The glucose transporter PfHT1 is an antimalarial target of the HIV protease inhibitor lopinavir

Thomas E. Kraft, Christopher Armstrong, Monique R. Heitmeier, Audrey R. Odom, Paul W. Hruz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Malaria and HIV infection are coendemic in a large portion of the world and remain a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Growing resistance of Plasmodium species to existing therapies has increased the need for new therapeutic approaches. The Plasmodium glucose transporter PfHT is known to be essential for parasite growth and survival. We have previously shown that HIV protease inhibitors (PIs) act as antagonists of mammalian glucose transporters. While the PI lopinavir is known to have antimalarial activity, the mechanism of action is unknown. We report here that lopinavir blocks glucose uptake into isolated malaria parasites at therapeutically relevant drug levels. Malaria parasites depend on a constant supply of glucose as their primary source of energy, and decreasing the available concentration of glucose leads to parasite death. We identified the malarial glucose transporter PfHT as a target for inhibition by lopinavir that leads to parasite death. This discovery provides a mechanistic basis for the antimalarial effect of lopinavir and provides a direct target for novel drug design with utility beyond the HIV-infected population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6203-6209
Number of pages7
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Volume59
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

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