A target safety assessment of the potential toxicological risks of targeting plasmepsin IX/X for the treatment of malaria
The aspartic proteases plasmepsin IX/X are important antimalarial drug targets due to their specificity to the malaria parasite and their vital role as mediators of disease progression. Focusing on parasite-specific targets where no human homologue exists reduces the possibility of on-target drug toxicity. However, there is a risk of toxicity driven by inadequate selectivity for plasmepsins IX/X in Plasmodium over related mammalian aspartic proteases. Of these, CatD/E may be of most toxicological relevance as CatD is a ubiquitous lysosomal enzyme present in most cell types and CatE is found in the gut and in erythrocytes, the clinically significant site of malarial infection. Based on mammalian aspartic protease physiology and adverse drug reactions (ADRs) to FDA-approved human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) aspartic protease inhibitors, we predicted several potential toxicities including β-cell and congenital abnormalities, hypotension, hypopigmentation, hyperlipidaemia, increased infection risk and respiratory, renal, gastrointestinal, dermatological, and other epithelial tissue toxicities. These ADRs to the HIV treatments are likely to be a result of host aspartic protease inhibition due a lack of specificity for the HIV protease; plasmepsins are much more closely related to human CatD than to HIV proteinase. Plasmepsin IX/X inhibition presents an opportunity to specifically target Plasmodium as an effective antimalarial treatment, providing adequate selectivity can be obtained. Potential plasmepsin IX/X inhibitors should be assayed for inhibitory activity against the main human aspartic proteases and particularly CatD/E. An investigative rodent study conducted early in drug discovery would serve as an initial risk assessment of the potential hazards identified.
By Cynara Livera|2023-06-21T17:30:08+01:00January 21st, 2022|Comments Off on A target safety assessment of the potential toxicological risks of targeting plasmepsin IX/X for the treatment of malaria