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New discovery could help turn antibiotic into antimalarial drug
Date:9/3/2014

some that are not found in the human form. Drug makers could exploit these features in order to specifically target the production of proteins within the malaria parasite," Dr Wong said.

"We are now working with our colleagues from the institute's ACRF Chemical Biology division to develop new molecules based on emetine and pactamycin. Knowing exactly how these antibiotics work will enable development of new antimalarial drugs that replicate the active component of these antibiotics while changing the parts that make it toxic to patients," Dr Wong said. Dr Jake Baum, now at the Imperial College of London, UK, said the study used a new imaging technique called cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to create the structure of the malaria parasite's ribosome.

"Cryo-EM is an exciting technique that allows us to visualise the structure of protein complexes directly from cellular material, instead of having to crystallise them which is often difficult to do and requires huge amounts of material," Dr Baum said. "Working with our colleagues at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, the images of the parasite ribosome revealed how emetine binds to the ribosome, stopping it from reading the 'recipe' for malaria proteins. Now we can use this knowledge to design better forms of emetine that could be used to tackle malaria."


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Contact: Alan Gill
gill.a@wehi.edu.au
61-393-452-719
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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