Mississippi State University
Gout, Jean Francois
Date of Degree
Graduate Thesis - Open Access
Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences
Endogenous viral elements (EVEs) have been recently investigated as a source of transgenerational immune memory. These “viral fossils” are abundant in Aedes mosquitoes and partner with the host’s primary antiviral defense system, the RNA interference (RNAi) pathways. This partnership appears unique to mosquitoes, which encode an expansion of the Piwi endoribonucleases. To interrogate EVE-Piwi partnerships and their role in antiviral defense, I performed a comparative small RNA analysis of two naturally occurring EVE-virus pairs – one in the mosquito Aedes albopictus, and one in the midge Chaoborus americanus. Both express an EVE related to the nucleoprotein of their respective bunyavirus. My results show that Piwis generally do not have antiviral functions in Chaoborus, however EVEs are associated with Piwi recruitment to matched viral RNAs. These findings raise the possibility that RNAi-mediated EVE-virus interactions may be more common among insects than currently recognized.
Christian, Rebecca, "Host-acquired virus genes support an ancient antiviral role of the piRNA pathway in dipterans" (2023). Theses and Dissertations. 5856.