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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Use of Sindbis virus-mediated RNA interference to demonstrate a conserved role of Broad-Complex in insect metamorphosis.

The transcription factor Broad-Complex (BR-C) is required for differentiation of adult structures as well as for the programmed death of obsolete larval organs during metamorphosis of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Whether BR-C has a similar role in other holometabolous insects could not be proven without a loss-of-function genetic test, performed in a non-drosophilid species. Here we use a recombinant Sindbis virus as a tool to silence BR-C expression in the silkmoth Bombyx mori. The virus expressing a BR-C antisense RNA fragment reduced endogenous BR-C mRNA levels in infected tissues (adult wing and leg primordia) via RNA interference (RNAi). The RNAi knock-down of BR-C resulted in the failure of animals to complete the larval-pupal transition or in later morphogenetic defects, including differentiation of adult compound eyes, legs, and wings from their larval progenitors. BR-C RNAi also perturbed the programmed cell death of larval silk glands. These developmental defects correspond to loss-of-function phenotypes of BR-C Drosophila mutants in both the morphogenetic and degenerative aspects, suggesting that the critical role of BR-C in metamorphosis is evolutionarily conserved. We also demonstrate that the Sindbis virus is a useful vehicle for silencing of developmental genes in new insect models.[1]


  1. Use of Sindbis virus-mediated RNA interference to demonstrate a conserved role of Broad-Complex in insect metamorphosis. Uhlirova, M., Foy, B.D., Beaty, B.J., Olson, K.E., Riddiford, L.M., Jindra, M. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2003) [Pubmed]
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