Antimalarial drugs development could be based on enzyme reaction in plants

February 4, 2022
Antimalarial drugs development could be based on enzyme reaction in plants

An enzyme critical to removing chromosome tangles that occur in the cell nucleus of plants may be key to developing anti-malarial drugs in the future. An international team of researchers led by those from the John Innes Centre (JIC) in UK, studied an enzyme known as DNA topoisomerase VI (topo VI) which performs this function in archaea, a type of single-celled organism without a nucleus.

The removal of chromosome tangles by topo VI enables the process of endoreduplication, or the doubling of DNA content. Endoreduplication is the source of polyploidy, where a plant has multiple sets of chromosomes. Polyploidy plays a major role in plant breeding.

“Our study shows that topo VI in plants functions to remove chromosome tangles that occur during the endoreduplication process. This potentially explains its presence in plants where during endoreduplication, entanglements are most likely to occur,” said JIC postdoctoral scientist Dr. Shannon McKie.

What is more interesting is that topo VI is only found in plants and parasites such as malaria.

The study, which used a novel combination of biochemistry and single-molecule analysis (using magnetic tweezers), may provide valuable insight into the role of topo VI in plasmodial parasites and suggests that the enzyme could be a target for anti-malarial drugs.

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