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1.  Activity of Praziquantel Enantiomers and Main Metabolites against Schistosoma mansoni 
A racemic mixture of R and S enantiomers of praziquantel (PZQ) is currently the treatment of choice for schistosomiasis. Though the S enantiomer and the metabolites are presumed to contribute only a little to the activity of the drug, in-depth side-by-side studies are lacking. The aim of this study was to investigate the in vitro activities of PZQ and its main metabolites, namely, R- and S-cis- and R- and S-trans-4′-hydroxypraziquantel, against adult worms and newly transformed schistosomula (NTS). Additionally, we explored the in vivo activity and hepatic shift (i.e., the migration of the worms to the liver) produced by each PZQ enantiomer in mice. Fifty percent inhibitory concentrations of R-PZQ, S-PZQ, and R-trans- and R-cis-4′-hydroxypraziquantel of 0.02, 5.85, 4.08, and 2.42 μg/ml, respectively, for adult S. mansoni were determined in vitro. S-trans- and S-cis-4′-hydroxypraziquantel were not active at 100 μg/ml. These results are consistent with microcalorimetry data and studies with NTS. In vivo, single 400-mg/kg oral doses of R-PZQ and S-PZQ achieved worm burden reductions of 100 and 19%, respectively. Moreover, worms treated in vivo with S-PZQ displayed an only transient hepatic shift and returned to the mesenteric veins within 24 h. Our data confirm that R-PZQ is the main effector molecule, while S-PZQ and the metabolites do not play a significant role in the antischistosomal properties of PZQ.
PMCID: PMC4135865  PMID: 24982093
2.  Open source drug discovery – A limited tutorial 
Parasitology  2013;141(1):148-157.
Open science is a new concept for the practice of experimental laboratory-based research, such as drug discovery. The authors have recently gained experience in how to run such projects and here describe some straightforward steps others may wish to take towards more openness in their own research programmes. Existing and inexpensive online tools can solve many challenges, while some psychological barriers to the free sharing of all data and ideas are more substantial.
PMCID: PMC3884843  PMID: 23985301
Drug discovery; open source; open science; schistosomiasis; malaria; collaboration
3.  Characterization of Aquifex aeolicus 4-diphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-d-erythritol kinase – ligand recognition in a template for antimicrobial drug discovery 
The Febs Journal  2008;275(11):2779-2794.
4-Diphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-d-erythritol kinase (IspE) catalyses the ATP-dependent conversion of 4-diphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-d-erythritol (CDPME) to 4-diphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-d-erythritol 2-phosphate with the release of ADP. This reaction occurs in the non-mevalonate pathway of isoprenoid precursor biosynthesis and because it is essential in important microbial pathogens and absent from mammals it represents a potential target for anti-infective drugs. We set out to characterize the biochemical properties, determinants of molecular recognition and reactivity of IspE and report the cloning and purification of recombinant Aquifex aeolicus IspE (AaIspE), kinetic data, metal ion, temperature and pH dependence, crystallization and structure determination of the enzyme in complex with CDP, CDPME and ADP. In addition, 4-fluoro-3,5-dihydroxy-4-methylpent-1-enylphosphonic acid (compound 1) was designed to mimic a fragment of the substrate, a synthetic route to 1 was elucidated and the complex structure determined. Surprisingly, this ligand occupies the binding site for the ATP α-phosphate not the binding site for the methyl-d-erythritol moiety of CDPME. Gel filtration and analytical ultracentrifugation indicate that AaIspE is a monomer in solution. The enzyme displays the characteristic α/β galacto-homoserine-mevalonate-phosphomevalonate kinase fold, with the catalytic centre positioned in a deep cleft between the ATP- and CDPME-binding domains. Comparisons indicate a high degree of sequence conservation on the IspE active site across bacterial species, similarities in structure, specificity of substrate recognition and mechanism. The biochemical characterization, attainment of well-ordered and reproducible crystals and the models resulting from the analyses provide reagents and templates to support the structure-based design of broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents.
PMCID: PMC2655357  PMID: 18422643
enzyme–ligand complex; GHMP kinase; isoprenoid biosynthesis; molecular recognition; non-mevalonate pathway

Results 1-3 (3)