Background: The spread of artemisinin (ART)-resistant Plasmodium falciparum threatens the control of malaria. Mutations in the propeller domains of P. falciparum Kelch13 (k13) are strongly associated with ART resistance. Ferredoxin (Fd), a component of the ferredoxin/NADP+ reductase (Fd/FNR) redox system, is essential for isoprenoid precursor synthesis in the plasmodial apicoplast, which is important for K13-dependent hemoglobin trafficking and ART activation. Therefore, Fd is an antimalarial drug target and fd mutations may modulate ART sensitivity. We hypothesized that loss of Fd/FNR function enhances the effect of k13 mutation on ART resistance. Methods: In this study, methoxyamino chalcone (C3), an antimalarial compound that has been reported to inhibit the interaction of recombinant Fd and FNR proteins, was used as a chemical inhibitor of the Fd/FNR redox system. We investigated the inhibitory effects of dihydroartemisinin (DHA), C3, and iron chelators including deferiprone (DFP), 1-(N-acetyl-6-aminohexyl)-3-hydroxy-2-methylpyridin-4-one (CM1) and deferiprone-resveratrol hybrid (DFP-RVT) against wild-type (WT), k13 mutant, fd mutant, and k13 fd double mutant P. falciparum parasites. Furthermore, we investigated the pharmacological interaction of C3 with DHA, in which the iron chelators were used as reference ART antagonists. Results: C3 showed antimalarial potency similar to that of the iron chelators. As expected, combining DHA with C3 or iron chelators exhibited a moderately antagonistic effect. No differences were observed among the mutant parasites with respect to their sensitivity to C3, iron chelators, or the interactions of these compounds with DHA. Discussion: The data suggest that inhibitors of the Fd/FNR redox system should be avoided as ART partner drugs in ART combination therapy for treating malaria.
- Drug resistance