Date: 30 Jun 2011

Using RNA Interference in Schistosoma mansoni

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Schistosomes are parasitic worms that infect over 200 million people and constitute an enormous public health problem worldwide. Molecular tools are being developed for use with these parasites in order to increase our understanding of their unique molecular and cell biology. Among the more promising methodologies is RNA interference (RNAi, or gene silencing), a mechanism by which gene-specific double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) triggers degradation of homologous mRNA transcripts. In this work we describe methods for applying RNAi to suppress gene expression in the intra-mammalian life stages of Schistosoma mansoni. These methods include isolating and culturing the parasites, preparing and delivering dsRNA targeting a specific gene and monitoring the outcome. Given the abundance of schistosome transcriptome and genome sequences now available, RNAi technology has the potential to rapidly expand analysis of the roles and importance of the genes of this globally important parasite.