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Analyzing structure, function and dynamics of vitamin B6 biosynthesis enzymes from Plasmodium vivax

Grant number: 19/26428-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): February 05, 2021
Effective date (End): October 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biophysics - Molecular Biophysics
Principal Investigator:Alessandro Silva Nascimento
Grantee:Angélica Luana Carrillo Barra
Supervisor: Christian Jochen Betzel
Host Institution: Instituto de Física de São Carlos (IFSC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Research place: Universität Hamburg (UHH), Germany  
Associated to the scholarship:18/21213-6 - Structural characterization of vitamin B1 and B6 synthesis pathway enzymes in Plasmodium falciparum and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, BP.DD


Infectious diseases are one of the leading causes of death in the world, and the number of antimicrobial-resistant infectious is continuously increasing. Plasmodium sp. is among the main multidrug-resistant pathogens making malaria treatment difficult. According to the World Health Organization, malaria is responsible for 435 thousand deaths per year worldwide and 40% of the cases are due to Plasmodium vivax. These data highlight the urgency to identify novel therapeutic targets for antimicrobial development. The advancement of complete genome sequencing allows the identification of enzymes and pathways that are preserved in many pathogens but absent in humans and, thus, are desirable targets for antimicrobial drug discovery. An example of a pathogen-specific pathway is the vitamin B6 (pyridoxal phosphate) de novo synthesis pathway. Pyridoxal 5-phosphate (PLP) is an essential cofactor for various enzymes in all organisms which are involved in the biosynthesis of amino compounds such as amino acids. A complex of two enzymes, Pdx1 and Pdx2, performs the synthesis of PLP. Pdx2 has a glutaminase activity and delivers an ammonia molecule to Pdx1, which synthesizes PLP using ammonia, ribose 5-phosphate and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate. Based on that, this project proposes the structural investigation of the plasmodial PLP synthase complex as a possible target for prodrugs discovery against P. vivax. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
BARRA, ANGELICA LUANA C.; ULLAH, NAJEEB; MORAO, LUANA G.; WRENGER, CARSTEN; BETZEL, CHRISTIAN; NASCIMENTO, ALESSANDRO S.. Structural Dynamics and Perspectives of Vitamin B6 Biosynthesis Enzymes in Plasmodium: Advances and Open Questions. FRONTIERS IN CELLULAR AND INFECTION MICROBIOLOGY, v. 11, . (18/21213-6, 19/20219-3, 20/03983-9, 15/13684-0, 19/26428-3, 15/26722-8, 17/03966-4)

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