MicroRNAs: Potentially important regulators for schistosome development and therapeutic targets against schistosomiasis

Key Laboratory of Animal Parasitology of Ministry of Agriculture, Shanghai Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China.
Parasitology (Impact Factor: 2.56). 02/2012; 139(5):669-79. DOI: 10.1017/S0031182011001855
Source: PubMed


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small, endogenous non-coding RNA molecules that regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally by targeting the 3' untranslated region (3' UTR) of messenger RNAs. Since the discovery of the first miRNA in Caenorhabditis elegans, important regulatory roles for miRNAs in many key biological processes including development, cell proliferation, cell differentiation and apoptosis of many organisms have been described. Hundreds of miRNAs have been identified in various multicellular organisms and many are evolutionarily conserved. Schistosomes are multi-cellular eukaryotes with a complex life-cycle that require genes to be expressed and regulated precisely. Recently, miRNAs have been identified in two major schistosome species, Schistosoma japonicum and S. mansoni. These miRNAs are likely to play critical roles in schistosome development and gene regulation. Here, we review recent studies on schistosome miRNAs and discuss the potential roles of miRNAs in schistosome development and gene regulation. We also summarize the current status for targeting miRNAs and the potential of this approach for therapy against schistosomiasis.

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    • "Endogenous-small interfering (Endo-siRNAs), miRNAs, and Piwi-interacting RNA (piRNAs) are three main components of sncRNAs (Kim, 2005). Using protocols similar to the conventional transcriptomic researches, which can be outlined as RNA isolation, library construction, and sequencing (Cheng and Jin, 2012), vast numbers of schistosomal miRNAs and endo-siRNAs have been successfully detected in S. mansoni (Copeland et al., 2009; de Souza Gomes et al., 2011; Simões et al., 2011) and S. japonicum (Xue et al., 2008; Copeland et al., 2009; Hao et al., 2010; Wang et al., 2010b; Cai et al., 2011). What’s more, recently Cai et al. (2012) adopted a totally novel method, i.e., the immunoprecipitation of SjAgo2, a key factor in sncRNAs biogenesis with monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to identify and characterize the associated small RNAs. "
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