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PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e32246. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032246. Epub 2012 Mar 7.

Gibberellin biosynthetic inhibitors make human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum cells swell and rupture to death.

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  • 1Laboratory of Malariology, Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University, Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka, Japan.


Malaria remains as one of the most devastating infectious disease, and continues to exact an enormous toll in medical cost and days of labor lost especially in the tropics. Effective malaria control and eventual eradication remain a huge challenge, with efficacious antimalarials as important intervention/management tool. Clearly new alternative drugs that are more affordable and with fewer side effects are desirable. After preliminary in vitro assays with plant growth regulators and inhibitors, here, we focus on biosynthetic inhibitors of gibberellin, a plant hormone with many important roles in plant growth, and show their inhibitory effect on the growth of both apicomplexa, Plasmodium falciparum and Toxoplasma gondii. Treatment of P. falciparum cultures with the gibberellin biosynthetic inhibitors resulted in marked morphological changes that can be reversed to a certain degree under hyperosmotic environment. These unique observations suggest that changes in the parasite membrane permeability may explain the pleiotropic effects observed within the intracellular parasites.

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