siRNA injection induces sequence-independent protection in Penaeus monodon against white spot syndrome virus

M. Westenberg, B. Heinhuis, D. Zuidema, J.M. Vlak

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109 Citations (Scopus)


White spot syndrome virus (WSSV) is a major disease in crustaceans, particularly shrimp, due to the current intensity of aquaculture practices. Novel strategies including vaccination to control this virus would be highly desirable. However, invertebrates lack a true adaptive immune response system and seem to rely on various innate immune responses. An alternative and more specific approach to counteract WSSV infections in shrimp could be by the exploitation of RNA interference. As long dsRNA molecules induce a general, sequence-independent anti-viral immunity in shrimp [Robalino, J., Browdy, C.L., Prior, S., Metz, A., Parnell, P., Gross, P., Warr, G., 2004. J. Virol. 78, 10442-10448], it was investigated whether shorter 21 nt siRNAs with homology to the WSSV vp15 and vp28 genes would give a sequence-specific interference response in the shrimp Penaeus monodon. Vp28 siRNAs as well as nonspecific control gfp siRNAs were able to specifically and efficiently silence their homologous genes in a heterologous baculovirus insect cell expression system. However, in shrimps no such a specific effect was observed. Shrimp injected with vp15 or vp28 siRNAs before WSSV challenge gave a significantly lower mortality rate, but not significantly different when shrimps were injected with gfp siRNA. Thus, large dsRNA molecules as well as siRNAs induce a sequence-independent anti-viral immunity when injected in shrimp
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-139
Number of pages7
JournalVirus Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • double-stranded-rna
  • major structural proteins
  • toll-like receptor-3
  • genome sequence
  • experimental-infection
  • antiviral immunity
  • caenorhabditis-elegans
  • genetic interference
  • functional genomics
  • anopheles-gambiae

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