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      Natively inhibited Trypanosoma brucei cathepsin B structure determined by using an X-ray laser.

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      Science (New York, N.Y.)

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          Abstract

          The Trypanosoma brucei cysteine protease cathepsin B (TbCatB), which is involved in host protein degradation, is a promising target to develop new treatments against sleeping sickness, a fatal disease caused by this protozoan parasite. The structure of the mature, active form of TbCatB has so far not provided sufficient information for the design of a safe and specific drug against T. brucei. By combining two recent innovations, in vivo crystallization and serial femtosecond crystallography, we obtained the room-temperature 2.1 angstrom resolution structure of the fully glycosylated precursor complex of TbCatB. The structure reveals the mechanism of native TbCatB inhibition and demonstrates that new biomolecular information can be obtained by the "diffraction-before-destruction" approach of x-ray free-electron lasers from hundreds of thousands of individual microcrystals.

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          CrystFEL: a software suite for snapshot serial crystallography

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            N-Myristoyltransferase inhibitors as new leads to treat sleeping sickness

            African sleeping sickness or human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), caused by Trypanosoma brucei spp., is responsible for ~30,000 deaths each year. Available treatments for this neglected disease are poor, with unacceptable efficacy and safety profiles, particularly in the late stage of the disease, when the parasite has infected the central nervous system. Here, we report the validation of a molecular target and discovery of associated lead compounds with potential to address this unmet need. Inhibition of this target, T. brucei N-myristoyltransferase (TbNMT), leads to rapid killing of trypanosomes both in vitro and in vivo and cures trypanosomiasis in mice. These high affinity inhibitors bind into the peptide substrate pocket of the enzyme and inhibit protein N-myristoylation in trypanosomes. The compounds identified have very promising pharmaceutical properties and represent an exciting opportunity to develop oral drugs to treat this devastating disease. Our studies validate TbNMT as a promising therapeutic target for HAT.
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              Human African trypanosomiasis: pharmacological re-engagement with a neglected disease.

              This review discusses the challenges of chemotherapy for human African trypanosomiasis (HAT). The few drugs registered for use against the disease are unsatisfactory for a number of reasons. HAT has two stages. In stage 1 the parasites proliferate in the haemolymphatic system. In stage 2 they invade the central nervous system and brain provoking progressive neurological dysfunction leading to symptoms that include the disrupted sleep wake patterns that give HAT its more common name of sleeping sickness. Targeting drugs to the central nervous system offers many challenges. However, it is the cost of drug development for diseases like HAT, that afflict exclusively people of the world's poorest populations, that has been the principal barrier to new drug development and has led to them becoming neglected. Here we review drugs currently registered for HAT, and also discuss the few compounds progressing through clinical trials. Finally we report on new initiatives that might allow progress to be made in developing new and satisfactory drugs for this terrible disease.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Science
                Science (New York, N.Y.)
                1095-9203
                0036-8075
                Jan 11 2013
                : 339
                : 6116
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Joint Laboratory for Structural Biology of Infection and Inflammation, Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Hamburg, and Institute of Biochemistry, University of Lübeck, at Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron, Notkestrasse 85, 22607 Hamburg, Germany.
                Article
                science.1229663 NIHMS493815
                10.1126/science.1229663
                3786669
                23196907

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