Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Discovery provides new drug targets for malaria cure

Date:
January 12, 2010
Source:
University of Melbourne
Summary:
Researchers are a step closer to developing new antimalarial drugs after discovering the normal function of a set of proteins related to the malaria parasite protein, which causes resistance to the front-line drug chloroquine. The findings also provide a novel tool for studying the malarial chloroquine-resistance factor.

Researchers are a step closer to developing new antimalarial drugs after discovering the normal function of a set of proteins related to the malaria parasite protein, which causes resistance to the front-line drug chloroquine. The findings also provide a novel tool for studying the malarial chloroquine-resistance factor.

The study examined transporter proteins which are known to move compounds around the cell. The genes for these proteins are present in plants as well as the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum (known as clt and PfCRT respectively), so researchers used the model plant Arabidopsis to reveal that these proteins normally transport glutathione, an antioxidant which protects the cell from stresses.

In the malaria parasite (a single cell organism), this type of transporter protein has mutated so that it no longer functions normally, enabling it to remove the drug chloroquine from its cell and survive.

Plasmodium falciparum is the most dangerous of the malaria infections being transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito. It has the highest rates of complications and mortality and is responsible for up to one million deaths per year, mostly children in Africa under the age of five. The evolution of drug-resistant Plasmodium strains, especially those resistant to chloroquine, has had major impacts on global public health. The economic toll is also huge with malaria infection destroying more than 1% of African GPD.

The work was led by Dr Spencer Maughan who began researching these genes in Prof. Chris Cobbett's lab in the Department of Genetics at the University of Melbourne and involved an international team from the Universities of Melbourne, Cambridge (UK), Heidelberg (Germany), Liverpool (UK) and Rothamsted Research (UK). It will be published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Our findings set in motion the chance of reclaiming the efficacy of chloroquine which could turn the tide on the war against malaria and ultimately may help save millions of lives," said Dr Maughan.

"The transporter is normally essential to the survival of the malaria parasite and when mutated, provides the extra advantage of removing the drug chloroquine from its cell.

"We hope that understanding the normal role of the transporter in plants will be a key step in malaria research. Unlike in the plant, if the gene for the transporter is inactivated in malaria, the parasite dies, preventing more study into its role. The plant could therefore provide a useful tool in malaria research."

"These results describe the first missing link in understanding this class of proteins and could provide a two-pronged treatment approach- preventing malaria removing chloroquine from its cell and enabling the design of new drugs based on the shape of glutathione."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Melbourne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Melbourne. "Discovery provides new drug targets for malaria cure." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100111154920.htm>.
University of Melbourne. (2010, January 12). Discovery provides new drug targets for malaria cure. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100111154920.htm
University of Melbourne. "Discovery provides new drug targets for malaria cure." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100111154920.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) The World Health Organizations says TB numbers rose in 2013, but it's partly due to better detection and more survivors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins