Vector-based RNA interference of cathepsin B1 in Schistosoma mansoni Academic Article uri icon


  • In helminth parasites, proteolytic enzymes have been implicated in facilitating host invasion, moulting, feeding, and evasion of the host immune response. These key functions render them potential targets for anti-parasite chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Schistosomes feed on host blood and the digested haemoglobin is their major source of amino acids. Haemoglobin digestion is essential for parasite development, growth, and reproduction. We recently reported the use of pseudotyped Moloney murine leukaemia virus to accomplish transformation of Schistosoma mansoni. Here, we report the design of a viral vector expressing a dsRNA hairpin to silence expression of the schistosome cathepsin B1 (SmCB1) gene. We observed 80% reduction in transcript level 72 h after virus exposure and complete silencing of enzyme activity in transduced worms. This is the first report using this technology in any helminth parasite. It will facilitate the evaluation of potential drug targets and biochemical pathways for novel interventions in schistosomes.


  • Tchoubrieva, Elissaveta B
  • Ong, Poh C
  • Pike, Robert N
  • Brindley, Paul J
  • Kalinna, Bernd H

publication date

  • November 2010