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Development of a Potent Inhibitor of the Plasmodium Proteasome with Reduced Mammalian Toxicity.

  • Author(s): LaMonte, Gregory M;
  • Almaliti, Jehad;
  • Bibo-Verdugo, Betsaida;
  • Keller, Lena;
  • Zou, Bing Yu;
  • Yang, Jennifer;
  • Antonova-Koch, Yevgeniya;
  • Orjuela-Sanchez, Pamela;
  • Boyle, Colleen A;
  • Vigil, Edgar;
  • Wang, Lawrence;
  • Goldgof, Gregory M;
  • Gerwick, Lena;
  • O'Donoghue, Anthony J;
  • Winzeler, Elizabeth A;
  • Gerwick, William H;
  • Ottilie, Sabine
  • et al.

Naturally derived chemical compounds are the foundation of much of our pharmacopeia, especially in antiproliferative and anti-infective drug classes. Here, we report that a naturally derived molecule called carmaphycin B is a potent inhibitor against both the asexual and sexual blood stages of malaria infection. Using a combination of in silico molecular docking and in vitro directed evolution in a well-characterized drug-sensitive yeast model, we determined that these compounds target the β5 subunit of the proteasome. These studies were validated using in vitro inhibition assays with proteasomes isolated from Plasmodium falciparum. As carmaphycin B is toxic to mammalian cells, we synthesized a series of chemical analogs that reduce host cell toxicity while maintaining blood-stage and gametocytocidal antimalarial activity and proteasome inhibition. This study describes a promising new class of antimalarial compound based on the carmaphycin B scaffold, as well as several chemical structural features that serve to enhance antimalarial specificity.

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