Sunday, 9 February 2020

A new breakthrough in developing effective antimalarial drugs

Malaria affects more than 200 million people worldwide every year, and resistance to antimalarial treatments is constantly increasing. This infectious disease is caused by Plasmodium parasites that are capable of adapting to varied environments. During the parasite's life cycle, it lives in the salivary glands of the mosquito vector before infecting the liver and then the blood of the human host.

Parasites in the genus Plasmodium, which cause malaria, are transmitted to humans through bites from infected mosquitoes. The parasites manage to acclimatize to these two completely different hosts because the plasticity of their genome enables them to adapt as necessary.

Scientists decided to investigate the epigenetic mechanisms behind this plasticity, in particular DNA methylation. They identified molecules capable of inhibiting DNA methylation and effectively killing even the most resistant Plasmodium falciparum parasites.


Flore Nardella, Ludovic Halby, Elie Hammam, Diane Erdmann, Véronique Cadet-Daniel, Roger Peronet, Didier Ménard, Benoit Witkowski, Salah Mecheri, Artur Scherf, Paola B. Arimondo. DNA Methylation Bisubstrate Inhibitors Are Fast-Acting Drugs Active against Artemisinin-Resistant Plasmodium falciparum Parasites. ACS Central Science, 2019; DOI: 10.1021/acscentsci.9b00874

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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