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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2015 Nov 9;60(1):570-9. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01915-15. Print 2016 Jan.

Inhibition of Calcium-Dependent Protein Kinase 1 (CDPK1) In Vitro by Pyrazolopyrimidine Derivatives Does Not Correlate with Sensitivity of Cryptosporidium parvum Growth in Cell Culture.

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Department of Pathobiology, University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, Urbana, Illinois, USA.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
Department of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
Department of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA


Cryptosporidiosis is a serious diarrheal disease in immunocompromised patients and malnourished children, and treatment is complicated by a lack of adequate drugs. Recent studies suggest that the natural occurrence of a small gatekeeper residue in serine threonine calcium-dependent protein kinase 1 (CDPK1) of Cryptosporidium parvum might be exploited to target this enzyme and block parasite growth. Here were explored the potency with which a series of pyrazolopyrimidine analogs, which are selective for small gatekeeper kinases, inhibit C. parvum CDPK1 and block C. parvum growth in tissue culture in vitro. Although these compounds potently inhibited kinase activity in vitro, most had no effect on parasite growth. Moreover, among those that were active against parasite growth, there was a very poor correlation with their 50% inhibitory concentrations against the enzyme. Active compounds also had no effect on cell invasion, unlike the situation in Toxoplasma gondii, where these compounds block CDPK1, prevent microneme secretion, and disrupt cell invasion. These findings suggest that CPDK1 is not essential for C. parvum host cell invasion or growth and therefore that it is not the optimal target for therapeutic intervention. Nonetheless, several inhibitors with low micromolar 50% effective concentrations were identified, and these may affect other essential targets in C. parvum that are worthy of further exploration.

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