Table of Contents
ISRN Parasitology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 247036, 10 pages
Review Article

Applications of RNA Interference in Schistosomiasis: Gene Function Identification and Development of New Therapies

1Department of Biology, Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Languages of Ribeirao Preto, University of Sao Paulo (USP), 14040 901 Ribeirao Preto, SP, Brazil
2Department of Animal Biology, Institute of Biology, University of Campinas (UNICAMP), 13083-862 Campinas, SP, Brazil
3Department of Medical Genetics, School of Medical Sciences, University of Campinas (UNICAMP), 13083-887 Campinas, SP, Brazil

Received 17 October 2012; Accepted 1 November 2012

Academic Editors: C. Araujo, G. Lochnit, and G. Mkoji

Copyright © 2013 Tiago Campos Pereira et al. 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.


The study of Schistosoma species has undergone a dramatic change in recent years mainly due to transcriptome, proteome, and genome analyses. In order to better understand the biology of the parasite and to develop new and more efficient/specific drugs, scientists have now the task to translate genetic information into functional data. The present paper aims to review the use of RNA interference (RNAi), a versatile technique used in gene silencing, for the dissection of the cellular/molecular biology of Schistosoma spp. In addition, we will review information on the recent development of a new generation of RNA-based drugs. Examples of specific experimental approaches will be presented and discussed, such as identification of gene function, development of therapies by targeting eggs, miracidia (as a strategy for environmental use), sporocysts (for infestation control in the intermediate host), and schistosomula/adult worms (as a treatment strategy). Furthermore, some of the main advantages, drawbacks, and future directions of these new applications and techniques will also be discussed.