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Expert Opin Drug Discov. 2012 Dec;7(12):1193-206. doi: 10.1517/17460441.2012.729036. Epub 2012 Sep 24.

Screening for small molecule inhibitors of Toxoplasma gondii.

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Drexel University College of Medicine, Institute for Molecular Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, 2900, Queen Lane, PA 19129, USA.



Toxoplasma gondii, the agent that causes toxoplasmosis, is an opportunistic parasite that infects many mammalian species. It is an obligate intracellular parasite that causes severe congenital neurological and ocular disease mostly in immunocompromised humans. The current regimen of therapy includes only a few medications that often lead to hypersensitivity and toxicity. In addition, there are no vaccines available to prevent the transmission of this agent. Therefore, safer and more effective medicines to treat toxoplasmosis are urgently needed.


The author presents in silico and in vitro strategies that are currently used to screen for novel targets and unique chemotypes against T. gondii. Furthermore, this review highlights the screening technologies and characterization of some novel targets and new chemical entities that could be developed into highly efficacious treatments for toxoplasmosis.


A number of diverse methods are being used to design inhibitors against T. gondii. These include ligand-based methods, in which drugs that have been shown to be efficacious against other Apicomplexa parasites can be repurposed to identify lead molecules against T. gondii. In addition, structure-based methods use currently available repertoire of structural information in various databases to rationally design small-molecule inhibitors of T. gondii. Whereas the screening methods have their advantages and limitations, a combination of methods is ideally suited to design small-molecule inhibitors of complex parasites such as T. gondii.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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