RNA interference is a powerful method to inhibit specific gene expression. Recently, silencing target genes by feeding has been successfully carried out in nematodes, insects, and small aquatic organisms. A non-invasive feeding-based RNA interference is reported here for the first time in a mollusk bivalve, the pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas. In this Trojan horse strategy, the unicellular alga Heterocapsa triquetra is the food supply used as a vector to feed oysters with Escherichia coli strain HT115 engineered to express the double-stranded RNA targeting gene. To test the efficacy of the method, the Clock gene, a central gene of the circadian clock, was targeted for knockout. Results demonstrated specific and systemic efficiency of the Trojan horse strategy in reducing Clock mRNA abundance. Consequences of Clock disruption were observed in Clock-related genes (Bmal, Tim1, Per, Cry1, Cry2, Rev.-erb, and Ror) and triploid oysters were more sensitive than diploid to the interference. This non-invasive approach shows an involvement of the circadian clock in oyster bioaccumulation of toxins produced by the harmful alga Alexandrium minutum.
Marine Biotechnology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 3, 2017
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