Species specific RNA A-to-I editing of mosquito RDL modulates GABA potency and influences agonistic, potentiating and antagonistic actions of ivermectin

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The insect GABA receptor, RDL, is the target of several classes of pesticides. The peptide sequences of RDL are generally highly conserved between diverse insects. However, RNA A-to-I editing can effectively alter amino acid residues of RDL in a species specific manner, which can affect the potency of GABA and possibly insecticides. We report here that RNA A-to-I editing alters the gene products of Rdl in three mosquito disease vectors, recoding five amino acid residues in RDL of Aedes aegypti and six residues in RDLs of Anopheles gambiae and Culex pipiens, which is the highest extent of editing in RDL observed to date. Analysis of An. gambiae Rdl cDNA sequences identified 24 editing isoforms demonstrating a considerable increase in gene product diversity. RNA editing influenced the potency of the neurotransmitter, GABA, on An. gambiae RDL editing isoforms expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes, as demonstrated by EC50s ranging from 5 ± 1 to 246 ± 41 μM. Fipronil showed similar potency on different editing isoforms, with IC50s ranging from 0.18 ± 0.08 to 0.43 ± 0.09 μM. In contrast, editing of An. gambiae RDL affected the activating, potentiating and inhibiting actions of ivermectin. For example, ivermectin potentiated currents induced by GABA at the EC20 concentration in the unedited isoform but not in the fully edited variant. Editing of a residue in the first transmembrane domain or the cys-loop influenced this potentiation, highlighting residues involved in the allosteric mechanisms of cys-loop ligand-gated ion channels. Understanding the interactions of ivermectin with molecular targets may have relevance to mosquito control in areas where people are administered with ivermectin to treat parasitic diseases.


Jennina Taylor-Wells
Anish Senan
Isabel Bermudez
Andrew K. Jones


Faculty of Health and Life Sciences


electrophysiology, fipronil, GABA receptor, ivermectin, mosquito, RNA editing

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Taylor-Wells, J., Senan, A., Bermudez, I. and Jones, A. () 'Species specific RNA A-to-I editing of mosquito RDL modulates GABA potency and influences agonistic, potentiating and antagonistic actions of ivermectin', Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 93, pp.1-11. DOI: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2017.12.001.