Malaria is a tropical parasitological disease that remains a global health problem, causing ~.8 million deaths and 250 million cases annually. Expanded control and treatment programs in the past decade have reduced the incidence of the disease and lead to the call for efforts to eliminate, possibly even eradicate, malaria. To do this new strategies are needed that target the sexual stages of the parasites, which are responsible for disease transmission. The current recommended chemotherapy for malaria does not effectively kill mature gametocytes, allowing malaria to be transmitted for more than a week after the clearance of asexual parasites. Previous drug screens used assays that only detected asexual replication and therefore did not monitor activity against gametocytes. We have recently developed a gametocytocidal assay that can be used to screen against both early and late stage gametocytes. The goal of this exploratory R21 proposal is twofold 1) to analyze to the gametocytocidal activity of novel compounds recently found to kill asexual parasites in a high throughput screen and 2) to identify metabolic pathways that are essential for the propagation and spread of gametocytes by screening a library of pharmacologically active inhibitors with known targets. Together these approaches should identify classes of compounds that can be targeted for further drug development, as well as advance our understanding of gametocyte metabolism and facilitate the design of effective control strategies.

Public Health Relevance

The long term goal of this research is to develop drugs that can block malaria transmission from one person to another. Forty percent of the world's population lives in malaria endemic areas and the commonly used antimalarials are not effective against the stages of the parasite that are responsible for the spread of the disease. Drugs that effectively reduce the transmission of malaria will decrease morbidity and mortality, as well as contribute to malaria elimination and eradication efforts.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Type
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
5R21AI101396-02
Application #
8496707
Study Section
Pathogenic Eukaryotes Study Section (PTHE)
Program Officer
Rogers, Martin J
Project Start
2012-07-01
Project End
2014-06-30
Budget Start
2013-07-01
Budget End
2014-06-30
Support Year
2
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$166,263
Indirect Cost
$48,763
Name
Loyola University Chicago
Department
Biology
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
074368911
City
Chicago
State
IL
Country
United States
Zip Code
60660
Sun, Wei; Tanaka, Takeshi Q; Magle, Crystal T et al. (2014) Chemical signatures and new drug targets for gametocytocidal drug development. Sci Rep 4:3743
Tanaka, Takeshi Q; Dehdashti, Seameen J; Nguyen, Dac-Trung et al. (2013) A quantitative high throughput assay for identifying gametocytocidal compounds. Mol Biochem Parasitol 188:20-5