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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1997 Feb;84(2):271-80.

An antibiotic, ascofuranone, specifically inhibits respiration and in vitro growth of long slender bloodstream forms of Trypanosoma brucei brucei.

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Department of Biochemistry, Niigata College of Pharmacy, Japan.


Ascofuranone, a prenylphenol antibiotic isolated from a phytopathogenic fungus, Ascochyta visiae, strongly inhibited both glucose-dependent cellular respiration and glycerol-3-phosphate-dependent mitochondrial O2 consumption of long slender bloodstream forms of Trypanosoma brucei brucei. This inhibition was suggested to be due to inhibition of the mitochondrial electron-transport system, composed of glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (EC and plant-like alternative oxidase. Ascofuranone noncompetitively inhibited the reduced coenzyme Q1-dependent O2 uptake of the mitochondria with respect to ubiquinol (Ki = 2.38 nM). Therefore, the susceptible site is deduced to be the ubiquinone redox machinery which links the two enzyme activities. Further, ascofuranone in combination with glycerol completely blocked energy production, and potently inhibited the in vitro growth of the parasite. Our findings suggest that ascofuranone might be a promising candidate for the chemotherapeutic agents of African trypanosomiasis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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