Background: Malaria is a lethal disease causing mortality to over millions each
year. Drug resistance in the malarial parasite spurred effects to discover effective antimalarial
drug targets and drugs. An objective of this current study is to identify drug targets for
malarial parasite. Genes unique, non-homologous to humans and essential for parasite are
identified using BLASTn by comparing genomes between parasite and host.
Objective: Further open BLASTp was used to filter the targets specific to Plasmodium species
and later were subjected to gene property analysis to identify 65 potential targets.
Screening of potential drug targets for the drug target properties like virulence and enzyme
identified three drug targets with virulence property and eleven with enzymatic nature.
Method: Thirteen knockouts related to potential drug targets were already tested in Plasmodium
species, non-Plasmodium species and rodent malaria, lending credence to our approach.
3-D structures of 27 drug targets were predicted using I-tasser server and apicoplast
import protein Tic20 is the best modeled protein. Gene ontology studies and analysis for
motifs on nuclear localization signal (NLS) established apicoplast import protein Tic20 as
an import protein. In silico docking studies were used to establish the druggability of
apicoplast import protein Tic20.
Result and Conclusion: In silico docking studies on 3-D structure generated using I-tasser
with quinine, chloroquine, artesunate into the active site of apicoplast import protein Tic20
established apicoplast import protein Tic20 as a promising therapeutic molecular target.