Re­sis­tance de­coded

Down to Earth - - THE FORTNIGHT -

RE­SEARCHERS HAVE found that an experimental drug against malaria is be­com­ing in­ef­fec­tive. The an­tibi­otic, fos­midomycin, blocks the syn­the­sis of a class of mol­e­cules called iso­prenoids which keeps the malaria pathogen healthy. When re­searchers com­pared the ge­net­ics of malaria par­a­sites that re­sponded to the drug to the ge­net­ics of malaria par­a­sites that were re­sis­tant to it, they found mu­ta­tions in a gene called PfHAD1. The PfHAD1 pro­tein nor­mally slows down the syn­the­sis of iso­prenoids, but in the re­sis­tant par­a­sites the mu­ta­tion re­sulted in higher pro­duc­tion of iso­prenoids. So, even when the an­tibi­otic is there, it doesn't kill the cells.

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