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Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2011 Jun;1(3):233-42. doi: 10.1016/S2221-1691(11)60034-8.

Malaria parasite carbonic anhydrase: inhibition of aromatic/heterocyclic sulfonamides and its therapeutic potential.

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Unit of Biochemistry, Department of Medical Science, Faculty of Science, Rangsit University, Paholyothin Rd., Patumthani 12000, Thailand.


Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) is responsible for the majority of life-threatening cases of human malaria, causing 1.5-2.7 million annual deaths. The global emergence of drug-resistant malaria parasites necessitates identification and characterization of novel drug targets and their potential inhibitors. We identified the carbonic anhydrase (CA) genes in P. falciparum. The pfCA gene encodes anα-carbonic anhydrase, a Zn(2+)-metalloenzme, possessing catalytic properties distinct from that of the human host CA enzyme. The amino acid sequence of the pfCA enzyme is different from the analogous protozoan and human enzymes. A library of aromatic/heterocyclic sulfonamides possessing a large diversity of scaffolds were found to be very good inhibitors for the malarial enzyme at moderate-low micromolar and submicromolar inhibitions. The structure of the groups substituting the aromatic-ureido- or aromatic-azomethine fragment of the molecule and the length of the parent sulfonamide were critical parameters for the inhibitory properties of the sulfonamides. One derivative, that is, 4- (3, 4-dichlorophenylureido)thioureido-benzenesulfonamide (compound 10) was the most effective in vitro Plasmodium falciparum CA inhibitor, and was also the most effective antimalarial compound on the in vitro P. falciparum growth inhibition. The compound 10 was also effective in vivo antimalarial agent in mice infected with Plasmodium berghei, an animal model of drug testing for human malaria infection. It is therefore concluded that the sulphonamide inhibitors targeting the parasite CA may have potential for the development of novel therapies against human malaria.


Antimalarial agents; Aromatic/heterocyclic sulfonamides; Carbonic anhydrase; Carbonic anhydrase inhibitor; Drug target; Malaria; Parasitic disease; Plasmodium falciparum

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