Low mismatch rate between double-stranded RNA and target mRNA does not affect RNA interference efficiency in Colorado potato beetle

He W, Xu W, Fu K, Guo W, Zhang J. 2020. Insects. 11(7):1–9.

RNA interference (RNAi)-based technology has been proven as a novel approach for insect pest control. However, whether insects could evolve resistance to RNAi and the underlying mechanism is largely unknown. The target gene mutations were thought to be one of the potential ways to develop the resistance. Here we predicted the effective siRNA candidates that could be derived from dsRNA against the Colorado potato beetle (CPB) β-Actin gene (dsACT). By site-directed mutagenesis, we synthesized the dsRNAs with the defect in generation of effective siRNAs (and thus were supposed to have comparable low RNAi efficacy). We showed that, with mismatches to the target gene, all the dsRNA variants caused similar levels of silencing of target gene, mortality and larval growth retardation of CPB. Our results suggest that when the mismatch rate of dsACT and target β-Actin mRNA is less than 3%, the RNAi efficiency is not impaired in CPB, which might imply the low possibility of RNAi resistance evolving through the sequence mismatches between dsRNA and the target gene.