Research Article

Validation of the protein kinase PfCLK3 as a multistage cross-species malarial drug target

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Science  30 Aug 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6456, eaau1682
DOI: 10.1126/science.aau1682

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Targeting parasite's protein kinase

Malaria elimination goals are constantly eroded by the challenge of emerging drug and insecticide resistance. Alam et al. have taken established drug targets—CLK protein kinases involved in regulation of RNA splicing—and investigated how inhibition of the parasite's enzymes blocks completion of its complex life cycle. They identified an inhibitor of the parasite's CLK protein kinase that was 100-fold less active against the most closely related human protein kinase and effective at clearing rodent malaria parasites. Not only does this compound halt the development of sexual stages but it also limits transmission to the mosquito vector of the parasite, a key requirement for malaria drugs.

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