Using genetic methods to define the targets of compounds with antimalarial activity.

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

Journal of medicinal chemistry, Volume: 56, Issue: 20
October 24, 2013
Erika L Flannery EL, David A Fidock DA, Elizabeth A Winzeler EA

Although phenotypic cellular screening has been used to drive antimalarial drug discovery in recent years, in some cases target-based drug discovery remains more attractive. This is especially true when appropriate high-throughput cellular assays are lacking, as is the case for drug discovery efforts that aim to provide a replacement for primaquine (4-N-(6-methoxyquinolin-8-yl)pentane-1,4-diamine), the only drug that can block Plasmodium transmission to Anopheles mosquitoes and eliminate liver-stage hypnozoites. At present, however, there are no known chemically validated parasite protein targets that are important in all Plasmodium parasite developmental stages and that can be used in traditional biochemical compound screens. We propose that a plethora of novel, chemically validated, cross-stage antimalarial targets still remain to be discovered from the ~5,500 proteins encoded by the Plasmodium genomes. Here we discuss how in vitro evolution of drug-resistant strains of Plasmodium falciparum and subsequent whole-genome analysis can be used to find the targets of some of the many compounds discovered in whole-cell phenotypic screens.

Courtesy of the U.S. National Library of Medicine