Functional consequences of perturbing polyamine metabolism in the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum

Abstract

Inhibition of polyamine biosynthesis and/or the perturbation of polyamine functionality have been exploited with success against parasitic diseases such as Trypanosoma infections. However, when the classical polyamine biosynthesis inhibitor, α-difluoromethylornithine, is used against the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, it results in only a cytostatic growth arrest. Polyamine metabolism in this parasite has unique properties not shared by any other organism. These include the bifunctional arrangement of the catalytic decarboxylases and an apparent absence of the typical polyamine interconversion pathways implying different mechanisms for the regulation of polyamine homeostasis that includes the uptake of exogenous polyamines at least in vitro. These properties make polyamine metabolism an enticing drug target in P. falciparum provided that the physiological and functional consequences of polyamine metabolism perturbation are understood. This review highlights our current understanding of the biological consequences of inhibition of the biosynthetic enzymes in the polyamine pathway in P. falciparum as revealed by several global analytical approaches. Ultimately, the evidence suggests that polyamine metabolism in P. falciparum is a validated drug target worth exploiting.

DOI: 10.1007/s00726-009-0424-7

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@article{Clark2009FunctionalCO, title={Functional consequences of perturbing polyamine metabolism in the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum}, author={Kate R.M. Clark and Jandeli Niemand and Shaun Reeksting and Silvio Smit and A. C. van Brummelen and Monique J Williams and A. I. Louw and L.-M. Birkholtz}, journal={Amino Acids}, year={2009}, volume={38}, pages={633-644} }