Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New discovery could help turn antibiotic into antimalarial drug

Date:
September 3, 2014
Source:
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
Summary:
Researchers are making progress towards new antimalarial drugs, after revealing how an antibiotic called emetine blocks the molecular machinery that produces the proteins required for malaria parasite survival.

Molecular structure of the malaria parasite's ribosome bound to the antibacterial drug emetine (small light blue spheres).
Credit: Image courtesy of Walter and Eliza Hall Institute

Melbourne researchers are making progress towards new antimalarial drugs, after revealing how an antibiotic called emetine blocks the molecular machinery that produces the proteins required for malaria parasite survival.

Related Articles


Although emetine is effective against malaria it is not used as a preventive drug due to its significant side effects. However, the work of Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researchers Dr Wilson Wong, Dr Jake Baum and colleagues in showing how emetine attaches to and blocks the molecular machinery that makes the proteins required for malaria parasite survival has revealed new approaches for antimalarial drug development.

Their study, involving collaborators led by Dr Sjors Scheres from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK and the Bio21 Institute in Melbourne was published in the journal eLife.

Malaria infects hundreds of millions of people worldwide every year and causes more than 600,000 deaths. The Plasmodium malaria parasite has developed resistance to current antimalarial drugs, making them less effective and new drugs are needed urgently.

Dr Wong said the study examined the parasite cell's protein-making machinery, called the ribosome, visualising for the first time the structure of this 'protein complex' in the malaria parasite. "The ribosome is responsible for constructing all proteins inside the cell, based on the DNA 'blueprint'," he said. "Antibiotics such as emetine kill the malaria parasite by binding to its ribosome and preventing the parasite from building the proteins it needs to produce energy, grow, reproduce and evade the immune system."

Dr Wong said knowledge of emetine and related antibiotics such as pactamycin could be used as the basis for developing new antimalarial drugs.

"Our structure is an exciting discovery as it gives a clear path forward in developing new drugs to tackle this deadly disease. We have found features of the parasitic ribosome that are not found in the human form. Drug makers could exploit these features in order to specifically target the production of proteins within the malaria parasite," Dr Wong said.

"We are now working with our colleagues from the institute's ACRF Chemical Biology division to develop new molecules based on emetine and pactamycin. Knowing exactly how these antibiotics work will enable development of new antimalarial drugs that replicate the active component of these antibiotics while changing the parts that make it toxic to patients," Dr Wong said.

Dr Jake Baum, now at the Imperial College of London, UK, said the study used a new imaging technique called cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to create the structure of the malaria parasite's ribosome.

"Cryo-EM is an exciting technique that allows us to visualise the structure of protein complexes directly from cellular material, instead of having to crystallise them which is often difficult to do and requires huge amounts of material," Dr Baum said. "Working with our colleagues at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, the images of the parasite ribosome revealed how emetine binds to the ribosome, stopping it from reading the 'recipe' for malaria proteins. Now we can use this knowledge to design better forms of emetine that could be used to tackle malaria."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Wilson Wong, Xiao-chen Bai, Alan Brown, Israel S Fernandez, Eric Hanssen, Melanie Condron, Yan Hong Tan, Jake Baum, Sjors HW Scheres. Cryo-EM structure of thePlasmodium falciparum80S ribosome bound to the anti-protozoan drug emetine. eLife, 2014; 3 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.03080

Cite This Page:

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. "New discovery could help turn antibiotic into antimalarial drug." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 September 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140903105845.htm>.
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. (2014, September 3). New discovery could help turn antibiotic into antimalarial drug. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140903105845.htm
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. "New discovery could help turn antibiotic into antimalarial drug." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140903105845.htm (accessed March 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
HIV Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency In Indiana

HIV Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency In Indiana

Newsy (Mar. 26, 2015) Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says he will bring additional state resources to help stop the epidemic. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Indiana Permits Needle Exchange as HIV Cases Skyrocket

Indiana Permits Needle Exchange as HIV Cases Skyrocket

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 26, 2015) Governor Mike Pence declares the recent HIV outbreak in rural Indiana a "public health emergency" and authorizes a short-term needle-exchange program. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
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