Title page for ETD etd-10072009-162558

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Reeksting, Shaun Bernard
URN etd-10072009-162558
Document Title Metabolomic analyses of the malaria parasite after inhibition of polyamine biosynthesis
Degree MSc
Department Biochemistry
Advisor Name Title
Prof A I Louw Co-Supervisor
Dr L Birkholtz Supervisor
  • malaria parasite
  • PfSpdSyn inhibitors
  • PfODC-AdoMetDC inhibition
  • polyamine biosynthesis
Date 2009-09-02
Availability unrestricted

Malaria, a disease transmitted by female mosquitoes, has plagued the world for many centuries. The disease is associated with high mortality rates, severe poverty, and economic burden. These are factors which hamper effective eradication of the disease. Drug resistant forms of the parasite have caused increasing concerns and questioned the longevity of current effective antimalarials. Efforts are therefore aimed at the identification and exploitation of essential parasite proteins as potential drug targets. The polyamine pathway of Plasmodium falciparum is an exploitable pathway which contains two distinct, chemically validated drug targets; a bifunctional PfAdoMetDC-ODC protein and PfSpdSyn. These enzymes ensure intricate regulation of polyamine production and the pathway contains various distinctive features which could be selectively targetable from the mammalian counterpart pathways. However, inhibition of polyamine production through the use of specific enzyme inhibitors has revealed various compensatory responses that negate the efficacy of these inhibitors. An account is given of the metabolomic fluctuations in the parasite during inhibition of polyamine biosynthesis. From co-inhibited P. falciparum extracts, it could be demonstrated that the characteristic growth-arrest coincided with the depletion in spermidine, the metabolic product of PfSpdSyn. The co-inhibition strategy therefore emphasised the importance of spermidine biosynthesis by PfSpdSyn. Moreover, adenosyl-related metabolite levels were not disrupted during polyamine depletion, supporting the notion that these metabolites are intricately recycled within the parasites. The identified metabolic compensatory mechanisms have further potential for exploitation, and can strategically be combined with polyamine biosynthesis inhibition to ensure parasitic attenuation. In addition, several novel inhibitors were previously computationally identified, based on a dynamic receptor-based pharmacophore model of PfSpdSyn. The in vitro inhibiting activity of these compounds was determined against PfSpdSyn. Results from the in vitro experiments supported the in silico predictions, and emphasized the supportive role of pharmacophore modelling has for the identification of novel inhibitors. The research contributed in understanding parasitic polyamine metabolite regulation, and will aid in the future optimization of therapeutic strategies, aimed at exploitation of the polyamine pathway as a potential antimalarial drug target.

Copyright 2009, 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:

Reeksting, SB, P 2009, Metabolomic analyses of the malaria parasite after inhibition of polyamine biosynthesis, MSc dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/ etd-10072009-162558/>


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