In many eukaryotes, the introduction of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) into cells triggers the degradation of mRNAs through a post-transcriptional gene-silencing mechanism called RNA interference or RNAi. In the present study, we found that endogenous long-dsRNA was substantially more effective at producing interference than endogenous, or exogenous, short-dsRNA expression in Giardia lamblia. The effects of this interference were not evident in the highly expressed protein tubulin or the stage-specific cyst wall protein 2. However, long-dsRNA caused potent and specific interference in the medium subunits of adaptins, the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, and the exogenous green fluorescence protein. Our results suggest that the ability of dsRNA antisense to inhibit the expression of these specific types of proteins is indicative of a gene-specific mechanism.

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