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Peptides that target protein-protein interactions as an anti-parasite strategy


*Corresponding author
Stanford University, School of Medicine, Department of Chemical and Systems Biology, 269 Campus drive, Stanford CA 94305-5174, USA


Parasitic diseases are responsible for significant morbidity and mortality among vulnerable populations in developing countries where poor sanitation and lack of access to health care foster disease transmission. Current drugs are not sustainable for long-term treatment due to high toxicity, resistance issues, prohibitive prices, or inadequate methods of administration. There is an urgent need for new therapeutics that will address these issues. This mini-review discusses the potential of targeting therapeutically relevant protein-protein interactions with peptide inhibitors as anti-parasite drugs.


Protein–protein interactions
Protein–protein interactions (PPIs) are physical contacts established between two or more proteins that can occur in response to biochemical signals. These interactions result in a functional output that is unique to the protein complex. By this general definition, PPIs are intimately involved in almost all biological processes, including inter- and intracellular signal transduction, gene expression, cell proliferation, and programmed cell death. Therefore, PPIs are important phenomena for basic scientific research and are also attractive targets for human therapeutics. The number of characterized PPI targets that are linked to human disease is rapidly increasing and targeting PPIs for drug discovery now constitutes major research efforts in industrial and academic groups alike (1).

Parasitic diseases
In this mini-review, we focus on the potential of inhibiting PPIs to treat diseases caused by parasites. We define parasitic diseases as infections that are transmitted by eukaryotic organisms that spend part of their life cycle residing in human tissue. ...

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