Dengue virus interference via CRISPR/Cas13a system in its mosquito vector

Project Investigator: Jiannong Xu

Project Description:  Viral diseases, such as yellow fever, dengue, Zika and West Nile, are transmitted by mosquitoes around the world. There is an urgent need for developing novel strategies for control of mosquito-borne viral diseases. Biological control approach is more sustainable than chemical insecticide control methods. The CRISPR-Cas systems in prokaryotes are able to defend against invading nucleic acids. CRISPR-Cas9 has been adapted to manipulate DNA target in eukaryotic organisms. The Cas13 is an RNA endonuclease. In this project, we will develop a Cas13 mediated DENV interference effector in mosquitoes and test its effectiveness against dengue transmission. We will engineer a construct that expresses Cas13 and dengue specific guide RNA. The Cas13 also can be used for gene silencing. Viruses highjack mosquito machinery for viral replication, we will use the CRISPR-Cas13 system to identify mosquito genes that are involved in viral replication.   

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