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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2001 Apr 25;114(1):111-7.

In vitro cytocidal effects on Trypanosoma brucei and inhibition of Leishmania major GP63 by peptidomimetic metalloprotease inhibitors.

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1300 University Avenue, 53706, Madison, WI, USA. jdbangs@facstaff.wisc.edu


Peptidomimetic inhibitors of mammalian zinc metalloproteases have been tested as potential agents for intervention in disease caused by kinetoplastid protozoa. Certain metalloprotease inhibitors were able to inhibit the release of variant surface glycoprotein from cultured transgenic procyclic Trypanosoma brucei, confirming our previous identification of a cell surface zinc metalloprotease activity in this stage of the trypanosome lifecycle [Bangs, JD et al. Expression of bloodstream variant surface glycoproteins in procyclic stage Trypanosoma brucei: role of GPI anchors in secretion, EMBO J. 1997;16:4285]. Selected peptidomimetics were also found to be toxic for cultured bloodstream trypanosomes with IC50 values in the low micromolar range. The paradigm for zinc metalloproteases in kinetoplastids are the GP63 surface enzymes of Leishmania. Peptidomimetics at low micromolar concentrations were able to inhibit in vitro cleavage of a synthetic peptide substrate by purified GP63 from L. major. Our results suggest that zinc metalloproteases perform essential functions in different stages of the trypanosome lifecycle and we hypothesize that these activities may be affected by the recently discovered trypanosomal homologues of GP63 [El-Sayed, NMA and Donelson, JE. African trypanosomes have differentially expressed genes encoding homologues of Leishmania GP63 surface protease, J. Biol. Chem. 1997;272:26742]. Development of higher affinity metalloprotease inhibitors may provide a novel avenue for treatment of parasitic diseases.

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