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Scientific reports

Cre/lox-Recombinase-Mediated Cassette Exchange for Reversible Site-Specific Genomic Targeting of the Disease Vector, Aedes aegypti.


PMID 28266580

Abstract

Site-specific genome modification (SSM) is an important tool for mosquito functional genomics and comparative gene expression studies, which contribute to a better understanding of mosquito biology and are thus a key to finding new strategies to eliminate vector-borne diseases. Moreover, it allows for the creation of advanced transgenic strains for vector control programs. SSM circumvents the drawbacks of transposon-mediated transgenesis, where random transgene integration into the host genome results in insertional mutagenesis and variable position effects. We applied the Cre/lox recombinase-mediated cassette exchange (RMCE) system to Aedes aegypti, the vector of dengue, chikungunya, and Zika viruses. In this context we created four target site lines for RMCE and evaluated their fitness costs. Cre-RMCE is functional in a two-step mechanism and with good efficiency in Ae. aegypti. The advantages of Cre-RMCE over existing site-specific modification systems for Ae. aegypti, phiC31-RMCE and CRISPR, originate in the preservation of the recombination sites, which 1) allows successive modifications and rapid expansion or adaptation of existing systems by repeated targeting of the same site; and 2) provides reversibility, thus allowing the excision of undesired sequences. Thereby, Cre-RMCE complements existing genomic modification tools, adding flexibility and versatility to vector genome targeting.