Generalised reviews of RNA interference (RNAi) in invertebrates, and for use in aquaculture, have taken for granted that RNAi pathways operate in molluscs, but inspection of such reviews show little specific evidence of such activity in molluscs. This review was to understand what specific research had been conducted on RNAi in molluscs, particularly with regard to aquaculture. There were questions of whether RNAi in molluscs functions similarly to the paradigm established for most eukaryotes or, alternatively, was it more similar to the ecdozoa and how RNAi may relate to disease control in aquaculture? RNAi in molluscs appears to have been only investigated in about 14 species, mostly as a gene silencing phenomenon. We can infer that microRNAs including let-7
are functional in molluscs. The genes/proteins involved in the actual RNAi pathways have only been rudimentarily investigated, so how homologous the genes and proteins are to other metazoa is unknown. Furthermore, how many different genes for each activity in the RNAi pathway are also unknown? The cephalopods have been greatly overlooked with only a single RNAi gene-silencing study found. The long dsRNA-linked interferon pathways seem to be present in molluscs, unlike some other invertebrates and could be used to reduce disease states in aquaculture. In particular, interferon regulatory factor genes have been found in molluscs of aquacultural importance such as Crassostrea, Mytilus, Pinctada
Two possible aquaculture scenarios are discussed, zoonotic norovirus and ostreid herpesvirus 1 to illustrate the possibilities. The entire field of RNAi in molluscs looks ripe for scientific exploitation and practical application.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited