Characterization of potential drug targets farnesyl diphosphate synthase and geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthase in Schistosoma mansoni

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2013 Dec;57(12):5969-76. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00699-13. Epub 2013 Sep 16.


Schistosomiasis affects over 200 million people worldwide, with over 200,000 deaths annually. Currently, praziquantel is the only drug available against schistosomiasis. We report here that Schistosoma mansoni farnesyl diphosphate synthase (SmFPPS) and geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthase (SmGGPPS) are potential drug targets for the treatment of schistosomiasis. We expressed active, recombinant SmFPPS and SmGGPPS for subsequent kinetic characterization and testing against a variety of bisphosphonate inhibitors. Recombinant SmFPPS was found to be a soluble 44.2-kDa protein, while SmGGPPS was a soluble 38.3-kDa protein. Characterization of the substrate utilization of the two enzymes indicates that they have overlapping substrate specificities. Against SmFPPS, several bisphosphonates had 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50s) in the low micromolar to nanomolar range; these inhibitors had significantly less activity against SmGGPPS. Several lipophilic bisphosphonates were active against ex vivo adult worms, with worm death occurring over 4 to 6 days. These results indicate that FPPS and GGPPS could be of interest in the context of the emerging resistance to praziquantel in schistosomiasis therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Anthelmintics / pharmacology*
  • Diphosphonates / pharmacology*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Geranyltranstransferase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Geranyltranstransferase / genetics
  • Geranyltranstransferase / metabolism
  • Helminth Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Helminth Proteins / genetics
  • Helminth Proteins / metabolism
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Schistosoma mansoni / drug effects*
  • Schistosoma mansoni / enzymology
  • Schistosoma mansoni / growth & development
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Solubility
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Anthelmintics
  • Diphosphonates
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Helminth Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Geranyltranstransferase