Schistosome parasites kill 250,000 people every year. Treatment of schistosomiasis relies on the drug praziquantel. Unfortunately, a scarcity of molecular tools has hindered the discovery of new drug targets. Here, we describe a large-scale RNA interference (RNAi) screen in adult Schistosoma mansoni that examined the function of 2216 genes. We identified 261 genes with phenotypes affecting neuromuscular function, tissue integrity, stem cell maintenance, and parasite survival. Leveraging these data, we prioritized compounds with activity against the parasites and uncovered a pair of protein kinases (TAO and STK25) that cooperate to maintain muscle-specific messenger RNA transcription. Loss of either of these kinases results in paralysis and worm death in a mammalian host. These studies may help expedite therapeutic development and invigorate studies of these neglected parasites.
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