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Parasitology. 2012 Apr;139(5):560-73. doi: 10.1017/S0031182011001788. Epub 2011 Nov 11.

RNA interference in Caenorhabditis elegans: uptake, mechanism, and regulation.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, 16 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


RNA interference (RNAi) is a powerful research tool that has enabled molecular insights into gene activity, pathway analysis, partial loss-of-function phenotypes, and large-scale genomic discovery of gene function. While RNAi works extremely well in the non-parasitic nematode C. elegans, it is also especially useful in organisms that lack facile genetic analysis. Extensive genetic analysis of the mechanisms, delivery and regulation of RNAi in C. elegans has provided mechanistic and phenomenological insights into why RNAi is so effective in this species. These insights are useful for the testing and development of RNAi in other nematodes, including parasitic nematodes where more effective RNAi would be extremely useful. Here, we review the current advances in C. elegans for RNA delivery methods, regulation of cell autonomous and systemic RNAi phenomena, and implications of enhanced RNAi mutants. These discussions, with a focus on mechanism and cross-species application, provide new perspectives for optimizing RNAi in other species.

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