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      A quantitative systems pharmacology (QSP) model for Pneumocystis treatment in mice

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          The yeast-like fungi Pneumocystis, resides in lung alveoli and can cause a lethal infection known as Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) in hosts with impaired immune systems. Current therapies for PCP, such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX), suffer from significant treatment failures and a multitude of serious side effects. Novel therapeutic approaches (i.e. newly developed drugs or novel combinations of available drugs) are needed to treat this potentially lethal opportunistic infection. Quantitative Systems Pharmacological (QSP) models promise to aid in the development of novel therapies by integrating available pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) knowledge to predict the effects of new treatment regimens.


          In this work, we constructed and independently validated PK modules of a number of drugs with available pharmacokinetic data. Characterized by simple structures and well constrained parameters, these PK modules could serve as a convenient tool to summarize and predict pharmacokinetic profiles. With the currently accepted hypotheses on the life stages of Pneumocystis, we also constructed a PD module to describe the proliferation, transformation, and death of Pneumocystis. By integrating the PK module and the PD module, the QSP model was constrained with observed levels of asci and trophic forms following treatments with multiple drugs. Furthermore, the temporal dynamics of the QSP model were validated with corresponding data.


          We developed and validated a QSP model that integrates available data and promises to facilitate the design of future therapies against PCP.

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          Most cited references 42

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          Structural basis for the interaction of antibiotics with the peptidyl transferase centre in eubacteria.

          Ribosomes, the site of protein synthesis, are a major target for natural and synthetic antibiotics. Detailed knowledge of antibiotic binding sites is central to understanding the mechanisms of drug action. Conversely, drugs are excellent tools for studying the ribosome function. To elucidate the structural basis of ribosome-antibiotic interactions, we determined the high-resolution X-ray structures of the 50S ribosomal subunit of the eubacterium Deinococcus radiodurans, complexed with the clinically relevant antibiotics chloramphenicol, clindamycin and the three macrolides erythromycin, clarithromycin and roxithromycin. We found that antibiotic binding sites are composed exclusively of segments of 23S ribosomal RNA at the peptidyl transferase cavity and do not involve any interaction of the drugs with ribosomal proteins. Here we report the details of antibiotic interactions with the components of their binding sites. Our results also show the importance of putative Mg+2 ions for the binding of some drugs. This structural analysis should facilitate rational drug design.
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            Sulfonamide resistance: mechanisms and trends.

             O Sköld (2000)
            Sulfonamides were the first drugs acting selectively on bacteria which could be used systemically. Today they are infrequently used, in part due to widespread resistance. The target of sulfonamides, and the basis for their selectivity, is the enzyme dihydropteroate synthase (DHPS) in the folic acid pathway. Mammalian cells are not dependent on endogenous synthesis of folic acid and generally lack DHPS. Instead, they have a folate uptake system which most prokaryotes lack. Laboratory mutants in the dhps (folP) gene can be easily isolated and show a trade off between sulfonamide resistance and DHPS enzyme performance. Clinical resistant mutants, however, have additional compensatory mutations in DHPS that allow it to function normally. In many pathogenic bacteria sulfonamide resistance is mediated by the horizontal transfer of foreign folP or parts of it. Clinical resistance in gram-negative enteric bacteria is plasmid-borne and is effected by genes encoding alternative drug-resistance variants of the DHPS enzymes. Two such genes, sul1 and sul2, have been sequenced and are found at roughly the same frequency among clinical isolates. Remarkably, the corresponding DHPS enzymes show pronounced insensitivity to sulfonamides but normal binding to the p -aminobenzoic acid substrate, despite the close structural similarity between substrate and inhibitor. Copyright 2000 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.
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              HIV-associated Pneumocystis pneumonia.

              During the past 30 years, major advances have been made in our understanding of HIV/AIDS and Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP), but significant gaps remain. Pneumocystis is classified as a fungus and is host-species specific, but an understanding of its reservoir, mode of transmission, and pathogenesis is incomplete. PCP remains a frequent AIDS-defining diagnosis and is a frequent opportunistic pneumonia in the United States and in Europe, but comparable epidemiologic data from other areas of the world that are burdened with HIV/AIDS are limited. Pneumocystis cannot be cultured, and bronchoscopy with bronchoalveolar lavage is the gold standard procedure to diagnose PCP, but noninvasive diagnostic tests and biomarkers show promise that must be validated. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole is the recommended first-line treatment and prophylaxis regimen, but putative trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole drug resistance is an emerging concern. The International HIV-associated Opportunistic Pneumonias (IHOP) study was established to address these knowledge gaps. This review describes recent advances in the pathogenesis, epidemiology, diagnosis, and management of HIV-associated PCP and ongoing areas of clinical and translational research that are part of the IHOP study and the Longitudinal Studies of HIV-associated Lung Infections and Complications (Lung HIV).

                Author and article information

                (513) 558-6156 , ,
                BMC Syst Biol
                BMC Syst Biol
                BMC Systems Biology
                BioMed Central (London )
                17 July 2018
                17 July 2018
                : 12
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2179 9593, GRID grid.24827.3b, Department of Pharmacology and Systems Physiology, College of Medicine, , University of Cincinnati, ; 231 Albert Sabin Way, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0576 USA
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2179 9593, GRID grid.24827.3b, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, , University of Cincinnati, ; Cincinnati, OH USA
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0000 9025 8099, GRID grid.239573.9, Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, , Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, ; Cincinnati, OH USA
                © The Author(s). 2018

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funded by: FundRef, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs;
                Award ID: I01BX000523
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                © The Author(s) 2018


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