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Exp Parasitol. 2012 Sep;132(1):2-6. doi: 10.1016/j.exppara.2011.03.004. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

Pharmacology and potential physiological significance of schistosome multidrug resistance transporters.

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  • 1Department of Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 3800 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Schistosomes are the causative agents of schistosomiasis, a neglected tropical disease affecting hundreds of millions worldwide and a major global health burden. Current control of schistosomiasis depends largely on a single drug, praziquantel (PZQ). One potential physiological target for new antischistosomal drugs is the parasite's excretory system, which removes wastes and xenobiotics. Multidrug resistance (MDR) transporters that are members of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) superfamily of proteins are ATP-dependent efflux pumps involved in removal of toxins and xenobiotics from cells. They mediate the phenomenon of multidrug resistance, in which cells resistant to one drug show cross-resistance to a broad range of other agents, and are also associated with reduced drug susceptibility in parasitic helminths. In this review, we survey the different types of ABC transporter genes present within the schistosome genome, and examine recent evidence indicating that at least some of these transporters may play a role in fine-tuning susceptibility of schistosomes to PZQ. Disruption of their function may therefore provide a strategy for enhancing drug action or overcoming or attenuating drug resistance. Furthermore, dissection of the roles these transporters may play in normal schistosome physiology could potentially lead to identification of highly "druggable" targets for new antischistosomals.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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