Malaria is one of the most serious health problems worldwide, registering 200 million clinical cases and more than 600,000 attributable deaths per year, according to information from the World Health Organization in 2013. Given the emerging resistance to the standard treatment most widely used throughout the world, which is based on artemisinin and its analogs, there is a need for new antimalarial compounds.
In this regard, scientists headed by Lluís Ribas de Pouplana, ICREA researcher at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), report on a new family of molecules and a new system of action to combat the parasite Plasmodium, causal agent of malaria. Specifically, they describe two derivatives of borrelidin that completely remove the parasite load from mice and confer immunological memory to fight future infections. The latter property is an added value that is not shared by current antimalarial drugs. The results are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Computer simulation of the interaction between the borrelidin analogue BC220 and the tRNA synthetase of Plasmodium
Credit: IRB Barcelona
Analogs of natural amyniacyl-tRNA synthetase inhibidors clear malaria in vivo, Eva Maria Novoa, Noelia Camacho, Anna Tor, Barrie Wilkinson, Steven Moss, Patricia Marín-García, Isabel G. Azcárate, José M. Bautista, Adam C. Mirando, Christopher S. Francklyn, Sònia Varon, Miriam Royo, Alfred Cortés, and Lluís Ribas de Pouplana, PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1405994111, published online 8 December 2014.