Arbovirus-derived piRNAs exhibit a ping-pong signature in mosquito cells

PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e30861. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030861. Epub 2012 Jan 24.


The siRNA pathway is an essential antiviral mechanism in insects. Whether other RNA interference pathways are involved in antiviral defense remains unclear. Here, we report in cells derived from the two main vectors for arboviruses, Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti, the production of viral small RNAs that exhibit the hallmarks of ping-pong derived piwi-associated RNAs (piRNAs) after infection with positive or negative sense RNA viruses. Furthermore, these cells produce endogenous piRNAs that mapped to transposable elements. Our results show that these mosquito cells can initiate de novo piRNA production and recapitulate the ping-pong dependent piRNA pathway upon viral infection. The mechanism of viral-piRNA production is discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aedes / cytology
  • Aedes / genetics
  • Aedes / virology
  • Animals
  • Arbovirus Infections / genetics
  • Arbovirus Infections / virology
  • Arboviruses / genetics*
  • Arboviruses / physiology*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Culicidae / genetics*
  • Culicidae / virology*
  • DNA Transposable Elements / physiology
  • Gene Amplification* / genetics
  • Gene Amplification* / physiology
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • Virus Integration / genetics*


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • RNA, Small Interfering