With the advent of new large-scale sequencing technologies for the detection of RNAs expressed in several organisms under different culture conditions, a handful of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs, greater than 200 nucleotides) have been discovered. However, only approximately 40 lncRNAs in humans have had their molecular mechanisms of action identified and characterized in detail, usually linked to a function of gene transcription regulation. In 2011, our group published the first evidence demonstrating the presence of lncRNAs expressed in different processes and physiological responses in Schistosoma mansoni, the parasite that causes schistosomiasis in Brazil. This disease affects millions of people worldwide and around 19 thousand people in Brazil were affected only in 2017. Following that work, three other works were published by our group and two other groups, corroborating with the exponential interest in the description and characterization of these molecules. In view of the strong interest in the characterization of lncRNAs and their roles in the control of gene expression observed in eukaryotes, and taking in consideration the need for the development of new approaches in order to eliminate S. mansoni, the present work aims at identifying and functionally characterizing lncRNAs involved in biological processes essential for parasite development as well as those involved in the response to drug treatment. The application of new technologies to detect the interaction between lncRNAs, proteins and their possible binding sites in genomic DNA will allow us to understand the regulatory role of lncRNAs, opening doors for the eventual use of these lncRNAs as therapeutic targets.
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