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J Parasit Dis. 2010 Apr;34(1):1-13. doi: 10.1007/s12639-010-0006-3. Epub 2010 Oct 8.

Drug targets in Leishmania.

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  • 1School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 110067 India.


Leishmaniasis is a major public health problem and till date there are no effective vaccines available. The control strategy relies solely on chemotherapy of the infected people. However, the present repertoire of drugs is limited and increasing resistance towards them has posed a major concern. The first step in drug discovery is to identify a suitable drug target. The genome sequences of Leishmania major and Leishmania infantum has revealed immense amount of information and has given the opportunity to identify novel drug targets that are unique to these parasites. Utilization of this information in order to come up with a candidate drug molecule requires combining all the technology and using a multi-disciplinary approach, right from characterizing the target protein to high throughput screening of compounds. Leishmania belonging to the order kinetoplastidae emerges from the ancient eukaryotic lineages. They are quite diverse from their mammalian hosts and there are several cellular processes that we are getting to know of, which exist distinctly in these parasites. In this review, we discuss some of the metabolic pathways that are essential and could be used as potential drug targets in Leishmania.


Drug targets; Leishmania; Leishmaniasis; Metabolic pathways

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