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Curr Med Chem. 2019;26(23):4380-4402. doi: 10.2174/0929867324666170830103003.

New Molecular Targets and Strategies for Antimalarial Discovery.

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Sao Carlos Institute of Physics, University of Sao Paulo, PO Box 369, 13560-970, Sao Carlos, SP, Brazil.
Chemistry Department, Federal University of Goias - Catalao regional, 75704-020, Catalao - GO, Brazil.
Physiology Department, Bioscience Institute, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil.


Malaria remains a major health problem, especially because of the emergence of resistant P. falciparum strains to artemisinin derivatives. In this context, safe and affordable antimalarial drugs are desperately needed. New proteins have been investigated as molecular targets for research and development of innovative compounds with welldefined mechanism of action. In this review, we highlight genetically and clinically validated plasmodial proteins as drug targets for the next generation of therapeutics. The enzymes described herein are involved in hemoglobin hydrolysis, the invasion process, elongation factors for protein synthesis, pyrimidine biosynthesis, post-translational modifications such as prenylation, phosphorylation and histone acetylation, generation of ATP in mitochondrial metabolism and aminoacylation of RNAs. Significant advances on proteomics, genetics, structural biology, computational and biophysical methods provided invaluable molecular and structural information about these drug targets. Based on this, several strategies and models have been applied to identify and improve lead compounds. This review presents the recent progresses in the discovery of antimalarial drug candidates, highlighting the approaches, challenges, and perspectives to deliver affordable, safe and low single-dose medicines to treat malaria.


Plasmodium spp; antimalarial; enzymes; inhibitor; malaria; molecular target.

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