Peptide Inhibition of Topoisomerase IB from Plasmodium falciparum

Mol Biol Int. 2011;2011:854626. doi: 10.4061/2011/854626. Epub 2011 May 4.


Control of diseases inflicted by protozoan parasites such as Leishmania, Trypanosoma, and Plasmodium, which pose a serious threat to human health worldwide, depends on a rather small number of antiparasite drugs, of which many are toxic and/or inefficient. Moreover, the increasing occurrence of drug-resistant parasites emphasizes the need for new and effective antiprotozoan drugs. In the current study, we describe a synthetic peptide, WRWYCRCK, with inhibitory effect on the essential enzyme topoisomerase I from the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium falciparum. The peptide inhibits specifically the transition from noncovalent to covalent DNA binding of P. falciparum topoisomerase I, while it does not affect the ligation step of catalysis. A mechanistic explanation for this inhibition is provided by molecular docking analyses. Taken together the presented results suggest that synthetic peptides may represent a new class of potential antiprotozoan drugs.