Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) were genetically modified to exhibit impaired vector competence for dengue type 2 viruses (DENV-2). We exploited the natural antiviral RNA interference (RNAi) pathway in the mosquito midgut by constructing an effector gene that expresses an inverted-repeat (IR) RNA derived from the premembrane protein coding region of the DENV-2 RNA genome. The A. aegypti carboxypeptidase A promoter was used to express the IR RNA in midgut epithelial cells after ingestion of a bloodmeal. The promoter and effector gene were inserted into the genome of a white-eye Puerto Rico Rexville D (Higgs' white eye) strain by using the nonautonomous mariner MosI transformation system. A transgenic family, Carb77, expressed IR RNA in the midgut after a bloodmeal. Carb77 mosquitoes ingesting an artificial bloodmeal containing DENV-2 exhibited marked reduction of viral envelope antigen in midguts and salivary glands after infection. DENV-2 titration of individual mosquitoes showed that most Carb77 mosquitoes poorly supported virus replication. Transmission in vitro of virus from the Carb77 line was significantly diminished when compared to control mosquitoes. The presence of DENV-2-derived siRNAs in RNA extracts from midguts of Carb77 and the loss of the resistance phenotype when the RNAi pathway was interrupted proved that DENV-2 resistance was caused by a RNAi response. Engineering of transgenic A. aegypti that show a high level of resistance against DENV-2 provides a powerful tool for developing population replacement strategies to control transmission of dengue viruses.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





4198 - 4203


Aedes, Animals, Animals, Genetically Modified, Dengue Virus, Female, Genes, Insect, Genetic Engineering, Insect Vectors, Male, Phenotype, RNA, RNA Interference, Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid