Functional genomics tools for Haemonchus contortus and lessons from other helminths

Britton, C. , Roberts, B. and Marks, N.D. (2016) Functional genomics tools for Haemonchus contortus and lessons from other helminths. Advances in Parasitology, 93, pp. 599-623. (doi: 10.1016/bs.apar.2016.02.017) (PMID:27238014)

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The availability of genome and transcriptome data for parasitic nematodes, including Haemonchus contortus, has highlighted the need to develop functional genomics tools. Comparative genomic analysis, particularly using data from the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, can help predict gene function. Reliable approaches to study function directly in parasitic nematodes are currently lacking. However, gene knockdown by RNA interference (RNAi) is being successfully used in schistosome and planarian species to define gene functions. Lessons from these systems may be applied to improve RNAi in H. contortus. Previous studies in H. contortus and related nematodes demonstrated reliable RNAi-mediated silencing of some genes, but not others. Current data suggest that susceptibility to RNAi in these nematodes is limited to genes expressed in sites accessible to the environment, such as the gut, amphids and excretory cell. Therefore, RNAi is functional in H. contortus, but improvements are needed to develop this system as a functional genomics platform. Here, we summarize RNAi studies on H. contortus and discuss the optimization of RNA delivery and improvements to culture methods to enhance larval development, protein turnover and the induction of phenotypic effects in vitro. The transgenic delivery of RNA or dominant-negative gene constructs and the recently developed CRISPR/Cas genome-editing technique are considered as potential alternative approaches for gene knockout. This is a key time to devote greater effort in progressing from genome to function, to improve our understanding of the biology of Haemonchus and identify novel targets for parasite control.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Britton, Professor Collette
Authors: Britton, C., Roberts, B., and Marks, N.D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Advances in Parasitology
Journal Abbr.:Adv Parasitol
Published Online:01 April 2016

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