Abstract Small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated RNA interference (RNAi) pathways are critical for the detection and inhibition of RNA virus replication in insects. Recent work has also implicated RNAi pathways in the establishment of persistent virus infections and in the control of DNA virus replication. Accumulating evidence suggests that diverse double-stranded RNAs produced by RNA and DNA viruses can trigger RNAi responses yet many viruses have evolved mechanisms to inhibit RNAi defenses. Therefore, an evolutionary arms race exists between host RNAi pathways and invading viral pathogens. Here we review recent advances in our knowledge of how insect RNAi pathways are elicited upon infection, the strategies used by viruses to counter these defenses, and discuss recent evidence implicating Piwi-interacting RNAs in antiviral defense.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science