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J Biomol Struct Dyn ; : 1-16, 2024 Feb 29.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38424737


Toxoplasma gondii, a worldwide prevalent parasite is responsible for causing toxoplasmosis in almost all warm-blooded animals, including humans. Golgi-resident T. gondii aspartic protease 5 (TgASP5) plays an essential role in the maturation and export of the effector proteins those modulate the host immune system to establish a successful infection. Hence, inhibiting this enzyme can be a possible therapeutic strategy against toxoplasmosis. This is the first report of the detailed structural investigations of the TgASP5 mature enzyme using molecular modeling and an all-atom simulation approach which provide in-depth knowledge of the active site architecture of TgASP5. The analysis of the binding mode of the TEXEL (Toxoplasma EXport Element) substrate to TgASP5 highlighted the importance of the active site residues. Ser505, Ala776 and Tyr689 in the S2 binding pocket are responsible for the specificity towards Arg at the P2 position of TEXEL substrate. The molecular basis of inhibition by the only known inhibitor RRLStatine has been identified, and our results show that it blocks the active site by forming a hydrogen bond with a catalytic aspartate. Besides that, known aspartic protease inhibitors were screened against TgASP5 using docking, MD simulations and MM-PBSA binding energy calculations. The top-ranked inhibitors (SC6, ZY1, QBH) showed higher binding energy than RRLStatine. Understanding the structural basis of substrate recognition and the binding mode of these inhibitors will help to develop potent mechanistic inhibitors against TgASP5. This study will also provide insights into the structural features of pepsin-like aspartic proteases from other apicomplexan parasites for developing antiparasitic agents.Communicated by Ramaswamy H. Sarma.

Curr Res Struct Biol ; 7: 100128, 2024.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38304146


Plasmodium species are causative agents of malaria, a disease that is a serious global health concern. FDA-approved HIV-1 protease inhibitors (HIV-1 PIs) have been reported to be effective in reducing the infection by Plasmodium parasites in the population co-infected with both HIV-1 and malaria. However, the mechanism of HIV-1 PIs in mitigating Plasmodium pathogenesis during malaria/HIV-1 co-infection is not fully understood. In this study we demonstrate that HIV-1 drugs ritonavir (RTV) and lopinavir (LPV) exhibit the highest inhibition activity against plasmepsin II (PMII) and plasmepsin X (PMX) of P. falciparum. Crystal structures of the complexes of PMII with both drugs have been determined. The inhibitors interact with PMII via multiple hydrogen bonding and hydrophobic interactions. The P4 moiety of RTV forms additional interactions compared to LPV and exhibits conformational flexibility in a large S4 pocket of PMII. Our study is also the first to report inhibition of P. falciparum PMX by RTV and the mode of binding of the drug to the PMX active site. Analysis of the crystal structures implies that PMs can accommodate bulkier groups of these inhibitors in their S4 binding pockets. Structurally similar active sites of different vacuolar and non-vacuolar PMs suggest the potential of HIV-1 PIs in targeting these enzymes with differential affinities. Our structural investigations and biochemical data emphasize PMs as crucial targets for repurposing HIV-1 PIs as antimalarial drugs.

Clin Microbiol Infect ; 30(3): 368-374, 2024 Mar.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38081413


OBJECTIVES: To compare COVID-19-associated pulmonary mucormycosis (CAPM) with COVID-19-associated rhino-orbital mucormycosis (CAROM), ascertain factors associated with CAPM among patients with COVID-19, and identify factors associated with 12-week mortality in CAPM. METHODS: We performed a retrospective multicentre cohort study. All study participants had COVID-19. We enrolled CAPM, CAROM, and COVID-19 subjects without mucormycosis (controls; age-matched). We collected information on demography, predisposing factors, and details of COVID-19 illness. Univariable analysis was used to compare CAPM and CAROM. We used multivariable logistic regression to evaluate factors associated with CAPM (with hypoxemia during COVID-19 as the primary exposure) and at 12-week mortality. RESULTS: We included 1724 cases (CAPM [n = 122], CAROM [n = 1602]) and 3911 controls. Male sex, renal transplantation, multimorbidity, neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio, intensive care admission, and cumulative glucocorticoid dose for COVID-19 were significantly higher in CAPM than in CAROM. On multivariable analysis, COVID-19-related hypoxemia (aOR, 2.384; 95% CI, 1.209-4.700), male sex, rural residence, diabetes mellitus, serum C-reactive protein, glucocorticoid, and zinc use during COVID-19 were independently associated with CAPM. CAPM reported a higher 12-week mortality than CAROM (56 of the 107 [52.3%] vs. 413 of the 1356 [30.5%]; p = 0.0001). Hypoxemia during COVID-19 (aOR [95% CI], 3.70 [1.34-10.25]) and Aspergillus co-infection (aOR [95% CI], 5.40 [1.23-23.64]) were independently associated with mortality in CAPM, whereas surgery was associated with better survival. DISCUSSION: CAPM is a distinct entity with a higher mortality than CAROM. Hypoxemia during COVID-19 illness is associated with CAPM. COVID-19 hypoxemia and Aspergillus co-infection were associated with higher mortality in CAPM.

Aspergilosis , COVID-19 , Coinfección , Mucormicosis , Humanos , Masculino , Mucormicosis/complicaciones , Mucormicosis/epidemiología , Estudios Retrospectivos , Estudios de Cohortes , Glucocorticoides , COVID-19/complicaciones , COVID-19/terapia , Factores de Riesgo , India/epidemiología , Hipoxia/complicaciones
Protein Sci ; 31(4): 882-899, 2022 04.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35048450


Plasmodium falciparum plasmepsin X (PfPMX), involved in the invasion and egress of this deadliest malarial parasite, is essential for its survival and hence considered as an important drug target. We report the first crystal structure of PfPMX zymogen containing a novel fold of its prosegment. A unique twisted loop from the prosegment and arginine 244 from the mature enzyme is involved in zymogen inactivation; such mechanism, not previously reported, might be common for apicomplexan proteases similar to PfPMX. The maturation of PfPMX zymogen occurs through cleavage of its prosegment at multiple sites. Our data provide thorough insights into the mode of binding of a substrate and a potent inhibitor 49c to PfPMX. We present molecular details of inactivation, maturation, and inhibition of PfPMX that should aid in the development of potent inhibitors against pepsin-like aspartic proteases from apicomplexan parasites.

Ácido Aspártico Endopeptidasas , Precursores Enzimáticos , Plasmodium falciparum , Proteínas Protozoarias , Ácido Aspártico Endopeptidasas/química , Ácido Aspártico Endopeptidasas/metabolismo , Precursores Enzimáticos/química , Plasmodium falciparum/enzimología , Proteínas Protozoarias/química