Friday, March 05, 2010

DNA topoisomerases in apicomplexan parasites: promising targets for drug discovery

Proc Biol Sci. 2010 Mar 3. [Epub ahead of print]

DNA topoisomerases in apicomplexan parasites: promising targets for drug discovery

García-Estrada C, Prada CF, Fernández-Rubio C, Rojo-Vázquez F, Balaña-Fouce R.

Departamento de Ciencias Biomédicas (INTOXCAL), Universidad de León, , Campus de Vegazana s/n, 24071 León, Spain.

The phylum Apicomplexa includes a large group of protozoan parasites responsible for a wide range of animal and human diseases. Destructive pathogens, such as Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax, causative agents of human malaria, Cryptosporidium parvum, responsible of childhood diarrhoea, and Toxoplasma gondii, responsible for miscarriages and abortions in humans, are frequently associated with HIV immunosuppression in AIDS patients. The lack of effective vaccines, along with years of increasing pressure to eradicate outbreaks with the use of drugs, has favoured the formation of multi-drug resistant strains in endemic areas. Almost all apicomplexan of medical interest contain two endosymbiotic organelles that contain their own mitochondrial and apicoplast DNA. Apicoplast is an attractive target for drug testing because in addition to harbouring singular metabolic pathways absent in the host, it also has its own transcription and translation machinery of bacterial origin. Accordingly, apicomplexan protozoa contain an interesting mixture of enzymes to unwind DNA from eukaryotic and prokaryotic origins. On the one hand, the main mechanism of DNA unwinding includes the scission of one-type I-or both DNA strands-type II eukaryotic topoisomerases, establishing transient covalent bonds with the scissile end. These enzymes are targeted by camptothecin and etoposide, respectively, two natural drugs whose semisynthetic derivatives are currently used in cancer chemotherapy. On the other hand, DNA gyrase is a bacterial-borne type II DNA topoisomerase that operates within the apicoplast and is effectively targeted by bacterial antibiotics like fluoroquinolones and aminocoumarins. The present review is an update on the new findings concerning topoisomerases in apicomplexan parasites and the role of these enzymes as targets for therapeutic agents.

PMID: 20200034 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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