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Program in Molecular Medicine

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Biochemical Phenomena, Metabolism, and Nutrition | Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology | Enzymes and Coenzymes | Immunoprophylaxis and Therapy | Parasitic Diseases | Parasitology | Therapeutics


Targeting chokepoint enzymes in metabolic pathways has led to new drugs for cancers, autoimmune disorders and infectious diseases. This is also a cornerstone approach for discovery and development of anthelmintics against nematode and flatworm parasites. Here, we performed omics-driven knowledge-based identification of chokepoint enzymes as anthelmintic targets. We prioritized 10 of 186 phylogenetically conserved chokepoint enzymes and undertook a target class repurposing approach to test and identify new small molecules with broad spectrum anthelmintic activity. First, we identified and tested 94 commercially available compounds using an in vitro phenotypic assay, and discovered 11 hits that inhibited nematode motility. Based on these findings, we performed chemogenomic screening and tested 32 additional compounds, identifying 6 more active hits. Overall, 6 intestinal (single-species), 5 potential pan-intestinal (whipworm and hookworm) and 6 pan-Phylum Nematoda (intestinal and filarial species) small molecule inhibitors were identified, including multiple azoles, Tadalafil and Torin-1. The active hit compounds targeted three different target classes in humans, which are involved in various pathways, including carbohydrate, amino acid and nucleotide metabolism. Last, using representative inhibitors from each target class, we demonstrated in vivo efficacy characterized by negative effects on parasite fecundity in hamsters infected with hookworms.


hookworms, chokepoint enzymes, anthelmintics

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DOI of Published Version



Sci Rep. 2019 Jun 24;9(1):9085. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45548-7. Link to article on publisher's site

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Scientific reports

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.