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Targeting Kinetoplastid and Apicomplexan Thymidylate Biosynthesis as an Antiprotozoal Strategy

AuthorsValente, Maria; Vidal, Antonio E.; González-Pacanowska, D.
KeywordsThymidylate biosynthesis
drug target
anti protozoal
Issue Date2019
PublisherBentham Science Publishers
CitationCurrent Medicinal Chemistry
AbstractKinetoplastid and apicomplexan parasites comprise a group of protozoans responsible for human diseases, with a serious impact on human health and the socioeconomic growth of developing countries. Chemotherapy is the main option to control these pathogenic organisms and nucleotide metabolism is considered a promising area for the provision of antimicrobial therapeutic targets. Impairment of thymidylate (dTMP) biosynthesis severely diminishes the viability of parasitic protozoa and the absence of enzymatic activities specifically involved in the formation of dTMP (e.g. dUTPase, thymidylate synthase, dihydrofolate reductase or thymidine kinase) results in decreased deoxythymidine triphosphate (dTTP) levels and the so-called thymineless death. In this process, the ratio of deoxyuridine triphosphate (dUTP) versus dTTP in the cellular nucleotide pool has a crucial role. A high dUTP/dTTP ratio leads to uracil misincorporation into DNA, the activation of DNA repair pathways, DNA fragmentation and eventually cell death. The essential character of dTMP synthesis has stimulated interest in the identification and development of drugs that specifically block the biochemical steps involved in thymine nucleotide formation. Here, we review the available literature in relation to drug discovery studies targeting thymidylate biosynthesis in kinetoplastid (genera Trypanosoma and Leishmania) and apicomplexan (Plasmodium spp and Toxoplasma gondii) protozoans. The most relevant findings concerning novel inhibitory molecules with antiparasitic activity against these human pathogens are presented herein.
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