A species-specific lncRNA modulates the reproductive ability of the asian tiger mosquito

Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2022 Aug 24:10:885767. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2022.885767. eCollection 2022.


Long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) research has emerged as an independent scientific field in recent years. Despite their association with critical cellular and metabolic processes in plenty of organisms, lncRNAs are still a largely unexplored area in mosquito research. We propose that they could serve as exceptional tools for pest management due to unique features they possess. These include low inter-species sequence conservation and high tissue specificity. In the present study, we investigated the role of ovary-specific lncRNAs in the reproductive ability of the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus. Through the analysis of transcriptomic data, we identified several lncRNAs that were differentially expressed upon blood feeding; we called these genes Norma (NOn-coding RNA in Mosquito ovAries). We observed that silencing some of these Normas resulted in significant impact on mosquito fecundity and fertility. We further focused on Norma3 whose silencing resulted in 43% oviposition reduction, in smaller ovaries and 53% hatching reduction of the laid eggs, compared to anti-GFP controls. Moreover, a significant downregulation of 2 mucins withing a neighboring (∼100 Kb) mucin cluster was observed in smaller anti-Norma3 ovaries, indicating a potential mechanism of in-cis regulation between Norma3 and the mucins. Our work constitutes the first experimental proof-of-evidence connecting lncRNAs with mosquito reproduction and opens a novel path for pest management.

Keywords: Aedes albopictus; RNAi pest control; lncRNAs (long non-coding RNAs); species-specific control; tiger mosquito.