Setting New Routes for Antifungal Drug Discovery Against Pathogenic Fungi

Author(s): Kleber S. Freitas e Silva*, Lívia C. Silva, Relber A. Gonçales, Bruno J. Neves, Célia M.A. Soares, Maristela Pereira*

Journal Name: Current Pharmaceutical Design

Volume 26 , Issue 14 , 2020

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Fungal diseases are life-threatening to human health and responsible for millions of deaths around the world. Fungal pathogens lead to a high number of morbidity and mortality. Current antifungal treatment comprises drugs, such as azoles, echinocandins, and polyenes and the cure is not guaranteed. In addition, such drugs are related to severe side effects and the treatment lasts for an extended period. Thus, setting new routes for the discovery of effective and safe antifungal drugs should be a priority within the health care system. The discovery of alternative and efficient antifungal drugs showing fewer side effects is time-consuming and remains a challenge. Natural products can be a source of antifungals and used in combinatorial therapy. The most important natural products are antifungal peptides, antifungal lectins, antifungal plants, and fungi secondary metabolites. Several proteins, enzymes, and metabolic pathways could be targets for the discovery of efficient inhibitor compounds and recently, heat shock proteins, calcineurin, salinomycin, the trehalose biosynthetic pathway, and the glyoxylate cycle have been investigated in several fungal species. HSP protein inhibitors and echinocandins have been shown to have a fungicidal effect against azole-resistant fungi strains. Transcriptomic and proteomic approaches have advanced antifungal drug discovery and pointed to new important specific-pathogen targets. Certain enzymes, such as those from the glyoxylate cycle, have been a target of antifungal compounds in several fungi species. Natural and synthetic compounds inhibited the activity of such enzymes and reduced the ability of fungal cells to transit from mycelium to yeast, proving to be promisor antifungal agents. Finally, computational biology has developed effective approaches, setting new routes for early antifungal drug discovery since normal approaches take several years from discovery to clinical use. Thus, the development of new antifungal strategies might reduce the therapeutic time and increase the quality of life of patients.

Keywords: Antifungal, drug discovery, pathogenic fungi, natural products, new target, high-throughput.

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Year: 2020
Published on: 14 May, 2020
Page: [1509 - 1520]
Pages: 12
DOI: 10.2174/1381612826666200317125956
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