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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2005 Jul;142(1):106-9. Epub 2005 Apr 8.

Shikimate and folate pathways in the protozoan parasite, Perkinsus olseni.

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1
CCMar, University of Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal.

Abstract

We have exploited the experimental accessibility of the protozoan parasite Perkinsus olseni and its similarities to apicomplexan parasites to investigate the influence of specific drugs on its proliferation. For this purpose, shikimate and folate pathways present an attractive target for parasitic therapy given their major differences with mammalian pathways. Glyphosate, a potent inhibitor of the shikimate pathway enzyme EPSP synthase inhibited the in vitro proliferation of P. olseni in a dose-dependent manner and this effect was reversed by addition of chorismate, indicating the presence of a shikimate pathway. However, this effect was not antagonised by p-aminobenzoate or folic acid. Furthermore, antagonism was observed, via pyrimethamine to glyphosate inhibitory effect, suggesting that the shikimate pathway is not essential for the biosynthesis of folate precursors and is therefore crucial for another pathway downstream from chorismate. In addition, sulfadiazine, a well known inhibitor of dihydropteorate synthase, an enzyme of the folate biosynthetic pathway,had no inhibitory effect on P. olseni proliferation. In view of these results, the parasite does not appear to require the folate biosynthesis pathway for its survival and is most likely able to use exogenous folate. Even though pyrimethamine was found to inhibit P. atlanticus growth, this inhibitory effect could not be reversed by co-addition of folic acid. Therefore, we propose that the effect of pyrimethamine observed in this study results from the inhibition of a target other than dihydrofolate reductase. Similarly, proguanil target is likely to be separate from DHFR since only its metabolite cycloguanil has been shown to have inhibitory properties on DHFR.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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