Research Summary: Characterization of Two Malaria Parasite Organelle Translation Elongation Factor G Proteins: The Likely Targets of the Anti-Malarial Fusidic Acid


Malaria parasites harbour two organelles with bacteria-like metabolic processes that are the targets of many anti-bacterial drugs. One such drug is fusidic acid, which inhibits the translation component elongation factor G. The response of P. falciparum to fusidic acid was characterised using extended SYBR-Green based drug trials. This revealed that fusidic acid kills in vitro cultured P. falciparum parasites by immediately blocking parasite development. Two bacterial-type protein translation elongation factor G genes are identified as likely targets of fusidic acid. Sequence analysis suggests that these proteins function in the mitochondria and apicoplast and both should be sensitive to fusidic acid. Microscopic examination of protein-reporter fusions confirm the prediction that one elongation factor G is a component of parasite mitochondria whereas the second is a component of the relict plastid or apicoplast. The presence of two putative targets for a single inhibitory compound emphasizes the potential of elongation factor G as a drug target in malaria.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 10-June-2011

Author(s): Johnson R., McFadden G., Goodman C.


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