Antimalarial drug resistance has nowadays reached each drug class on the market for longer than 10 years. The focus on validated, classical targets has severe drawbacks. If resistance is arising or already present in the field, a target-based High-Throughput-Screening (HTS) with the respective target involves the risk of identifying compounds to which field populations are also resistant. Thus, it appears that a rewarding albeit demanding challenge for target-based drug discovery is to identify novel drug targets. In the search for new targets for antimalarials, we have investigated the biosynthesis of hypusine, present in eukaryotic initiation factor 5A (eIF5A). Deoxyhypusine hydroxylase (DOHH), which has recently been cloned and expressed from P. falciparum, completes the modification of eIF5A through hydroxylation. Here, we assess the present druggable data on Plasmodium DOHH and its human counterpart. Plasmodium DOHH arose from a cyanobacterial phycobilin lyase by loss of function. It has a low FASTA score of 27 to its human counterpart. The HEAT-like repeats present in the parasite DOHH differ in number and amino acid identity from its human ortholog and might be of considerable interest for inhibitor design.
- deoxyhypusine hydroxylase
- drug target