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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2008 Feb;157(2):117-26. Epub 2007 Oct 18.

Antisense RNA and RNAi in protozoan parasites: working hard or hardly working?

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Department of Biology, State University of New York at Geneseo, Geneseo, NY, USA.


The complex life cycles of many protozoan parasites require the ability to respond to environmental and developmental cues through regulated gene expression. Traditionally, parasitologists have investigated these mechanisms by identifying and characterizing proteins that are necessary for the regulated expression of the genetic material. Although often successful, it is clear that protein-mediated gene regulation is only part of a complex story in which RNA itself is endowed with regulatory functions. Herein, we review both the known and potential regulatory roles of two types of RNA pathways within protozoan parasites: the RNA interference pathway and natural antisense transcripts. A better understanding of the native role of these pathways will not only enhance our understanding of the biology of these organisms but also aid in the development of more robust tools for reverse genetic analysis in this post-genomic era.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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