Malaria continues to impinge heavily on mankind, with five continents still under its clasp.
Widespread and rapid emergence of drug resistance in the Plasmodium parasite to current therapies accentuate
the quest for novel drug targets and antimalarial compounds. Plasmodium parasites, maintain a
non-photosynthetic relict organelle known as Apicoplast. Among the four major pathways of Apicoplast,
biosynthesis of isoprenoids via Methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway is the only indispensable
function of Apicoplast that occurs during different stages of the malaria parasite. Moreover, the human
host lacks MEP pathway. MEP pathway is a validated repertoire of novel antimalarial and antibacterial
drug targets. Fosmidomycin, an efficacious antimalarial compound against IspC enzyme of MEP pathway
is already in clinical trials as a combination drugs. Exploitation of other enzymes of MEP pathway
would provide a much-needed impetus to the antimalarial drug discovery programs for the elimination of
malaria. We outline the cardinal features of the MEP pathway enzymes and progress made towards the
characterization of new inhibitors.
Keywords: Malaria, Parasite, Apicoplast, Metabolic pathways, Drug target, Plasmodium species.
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