Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What parasites eat provides key to better drug design

Date:
August 7, 2011
Source:
University of Melbourne
Summary:
A new study has revealed in unprecedented detail how parasites use different nutrients needed for growth, providing researchers with unique drug targets against Leishmania, a tropical parasite that infects 12 million people worldwide and causes 500,000 deaths annually.

A new study has revealed in unprecedented detail how parasites use different nutrients needed for growth, providing University of Melbourne researchers with unique drug targets against Leishmania, a tropical parasite that infects 12 million people worldwide and causes 500,000 deaths annually.

A team led by Professor Malcolm McConville from the Bio21 Institute, University of Melbourne developed a new analytical method which can be used for many infectious parasites and bacteria. The technique has revealed which metabolic pathways are essential for the parasite's survival, down to the particular atoms it uses as a food source.

"This a very significant breakthrough in this field because the more we know about these dangerous pathogens and how they live, the better we can fight them with new, effective drugs," said Professor McConville.

"Current anti-parasitic drugs have enormous side effects as they don't target specific pathogen metabolic pathways. We now have a greater understanding of Leishmania and can develop specific drugs with minimal side effects."

The team studied the parasite's metabolism by labelling carbon atoms in its food source (the sugar glucose) and using cutting edge equipment including nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to follow how the atoms were used in the parasite's metabolism. The results reveal which of the metabolic pathways are essential to Leishmania's survival, and therefore good drug targets to block and kill the parasite.

The parasite Leishmania was used to develop the technique as its complex life cycle and ability to infect many animals makes treatment very difficult and limits the effectiveness of a vaccine .

Leishmania causes a range of infections in humans, from skin conditions to organ infection which can be fatal. The parasite lives within tiny sandflies which bite an animal or human to get the blood they require to produce eggs, thereby passing on the Leishmania parasite.

The new study is published in the current issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. E. C. Saunders, W. W. Ng, J. M. Chambers, M. Ng, T. Naderer, J. O. Kromer, V. A. Likic, M. J. McConville. Isotopomer Profiling of Leishmania mexicana Promastigotes Reveals Important Roles for Succinate Fermentation and Aspartate Uptake in Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle (TCA) Anaplerosis, Glutamate Synthesis, and Growth. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2011; 286 (31): 27706 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M110.213553

Cite This Page:

University of Melbourne. "What parasites eat provides key to better drug design." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110805135811.htm>.
University of Melbourne. (2011, August 7). What parasites eat provides key to better drug design. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110805135811.htm
University of Melbourne. "What parasites eat provides key to better drug design." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110805135811.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) A federal judge temporarily banned coyote hunting to save endangered red wolves, but local hunters say that the wolf preservation program does more harm than good. Meanwhile federal officials are reviewing its wolf program in North Carolina. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) New England farms are seeing a surge in younger farm hands as the 'buy local' food movement grows across the country. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, spiders that live in cities are bigger, fatter and multiply faster. 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:
from the past week

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