Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Protamine-lipid-dsRNA nanoparticles improve RNAi efficiency in the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda.

Abstract

Developing safe and effective double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) delivery systems remains a major challenge for gene silencing, especially in lepidopteran insects. This study evaluated the protamine sulfate (PS)/lipid/dsRNA nanoparticle (NP) delivery system for RNA interference (RNAi) in cells and larvae of the fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, a major worldwide pest. A highly efficient gene delivery formulation was prepared using a cationic biopolymer, PS, and a cationic lipid, Cellfectin (CF), complexed with dsRNA. The NPs were prepared by a two-step self-assembly method. The formation of NPs was revealed by dynamic light scattering and transmission electron microscopy. The formation of CF/dsRNA/PS NPs was spherical in shape and size, ranging from 20 to 100 nm with a positive charge (+23.3 mV). Interestingly, prepared CF/dsRNA/PS NPs could protect dsRNA (95%) from nuclease degradation and thus significantly improve the stability of dsRNA. Formulations prepared by combining EGFP DNA with CF/PS increased transfection efficiency in Sf9 cells compared to PS/EGFP and CF/EGFP NPs. Also, the PS/CF/dsRNA NPs enhanced the endosomal escape for the intracellular delivery of dsRNA. The gene knockdown efficiency was assessed in Sf9 Luciferase (Luc) stable cells after a 72 h incubation with CF/dsRNA/PS, PS/dsRNA, CF/dsRNA, or naked dsRNA. Knockdown of the Luc gene was detected in CF/dsRNA/PS (76%) and PS/dsRNA (42.4%) not CF/dsRNA (19.5%) and naked dsRNA (10.3%) in Sf9 Luc cells. Moreover, CF/dsIAP/PS (25 μg of dsRNA targeting the inhibitor of apoptosis, IAP, gene of FAW) NPs showed knockdown of the IAP gene (39.5%) and mortality (55%) in FAW larvae. These results highlight the potential application of PS/lipid/dsRNA NPs for RNA-mediated control of insect pests.