Inhibitors of Plasmodium falciparum methionine aminopeptidase 1b possess antimalarial activity

Xiaochun Chen, Curtis R. Chong, Lirong Shi, Tadashi Yoshimoto, David J. Sullivan, Jun O. Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


With >1 million deaths annually, mostly among children in sub-Saharan Africa, malaria poses one of the most critical challenges in medicine today. Although introduction of the artemisinin class of antimalarial drugs has offered a temporary solution to the problem of drug resistance, new antimalarial drugs are needed to ensure effective control of the disease in the future. Herein, we have investigated members of the methionine aminopeptidase family as potential antimalarial targets. The Plasmodium falciparum methionine aminopeptidase 1b (PfMetAP1b), one of four MetAP proteins encoded in the P. falciparum genome, was cloned, overexpressed, purified, and used to screen a 175,000-compound library for inhibitors. A family of structurally related inhibitors containing a 2-(2-pyridinyl)-pyrimidine core was identified. Structure/activity studies led to the identification of a potent PfMetAP1b inhibitor, XC11, with an IC 50 of 112 nM. XC11 was highly selective for PfMetAP1b and did not exhibit significant cytotoxicity against primary human fibroblasts. Most importantly, XC11 inhibited the proliferation of P. falciparum strains 3D7 [chloroquine (CQ)-sensitive] and Dd2 (multidrug-resistant) in vitro and is active in mouse malaria models for both CQ-sensitive and CQ-resistant strains. These results suggest that PfMetAP1b is a promising target and XC11 is an important lead compound for the development of novel antimalarial drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14548-14553
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number39
StatePublished - Sep 26 2006


  • 2-(2-pyridinyl)-pyrimidine
  • Drug resistance
  • High-throughput screen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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