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 October 30, 2014 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 October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Google X wants to improve modern medicine with nanoparticles and a wearable device. It's all an attempt to tackle disease detection and prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Researchers in Sweden released a study showing heavy milk drinkers face an increased mortality risk from a variety of causes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) 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