Navigation Links
Molecular models advance the fight against malaria

Research from Dartmouth Medical School, demonstrating how malaria parasites form mutations that make them stubbornly resistant to drug therapy, may hold the key to a new treatments for a disease that afflicts more than half a billion people worldwide.

The scientists developed disease models using yeast and successfully introduced five mutations that make malaria resistant to the anti-malarial drug, atovaquone. The study, featured as the cover story of the April 29 Journal of Biological Chemistry, paves the way for using these models to test new drugs that could suppress malaria's ability to mutate against current therapy. "This is the first quantitative explanation for malaria's drug resistance," said Dr. Bernard Trumpower, professor of biochemistry at Dartmouth Medical School and head of the study. "In addition to confirming the belief that the resistance was due to these mutations, we have created a practical research tool to design new, improved versions of the drug using these resistant strains."

Malaria, transmitted by Plasmodium falciparum, a parasite carried by mosquitoes, has developed resistance to almost every anti-malarial drug introduced in the past 30 years. Although atovaquone is one of the most recent drugs on the market, there is significant evidence that malaria parasites are quickly developing resistance to that drug as well. According to WHO estimates, 40% of the world's population are currently at risk of the disease and approximately 2 million people, mostly children, are killed by malaria annually worldwide. Today marks Africa Malaria Day, organized to promote awareness of the disease in a country where a child is killed every 30 seconds by malaria.

Investigating ways to counter the mutations and sustain the efficacy of anti-malarial drugs, Trumpower and his colleagues continued their work on previous studies using yeast enzymes to explore atovaquone resistance. It is not possible to grow enough malaria parasites to isola te and study the respiratory enzyme cytochrome bc1 complex, which the parasites need to live and multiply. A protein subunit of the bc1 complex is where the malaria parasite mutates to counter anti-malarial drug therapies. Yeast is an effective resource because it can be safely grown in large quantities and can be easily modified to take on the qualities of more dangerous pathogens, without risking human infection.

When the researchers genetically transferred mutations into the yeast surrogates, the yeast acquired resistance to atovaquone just as the malaria parasites had done. The team was then able to apply computerized modeling techniques to illustrate exactly how the drug interacted with the cytochrome bc1 complex ?the respiratory enzyme the parasites need to live and multiply -- on a molecular level. With this new understanding of how the parasites were able to counter the effects of atovaquone, researchers can now design new anti-malarial drugs with features making the appearance of resistance more unlikely.

"Within the next 3-5 years, we hope to develop a new drug that will finally empower us to treat this terrible disease," said Trumpower.

Dartmouth Medical School co-authors of the paper are Dr. Jacques Kessl, research associate in biochemistry, Kevin Ha, Anne Merritt and Benjamin Lange. Other co-authors are Dr. Brigitte Meunier and Philip Hill from the Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research in London and Dr. Steven Meshnick from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


Source:Dartmouth Medical School

Related biology news :

1. Molecular biology fills gaps in knowledge of bat evolution
2. Molecular machine may lead to new drugs to combat human diseases
3. Molecular Motors Cooperate In Moving Cellular Cargo, Study Shows
4. Molecular fossils uncover link between viruses and the immune system
5. Molecular thermometers on skin cells detect heat and camphor
6. Molecular messengers perform a crucial role in the ability of injured nerve cells to heal themselves
7. Molecular steps involved in the creation of gene-silencing microRNAs identified
8. Molecular miners find pain relief drugs from the sea
9. Molecular mechanism of feather formation found
10. Molecular trigger for Huntingtons disease found
11. Molecular Partners Required For Appropriate Neuronal Gene Repression
Post Your Comments:

(Date:6/22/2016)... BETHESDA, Md. , June 22, 2016  The American ... by Trade Show Executive Magazine as one of ... Summit on May 25-27 at the Bellagio in ... based on the highest percentage of growth in each of ... number of exhibiting companies and number of attendees. The 2015 ...
(Date:6/20/2016)... Securus Technologies, a leading provider of ... safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring announced that after ... secured the final acceptance by all three (3) ... Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, Securus will have contracts ... by October, 2016. MAS distinguishes between legitimate wireless ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... , June 9, 2016 ... deploy Teleste,s video security solution to ensure the safety of ... during the major tournament Teleste, an ... systems and services, announced today that its video security solution ... to back up public safety across the country. The ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... GUELPH, ON , June 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM ... it has been advised by its major shareholders, Clean ... LP, United States based venture ... common shares of Biorem (on a fully diluted, as ... for the disposition of their entire equity holdings in ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , ... June 27, 2016 , ... Parallel 6 ... trials, announced today the Clinical Reach Virtual Patient Encounter CONSULT module which ... with the physician and clinical trial team. , Using the CONSULT module, patients and ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... PHILADELPHIA , June 27, 2016  Liquid ... today announced the funding of a Sponsored Research ... study circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from cancer patients.  ... changes in CTC levels correlate with clinical outcomes ... therapies. These data will then be employed to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Epic Sciences unveiled a liquid biopsy ... PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) ... test has already been incorporated into numerous clinical ... Over 230 clinical trials are investigating ... PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and WEE-1. Drugs targeting ...
Breaking Biology Technology: