A key element of antiviral immunity is the distinction between the elements of “self” and “not-self”. This distinction can be made through the detection of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), a common sign of viral infection, by cytosolic RNA helicases. Depending on the organism, two major antiviral pathways can be induced by RNA helicases: the interference RNA pathway and the interferon pathway (IFN). In insects, such as Drosophila melanogaster, the RNA interference pathway allows the detection of dsRNAs by the Dicer-2 protein and the production of RNA of small sizes of 21 nucleotides. These small RNAs (RNAi) will be used as guides by the AGO2 protein (Argonaute family of proteins) in order to specifically target the RNAs in order to neutralize them.
The research activities of the “RNA interference and receptors” team are focused on understanding the role of RNA interference in antiviral immunity in insects. We are interested in understanding three stages of antiviral immunity in Drosophila:
Keywords: Drosophila melanogaster, virus, innate immunity, viral RNAs, nucleic acid receptors, small RNAs, RNA interference, selective translation