Poster
76

A NOVEL TARGET FOR THE TREATMENT OF NEMATODE INFECTIONS

Discussion

There are more than one million species of nematodes and most of them are free-living but still there are tens and thousands of parasitic nematodes. These parasitic nematodes cause a variety of infections in both humans and animals and are also responsible for huge economic losses caused by yearly crop damage. Repeated usage of anthelmintics against these parasitic nematodes has resulted in the development of resistance among nematodes. So there is an urgent requirement for the development of new anthelmintics that target novel sites. An ideal target should be present only in the nematode and not in the host vertebrates and plants. And such a promising target could be Spliced leader (SL) trans-splicing.SL trans-splicing is a process that occurs during mRNA maturation in certain groups of invertebrates like nematodes and involves the addition of a short (20-40nt) RNA, derived from a non-polyadenylated RNA called the spliced leader RNA, to the 5’ end of a subset of pre-mRNAs. SL trans-splicing has been identified in all nematode species studied to date, suggesting that it is a phylum-wide process, but it is absent in vertebrates and plants, the major hosts for parasitic nematodes. Hence, SL trans-splicing is a potential target for novel anthelmintics. Using a GFP based in vivo assay developed in the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans, our aim is to identify novel compounds that will specifically inhibit SL trans-splicing in nematodes and to explore the potential to develop those compounds into patentable drugs.

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