Effects of camptothecin, a topoisomerase I inhibitor, on Plasmodium falciparum

Biochem Pharmacol. 1998 Mar 1;55(5):709-11. doi: 10.1016/s0006-2952(97)00556-x.


Currently, the treatment of falciparum malaria is seriously compromised by spreading drug resistance. We studied the effects of camptothecin, a potent and specific topoisomerase I inhibitor, on erythrocytic malaria parasites in vitro. In Plasmodium falciparum, camptothecin trapped protein-DNA complexes, inhibited nucleic acid biosynthesis, and was cytotoxic. These results provide proof for the concept that topoisomerase I is a vulnerable target for new antimalarial drug development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Camptothecin / pharmacology*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology
  • Plasmodium falciparum / drug effects*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / enzymology
  • Topoisomerase I Inhibitors*


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Topoisomerase I Inhibitors
  • Camptothecin