New Compounds with Bioisosteric Replacement of Classic Choline Kinase Inhibitors Show Potent Antiplasmodial Activity

Pharmaceutics. 2021 Nov 2;13(11):1842. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics13111842.


In the fight against Malaria, new strategies need to be developed to avoid resistance of the parasite to pharmaceutics and other prevention barriers. Recently, a Host Directed Therapy approach based on the suppression of the starting materials uptake from the host by the parasite has provided excellent results. In this article, we propose the synthesis of bioisosteric compounds that are capable of inhibiting Plasmodium falciparum Choline Kinase and therefore to reduce choline uptake, which is essential for the development of the parasite. Of the 41 bioisosteric compounds reported herein, none showed any influence of the linker on the antimalarial and enzyme inhibitory activity, whereas an effect of the type of cationic heads used could be observed. SARs determined that the thienopyrimidine substituted in 4 by a pyrrolidine is the best scaffold, independently of the chosen linker. The decrease in lipophilicity seems to improve the antimalarial activity but to cause an opposite effect on the inhibition of the enzyme. While potent compounds with similar good inhibitory values have been related to the proposed mechanism of action, some of them still show discrepancies and further studies are needed to determine their specific molecular target.

Keywords: antimalarial drug; choline kinase inhibition.