New azasterols against Trypanosoma brucei: Role of 24-sterol methyltransferase in inhibitor action

Ludovic Gros, Victor Manuel Castillo-Acosta, Carmen Jimenez Jimenez, Marco Sealey-Cardona, Sofia Vargas, Antonio Manuel Estevez, Vanessa Yardley, Lauren Rattray, Simon L. Croft, Luis M. Ruiz-Perez, Julio A. Urbina, Ian H. Gilbert, Dolores Gonzalez-Pacanowska

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    38 Citations (Scopus)


    A series of azasterol derivatives, designed as potential inhibitors of the Delta(24)-sterol methyltransferase enzyme (24-SMT), were synthesized and evaluated for their activities against parasitic protozoa. Values in the nanomolar range were obtained for 50% effective dose against the Trypanosoma brucei subsp. rhodesiense bloodstream form cultured in vitro. In order to investigate the mode of action, Trypanosoma brucei subsp. brucei 24-SMT was cloned and overexpressed and compounds were assayed for inhibitory activity. None of the inhibitors tested appeared to be active against the enzyme. Sterol composition analysis showed that only cholestane type sterols are present in membranes of bloodstream forms while ergosterol is a major component of procyclic sterol extracts. Interestingly, Northern blot analysis showed the presence of 24-SMT mRNA in both the procyclic and the bloodstream forms of the parasite, although levels of mRNA were threefold lower in the latter. Likewise, Western blot analysis and activity determinations evidenced the existence of actives enzyme in both forms of the parasite. We conclude that the designed compounds act at sites other than 24-SMT in Trypanosoma brucei.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2595-2601
    Number of pages7
    JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006


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