Comparative folate metabolism in humans and malaria parasites (part II): activities as yet untargeted or specific to Plasmodium.
Nzila A., Ward SA., Marsh K., Sims PFG., Hyde JE.
The folate pathway represents a powerful target for combating rapidly dividing systems such as cancer cells, bacteria and malaria parasites. Whereas folate metabolism in mammalian cells and bacteria has been studied extensively, it is understood less well in malaria parasites. In two articles, we attempt to reconstitute the malaria folate pathway based on available information from mammalian and microbial systems, in addition to Plasmodium-genome-sequencing projects. In part I, we focused on folate enzymes that are already used clinically as anticancer drug targets or that are under development in drug-discovery programs. In this article, we discuss mammalian folate enzymes that have not yet been exploited as potential drug targets, and enzymes that function in the de novo folate-synthesis pathway of the parasite--a particularly attractive area of attack because of its absence from the mammalian host.