Genome-wide identification of novel microRNAs and their target genes in the human parasite Schistosoma mansoni

Genomics. 2011 Aug;98(2):96-111. doi: 10.1016/j.ygeno.2011.05.007. Epub 2011 May 26.


Mature microRNAs (miRNAs) are small, non-coding regulatory RNAs which can elicit post-transcriptional repression of mRNA levels of target genes. Here, we report the identification of 67 mature and 42 precursor miRNAs in the Schistosoma mansoni parasite. The evolutionarily conserved S. mansoni miRNAs consisted of 26 precursor miRNAs and 35 mature miRNAs, while we identified 16 precursor miRNAs and 32 mature miRNAs that displayed no conservation. These S. mansoni miRNAs are located on seven autosomal chromosomes and a sex (W) chromosome. miRNA expansion through gene duplication was suggested for at least two miRNA families miR-71 and mir-2. miRNA target finding analysis identified 389 predicted mRNA targets for the identified miRNAs and suggests that the sma-mir-71 may be involved in female sexual maturation. Given the important roles of miRNAs in animals, the identification and characterization of miRNAs in S. mansoni will facilitate novel approaches towards prevention and treatment of Schistosomiasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Female
  • Genes, Helminth
  • Genome, Helminth*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / classification
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Helminth / genetics*
  • Schistosoma mansoni / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Helminth