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Current Medicinal Chemistry


ISSN (Print): 0929-8673
ISSN (Online): 1875-533X

Review Article

Discovery of Species-selective and Resistance-breaking Anticholinesterase Insecticides for the Malaria Mosquito

Author(s): Paul R. Carlier*, Jeffrey R. Bloomquist, Max Totrov and Jianyong Li

Volume 24, Issue 27, 2017

Page: [2946 - 2958] Pages: 13

DOI: 10.2174/0929867324666170206130024

Price: $65


Great reductions in malaria mortality have been accomplished in the last 15 years, in part due to the widespread roll-out of insecticide-treated bednets across sub-Saharan Africa. To date, these nets only employ pyrethroids, insecticides that target the voltage-gated sodium ion channel of the malaria vector, Anopheles gambiae. Due to the growing emergence of An. gambiae strains that are resistant to pyrethroids, there is an urgent need to develop new public health insecticides that engage a different target and possess low mammalian toxicity. In this review, we will describe efforts to develop highly species-specific and resistance-breaking inhibitors of An. gambiae acetylcholinesterase (AgAChE). These efforts have been greatly aided by advances in knowledge of the structure of the enzyme, and two major inhibitor design strategies have been explored. Since AgAChE possesses an unpaired Cys residue not present in mammalian AChE, a logical strategy to achieve selective inhibition involves design of compounds that could ligate that Cys. A second strategy involves the design of new molecules to target the catalytic serine of the enzyme. Here the challenge is not only to achieve high inhibition selectivity vs human AChE, but also to demonstrate toxicity to An. gambiae that carry the G119S resistance mutation of AgAChE. The advances made and challenges remaining will be presented. This review is part of the special issue "Insecticide Mode of Action: From Insect to Mammalian Toxicity.

Keywords: Acetylcholinesterase, sulfhydryl reagents, cysteine, carbamates, trifluoromethyl ketones, difluoromethyl ketones.

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