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Mapping the Targets of Antimalarial Compounds Through Chemical Profiling

Objective

Malaria is one of the most devastating infectious diseases affecting half of the world population and killing close to a million people every year. Widespread resistance of the malaria parasite to most front-line drugs and the rapid emergence of resistance against new therapies have made the validation of novel pharmaceutical targets and the identification of potent pharmacophores extremely urgent. In an effort to synergize basic research with malarial drug development the pharmaceutical industry has run large phenotypic screens and identified thousands of new compounds with antimalarial activity. These hits represent a treasure-throve of chemical tools to study parasite biology. However, in order to harness the potential benefits of these hits it is crucial to determine the mechanism of action by which these compounds exert their antiparasitic activities.

Here we propose a global chemical proteomic approach to identify the molecular targets of some of these bioactive molecules using broad-spectrum activity-based probes (ABPs). ABPs are small reporter molecules that use the conserved catalytic or binding mechanism of an enzyme family to covalently modify their active sites. A tag embedded within the structure of the probe allows for visualization of labeled proteins in a gel-based format. When used in a complex proteome, ABPs report on the active site occupancy of all members of an enzyme family, thus making them ideal tools to simultaneously screen dozens of targets against potential inhibitors.

The goal of this proposal is to run a pilot study by screening 400 of the most promising antimalarial compounds against all serine hydrolases, cysteine proteases, and ATPases found in infected red blood cells. We will then use the latest advances in Plasmodium genetics to validate the identified enzymes as new antimalarial targets. Importantly, the methodology outlined in this proposal is broadly applicable to any biological system and expandable to other enzyme families.

Call for proposal

FP7-PEOPLE-2013-CIG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MC-CIG - Support for training and career development of researcher (CIG)

Coordinator

THE FRANCIS CRICK INSTITUTE LIMITED
Address
1 Midland Road
NW1 1AT London
United Kingdom
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 87 500
Administrative Contact
Justin Wilson (Mr.)

Participants (1)

MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

Participation ended

United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 12 500
Address
North Star Avenue Polaris House 2 Floor David Phillips Building
SN2 1FL Swindon
Activity type
Research Organisations
Administrative Contact
David Jones (Mr.)