Marine Biotechnology

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 1–9 | Cite as

Application of Nucleic-acid-based Therapeutics for Viral Infections in Shrimp Aquaculture

  • Mudagandur S. Shekhar
  • Yuanan LuEmail author


Viral infections are one of the major reasons for the huge economic losses in shrimp farming. The control of viral diseases in shrimp remains a serious challenge for the shrimp aquacultural industry, with major pathogens, such as the white spot syndrome virus, yellow head virus, Taura syndrome virus, hepatopancreatic parvovirus, and baculoviruses, being geographically widespread. In the absence of a true adaptive immune response system in invertebrates such as shrimp, one of the alternative and more specific approaches to counteract viral infections in shrimp could be the use of molecular-based gene transfer technologies, such as RNA interference (RNAi). The RNAi mechanism is initiated by double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs), which are fragmented into shorter 21–23 nucleotides of short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) by a type III endonuclease, the Dicer. RNAi, which is mediated by small interfering RNA (siRNA), results in the sequence-specific post-transcriptional silencing of a target gene. This gene-silencing mechanism is universally conserved and is a well-known phenomenon that exists in many eukaryotes, including invertebrates. It has been recently extended to shrimp as an important potential tool in viral disease prevention. RNAi technology shows considerable promise as a therapeutic approach and efficient strategy for shrimp virus control in the aquaculture industry. Further progress in understanding the mechanism of siRNAs at the molecular level, as well as strategies to achieve their tightly regulated, stable, prolonged and tissue-specific expression in an effective manner, will definitely revolutionize therapeutic approaches for counteracting viral diseases of shrimp. In the present review, the recent development and potential use of RNAi in combating shrimp viral infections is discussed.


Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) Small interfering RNA (siRNA) Shrimp aquaculture Viral infection 



The overseas associateship provided to M.S. Shekhar by the Department of Biotechnology, India, during the study period is greatly acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture, R.A. PuramChennaiIndia

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