Schistosomes infect around 280 million people worldwide. The worms survive in the veins of the final host, where thioredoxin glutathione reductase (TGR) activity helps the parasites to survive in the aerobic environment. In the present study, we synthesized 4 small interfering RNAs (siRNA S1, S2, S3, and S4) targeting the Schistosoma japonicum (Sj) TGR gene and used them to knockdown the TGR gene. The knockdown effects of the siRNAs on SjTGR, and the thioredoxin reductase (TrxR) activity of SjTGR, were evaluated in vitro. The results of transfection with the siRNAs via the soaking method in vitro were confirmed by flow cytometry. S2 siRNA at a final concentration of 200 nM partially inhibited the expression of SjTGR at both the transcript and protein levels in vitro. TrxR-activity was lower in worms in the S2 siRNA-treated group compared with the control groups. Further analysis revealed that purified recombinant SjTGR could remove oxygen free radicals but not H2O2 directly, which may explain the incomplete effects of RNA interference on SjTGR. The results of this study indicate that SjTGR may play an important role in the clearance of oxygen free radicals and protection of S. japonicum parasites against oxidative damage.

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