Title page for ETD etd-05252009-220942


Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Burger, Pieter Buys
Email pieter.burger@gmail.com
URN etd-05252009-220942
Document Title Development of a dynamic receptor-based pharmacophore model of Plasmodium falciparum spermidine synthase for selective inhibitor identification
Degree PhD
Department Biochemistry
Supervisor
Advisor Name Title
Dr L M Birkholtz Co-Supervisor
Prof F Joubert Co-Supervisor
Prof J M Briggs Co-Supervisor
Prof A I Louw Supervisor
Keywords
  • spermidine synthase
  • Plasmodium falciparum
Date 2009-04-15
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Malaria affects the daily lives of more than 2 billion people worldwide and has been estimated to result in 300-500 million clinical cases annually leading to approximately 2 million deaths, mainly caused by the most virulent malaria species, Plasmodium falciparum. The lack of a vaccine and the rapid emergence and spread of drug resistant strains of P. falciparum, necessitate the development of new antimalarials and the identification and validation of new parasite-specific therapeutic targets.

Numerous studies directed at interfering with the polyamine biosynthetic pathway in P. falciparum have shown its potential as a target for the development of a new class of antimalarials. The essential nature of P. falciparum spermidine synthase (PfSpdSyn), an enzyme in the polyamine pathway of the parasite warranted the further investigation to find novel lead compounds. The high cost and attrition rate of drug discovery has resulted in the implementation of smart drug discovery platforms in both academia and industry. The strategy implemented in this study involved the development of a dynamic receptor-based pharmacophore model (DPM) of PfSpdSyn complemented by a knowledge-based rational design strategy.

The use of pharmacophore models to identify lead compounds has become increasingly popular over the last decade and has been shown to be a reliable method in the drug discovery process. The development of a DPM allows for the incorporation of protein exibility within the drug design process. This methodology results in a wealth of information of the chemical space of the active site and was incorporated in designing new inhibitors against PfSpdSyn using a knowledge-based rational design strategy. The active site of PfSpdSyn was subdivided into four binding regions (DPM1-DPM4) to allow for the identication of fragments binding within these specic binding regions. DPMs representative of the chemical characteristics of each binding region were constructed and subsequently screened against the drug-like subset of the ZINC database. From the screens a total of nine compounds were selected for in vitro testing, complementing each other in exploring specific active site binding characteristics. From these compounds a new lead compound N-(3-aminopropyl)-cyclohexylamine (NAC; Ki 2.8 μM) was identified for PfSpdSyn. NAC was specifically designed to bind in both the putrescine and decarboxylated adenosylmethionine cavities by chemically bridging the catalytic center and was confirmed by kinetic studies. NAC shows great potential for lead optimization to increase its binding affinity. This study then paves the way for lead optimization and possibly the development of a novel antimalarial.

The development of a DPM for PfSpdSyn has seen the establishment of this methodology in the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Unit, Department of Biochemistry at the University of Pretoria. It can be concluded that the development of a DPM complemented by a knowledge-based rational design strategy is an effective approach for the identification of novel lead compounds in the presence of a 3D target structure. This paves the way for more studies on both malaria and other drug targets using DPMs.

Copyright 2008, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria

Please cite as follows:

Burger, PB 2008, Development of a dynamic receptor-based pharmacophore model of Plasmodium falciparum spermidine synthase for selective inhibitor identification, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05252009-220942 / >

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