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Largest synthetic gene ever built offers insights into anti-malarial drug resistance

, or Asia, or South America, and what drugs it is most likely to be resistant to," he said.

The goal now is to understand molecularly how these mutations lead to drug resistance. So far, the researchers have found that two of the three resistance genes act to change the pH (acid/alkaline balance) within the parasite when it is growing inside the red cell. These changes affect how drugs like chloroquine enter the parasite, and how efficiently they bind to pre-crystalline heme. If these drugs can't enter blood cells as efficiently, and if the efficiency of heme binding is pushed in the wrong direction, they can't prevent heme from crystallizing. "We know these mutant proteins are controlling pH across two different membranes, but we don't yet know exactly how they are doing it," Roepe says. "Still, knowing the pH values can help pharmacologists and chemists redesign a molecule to take advantage of these changes."
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Source:Georgetown University Medical Center


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