Research ArticleMalaria

Identifying purine nucleoside phosphorylase as the target of quinine using cellular thermal shift assay

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Science Translational Medicine  02 Jan 2019:
Vol. 11, Issue 473, eaau3174
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aau3174

Defining drug targets in malaria

Different classes of malaria drugs have been used for decades, even though the mechanisms of action have never been elucidated. To identify antimalarial drug targets, Dziekan et al. developed a protocol combining mass spectrometry and cellular thermal shift assay. The assay uses parasite lysate and intact infected red blood cells and was able to positively identify two known drug targets. They then investigated targets for quinine and mefloquine, revealing purine nucleoside phosphorylase as the top hit. Their results not only identify the likely target of these common drugs but also showcase an assay that could be widely used in antimalarial drug research.