Development of Plasmodium falciparum Protease Inhibitors in the Past Decade (2002–2012)

Author(s): B. Perez, C. Teixeira, J. R.B. Gomes, P. Gomes

Journal Name: Current Medicinal Chemistry

Volume 20 , Issue 25 , 2013

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New drug targets for the development of antimalarial drugs have emerged after the unveiling of the Plasmodium falciparum genome in 2002. Potential antimalarial drug targets can be broadly classified into three categories according to their function in the parasite’s life cycle: (i) biosynthesis, (ii) membrane transport and signaling, and (iii) hemoglobin catabolism. The latter plays a key role, as inhibition of hemoglobin degradation impairs maturation of bloodstage malaria parasites, ultimately leading to remission or even cure of the most severe stage of the infection. Intraerythrocytic Plasmodia parasites have limited capacity to biosynthesize amino acids which are vital for their growth. Therefore, the parasites obtain those essential amino acids via degradation of host cell hemoglobin, making this a crucial process for parasite survival. Several plasmodial proteases are involved in hemoglobin catabolism, among which plasmepsins and falcipains are well-known examples. Hence, development of P. falciparum protease inhibitors is a promising approach to antimalarial chemotherapy, as highlighted by the present review which is focused on the Medicinal Chemistry research effort recorded in the past decade in this particular field.

Keywords: Plasmodium falciparum, hemoglobin catabolism, plasmepsin, falcipain, falcilysin, aminopeptidase, proteases, antimalarial.

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Article Details

Year: 2013
Published on: 30 June, 2013
Page: [3049 - 3068]
Pages: 20
DOI: 10.2174/0929867311320250003
Price: $65

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