RNA interference in the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata: Identification of key contributors

June Sun Yoon, Jayendra Nath Shukla, Zhong Jun Gong, Kanakachari Mogilicherla, Subba Reddy Palli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


RNA interference (RNAi) is a useful reverse genetics tool for investigation of gene function as well as for practical applications in many fields including medicine and agriculture. RNAi works very well in coleopteran insects including the Colorado potato beetle (CPB), Leptinotarsa decemlineata. We used a cell line (Lepd-SL1) developed from CPB to identify genes that play key roles in RNAi. We screened 50 genes with potential functions in RNAi by exposing Lepd-SL1 cells to dsRNA targeting one of the potential RNAi pathway genes followed by incubation with dsRNA targeting inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP, silencing of this gene induces apoptosis). Out of 50 genes tested, silencing of 29 genes showed an effect on RNAi. Silencing of five genes (Argonaute-1, Argonaute-2a, Argonaute-2b, Aubergine and V-ATPase 16 kDa subunit 1, Vha16) blocked RNAi suggesting that these genes are essential for functioning of RNAi in Lepd-SL1 cells. Interestingly, Argonaute-1 and Aubergine which are known to function in miRNA and piRNA pathways respectively are also critical to siRNA pathway. Using 32P labeled dsRNA, we showed that these miRNA and piRNA Argonautes but not Argonaute-2 are required for processing of dsRNA to siRNA. Transfection of pIZT/V5 constructs containing these five genes into Sf9 cells (the cells where RNAi does not work well) showed that expression of all genes tested, except the Argonaute-2a, improved RNAi in these cells. Results from Vha16 gene silencing and bafilomycin-A1 treatment suggest that endosomal escape plays an important role in dsRNA-mediated RNAi in Lepd-SL1 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-88
Number of pages11
JournalInsect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd


  • Argonaute
  • Aubergine
  • Lepd-SL1
  • RNAi
  • dsRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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