Researchers have identified the protein in malaria-causing Plasmodium parasites that is inhibited by a newly discovered class of anti-malarial compounds known as imidazopyrazines.
Malaria is transmitted to humans via the bite of a Plasmodium-carrying mosquito.
Credit: CDC/Jim Gathany
The protein, phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase (PI4K), is the first potential malaria drug target shown to be essential to all stages of the Plasmodium life cycle; imidazopyrazines impede its activity throughout this process. Led by Elizabeth Winzeler, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Diego and Novartis Research Foundation, the research was published online today in Nature. The work was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and other organizations.
When a Plasmodium-carrying mosquito bites a human, it transmits infectious parasites that travel to the liver, where they multiply and mature, and then spread throughout the bloodstream, causing malaria symptoms to develop. Dr. Winzeler and her colleagues administered imidazopyrazines to mice and nonhuman primates infected with Plasmodium and found that the compounds blocked the parasites' development both in the liver and in the bloodstream stages of infection.
They also exposed Plasmodium parasites directly to imidazopyrazines and searched for genetic differences between parasites susceptible to the compounds and those that were resistant. They found that the imidazopyrazine-resistant parasites had mutated versions of the gene that codes for PI4K.
Currently, only one drug, primaquine, has been approved for elimination of liver-stage parasites for the treatment of relapsing malaria. Knowing that PI4K makes Plasmodium parasites susceptible to imidazopyrazines during the liver and bloodstream stages should help researchers optimize these compounds for future clinical testing in humans, the study authors write.
ARTICLE: McNamara CW et al. Targeting Plasmodium PI(4)K to eliminate malaria. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature12782 (2013).
Martin John Rogers, Ph.D., Program Officer, Parasite Drug Development, in NIAID's Parasitology and International Programs Branch, is available to discuss the findings.
To schedule interviews, please contact Nalini Padmanabhan, (301) 402-1663, email@example.com.
Nalini Padmanabhan | EurekAlert!
Correct connections are crucial
26.06.2017 | Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
27.06.2017 | Information Technology
27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy