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MEPHITIS


Targetting protein synthesis in the apicoplast and cytoplasm of plasmodium
 
 
Framework programme:
 7
Contract/Grant agreement number:
223024
EC contribution:
2,100,000 €
Duration:
36 months
Funding scheme:
Small-Medium Collaborative Project (SICA)
Starting date:
01/01/2009
 
 

Keywords: malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, drug development, protein synthesis, drug screening, apicoplast, tRNA, aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, elongation factors

Background

The protein synthesis machinery represents one of the most useful targets for the development of new anti-infectives. Several families of broadly used antibiotics (tetracyclines, macrolides, and novel glycopeptides like vancomycin, among others) exert their function by blocking the protein synthesis machinery. Doxycycline, a tetracycline antibiotic, remains a useful tool for the prevention of paludism among travellers, despite its numerous secondary effects. But very little is known about the specifics of the protein synthesis machinery in Plasmodium.

Lack of information about this central metabolic pathway in Plasmodium clearly blocks the possibility of transferring the knowledge in protein synthesis to the development of new antimalarial drugs directed against the translational machinery of the parasite. Thus, the study of components of the genetic code in Plasmodium has the potential for providing new and important information on the biology of the parasite and, more importantly, open new leads for the development of novel antimalarials.

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