expression of the cellular miRNAs following AcMNPV infection. To determine the role of the miRNA pathway in the interaction, we silenced key genes in the pathway using specific dsRNAs. RNAi of Dcr1, Ago1 and Ran enhanced viral DNA replication and reduced the abundance of miR-184 and let-7 underscoring the importance of the miRNA pathway in antiviral immunity in Sf9 cells. Suppression of the miRNA pathway in mock and infected cells had no effect on Ran expression levels suggesting miRNA-independent downregulation of this gene after virus infection. In conclusion, our results suggest the antiviral role of the miRNA pathway in Sf9 cells against AcMNPV. To modulate this immune response, AcMNPV represses host miRNAs likely through downregulation of Ran to enhance its replication in the host cells.