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Future Microbiol. 2011 Jan;6(1):103-17. doi: 10.2217/fmb.10.154.

RNA interference in Entamoeba histolytica: implications for parasite biology and gene silencing.

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Stanford University School of Medicine, S-143 Grant Building, 300 Pasteur Drive, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


Entamoeba histolytica is a major health threat to people in developing countries, where it causes invasive diarrhea and liver abscesses. The study of this important human pathogen has been hindered by a lack of tools for genetic manipulation. Recently, a number of genetic approaches based on variations of the RNAi method have been successfully developed and cloning of endogenous small-interfering RNAs from E. histolytica revealed an abundant population of small RNAs with an unusual 5´-polyphosphate structure. However, little is known about the implications of these findings to amebic biology or the mechanisms of gene silencing in this organism. In this article we review the literature relevant to RNAi in E. histolytica, discuss its implications for advances in gene silencing in this organism and outline potential future directions towards understanding the repertoire of RNAi and its impact on the biology of this deep-branching eukaryotic parasite.

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