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RNAi-mediated knockdown of the voltage gated sodium ion channel TcNav causes mortality in Tribolium castaneum

Lookup NU author(s): Baida ALSHUKRI, Dr Munawar Ahmad, Professor Angharad MR GatehouseORCiD, Dr Martin EdwardsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


The voltage-gated sodium ion channel (VGSC) belongs to the largest superfamily of ion channels. Since VGSCs play key roles in physiological processes they are major targets for effective insecticides. RNA interference (RNAi) is widely used to analyse gene function, but recently, it has shown potential to contribute to novel strategies for selectively controlling agricultural insect pests. The current study evaluates the delivery of dsRNA targeted to the sodium ion channel paralytic A (TcNav) gene in Tribolium castaneum as a viable means of controlling this insect pest. Delivery of TcNav dsRNA caused severe developmental arrest with larval mortalities up to 73% post injection of dsRNA. Injected larvae showed significant (p < 0.05) knockdown in gene expression between 30–60%. Expression was also significantly (p < 0.05) reduced in pupae following injection causing 30% and 42% knockdown for early and late pupal stages, respectively. Oral delivery of dsRNA caused dose-dependant mortalities of between 19 and 51.34%; this was accompanied by significant (p < 0.05) knockdown in gene expression following 3 days of continuous feeding. The majority of larvae injected with, or fed, dsRNA died during the final larval stage prior to pupation. This work provides evidence of a viable RNAi-based strategy for insect control.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Abd-El-Halim HM, Alshukri BMH, Ahmad MS, Nakasu EYT, Awwad MH, Salama EM, Gatehouse AMR, Edwards MG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Scientific Reports

Year: 2016

Volume: 6

Pages: 1-9

Online publication date: 14/07/2016

Acceptance date: 24/05/2016

Date deposited: 03/08/2016

ISSN (electronic): 2045-2322

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/srep29301


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