Contribution of the Argonaute-1 Isoforms to Invertebrate Antiviral Defense

Tianzhi Huang, Xiaobo Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Argonaute (Ago) protein, the central component of the RNA interference (RNAi) pathway, plays important roles in host innate antiviral immunity. Most organisms harbor a large number of different Ago proteins and isoforms; however, the roles of Ago isoforms in immune defense against pathogens remain unclear. In the present study, three Argonaute-1 (Ago1) isoforms, termed Ago1A, Ago1B, and Ago1C, were found in Marsupenaeus japonicus shrimp. Quantitative real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) revealed that isoforms Ago1A and Ago1B containing an insertion sequence in the PIWI domain, were significantly up-regulated in lymphoid organ and hemolymph, and also upon white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) challenge, indicating the involvement of Ago1A and Ago1B in antiviral immunity. The results showed that silencing of Ago1A with a sequence-specific siRNA led to a significant increase of WSSV loads. It was revealed that knockdown of Ago1B mRNA by 37-70% resulted in higher virus loads in shrimp. However, upon silencing Ago1B by more than 85%, a two-fold increase in Ago1A mRNA was observed but viral load was the same as untreated controls challenged with WSSV, suggesting that the simultaneous up-regulation of Ago1A might compensate for the loss of Ago1B. These data indicated that Ago1A played more important roles in the antiviral immune response than Ago1B. The simultaneous inhibition of Ago1A and Ago1B resulted in a greater increase in viral loads than Ago1A or Ago1B alone, indicating that Ago1A and Ago1B isoforms were involved in shrimp antiviral immunity. It was revealed that Ago1C had no effect on virus infection. Therefore, the current study presented the first report on the contribution of Ago isoforms in the invertebrate defense against virus infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere50581
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 29 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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