Send to

Choose Destination
Med Res Rev. 2006 Sep;26(5):626-66.

Plasmepsins as potential targets for new antimalarial therapy.

Author information

Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Uppsala University, BMC, SE-751 23 Uppsala, Sweden.


Malaria is one of the major diseases in the world. Due to the rapid spread of parasite resistance to available antimalarial drugs there is an urgent need for new antimalarials with novel mechanisms of action. Several promising targets for drug intervention have been revealed in recent years. This review addresses the parasitic aspartic proteases termed plasmepsins (Plms) that are involved in the hemoglobin catabolism that occurs during the erythrocytic stage of the malarial parasite life cycle. Four Plasmodium species are responsible for human malaria; P. vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae, and P. falciparum. This review focuses on inhibitors of the haemoglobin-degrading plasmepsins of the most lethal species, P. falciparum; Plm I, Plm II, Plm IV, and histo-aspartic protease (HAP). Previously, Plm II has attracted the most attention. With the identification and characterization of new plasmepsins and the results from recent plasmepsin knockout studies, it now seems clear that in order to achieve high-antiparasitic activities in P. falciparum-infected erythrocytes it is necessary to inhibit several of the haemoglobin-degrading plasmepsins. Herein we summarize the structure-activity relationships of the Plm I, II, IV, and HAP inhibitors. These inhibitors represent all classes which, to the best of our knowledge, have been disclosed in journal articles to date. The 3D structures of inhibitor/plasmepsin II complexes available in the protein data bank are briefly discussed and compared.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center