Neofunctionalization driven by positive selection led to the retention of the loqs2 gene encoding an Aedes specific dsRNA binding protein


Mosquito borne viruses, such as dengue, Zika, yellow fever and Chikungunya, cause millions of infections every year. These viruses are mostly transmitted by two urban-adapted mosquito species, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Although mechanistic understanding remains largely unknown, Aedes mosquitoes may have unique adaptations that lower the impact of viral infection. Recently, we reported the identification of an Aedes specific double-stranded RNA binding protein (dsRBP), named Loqs2, that is involved in the control of infection by dengue and Zika viruses in mosquitoes. Preliminary analyses suggested that the loqs2 gene is a paralog of loquacious (loqs) and r2d2, two co-factors of the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway, a major antiviral mechanism in insects.

BMC Biology