Small RNAs in parasitic nematodes - forms and functions

Britton, C. , Laing, R. and Devaney, E. (2020) Small RNAs in parasitic nematodes - forms and functions. Parasitology, 147(8), pp. 855-864. (doi: 10.1017/S0031182019001689) (PMID:31843030) (PMCID:PMC7284814)

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Small RNAs are important regulators of gene expression. They were first identified in Caenorhabditis elegans, but it is now apparent that the main small RNA silencing pathways are functionally conserved across diverse organisms. Availability of genome data for an increasing number of parasitic nematodes has enabled bioinformatic identification of small RNA sequences. Expression of these in different lifecycle stages is revealed by small RNA sequencing and microarray analysis. In this review we describe what is known of the three main small RNA classes in parasitic nematodes – microRNAs (miRNAs), Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) – and their proposed functions. miRNAs regulate development in C. elegans and the temporal expression of parasitic nematode miRNAs suggest modulation of target gene levels as parasites develop within the host. miRNAs are also present in extracellular vesicles released by nematodes in vitro, and in plasma from infected hosts, suggesting potential regulation of host gene expression. Roles of piRNAs and siRNAs in suppressing target genes, including transposable elements, are also reviewed. Recent successes in RNAi-mediated gene silencing, and application of small RNA inhibitors and mimics will continue to advance understanding of small RNA functions within the parasite and at the host–parasite interface.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research was also funded by the Wellcome Trust (086823/Z/08/Z).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Devaney, Professor Eileen and Laing, Dr Roz and Britton, Professor Collette
Authors: Britton, C., Laing, R., and Devaney, E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Parasitology
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN (Online):1469-8161
Published Online:17 December 2019
First Published:First published in Parasitology 147(8): 855-864
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
165089microRNAs and drug resistance in parasitic nematodesEileen DevaneyWellcome Trust (WELLCOTR)094751/Z/10/ZInstitute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
165640Genetic control of parasitic nematode development by microRNAsCollette BrittonBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/J500732/1Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
190824The BUG consortium Building Upon the Genome: using H. contortus genomic resources to develop novel interventions to control endemic GI parasitesEileen DevaneyBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)BB/M003949/1Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine