Small RNAs and extracellular vesicles in filarial nematodes: from nematode development to diagnostics

Juan F Quintana, Simon A Babayan, Amy H Buck

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review


Parasitic nematodes have evolved sophisticated mechanisms to communicate with their hosts in order to survive and successfully establish an infection. The transfer of RNA within extracellular vesicles (EVs) has recently been described as a mechanism that could contribute to this communication in filarial nematodes. It has been shown that these EVs are loaded with several types of RNAs, including microRNAs, leading to the hypothesis that parasites could actively use these molecules to manipulate host gene expression and to the exciting prospect that these pathways could result in new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. Here we review the literature on the diverse RNAi pathways that operate in nematodes and more specifically our current knowledge of extracellular RNA (exRNA) and EVs derived from filarial nematodes in vitro and within their hosts. We further detail some of the issues and questions related to the capacity of RNA-mediated communication to function in parasite-host interactions and the ability of exRNA to enable us to distinguish and detect different nematode parasites in their hosts. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalParasite Immunology
Early online date17 Oct 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Oct 2016

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