Characterization and validation of Entamoeba histolytica pantothenate kinase as a novel anti-amebic drug target

Arif Nurkanto, Ghulam Jeelani, Takehiro Yamamoto, Yoshiko Naito, Takako Hishiki, Mihoko Mori, Makoto Suematsu, Kazuro Shiomi, Tetsuo Hashimoto, Tomoyoshi Nozaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The Coenzyme A (CoA), as a cofactor involved in >100 metabolic reactions, is essential to the basic biochemistry of life. Here, we investigated the CoA biosynthetic pathway of Entamoeba histolytica (E. histolytica), an enteric protozoan parasite responsible for human amebiasis. We identified four key enzymes involved in the CoA pathway: pantothenate kinase (PanK, EC, bifunctional phosphopantothenate-cysteine ligase/decarboxylase (PPCS-PPCDC), phosphopantetheine adenylyltransferase (PPAT) and dephospho-CoA kinase (DPCK). Cytosolic enzyme PanK, was selected for further biochemical, genetic, and phylogenetic characterization. Since E. histolytica PanK (EhPanK) is physiologically important and sufficiently divergent from its human orthologs, this enzyme represents an attractive target for the development of novel anti-amebic chemotherapies. Epigenetic gene silencing of PanK resulted in a significant reduction of PanK activity, intracellular CoA concentrations, and growth retardation in vitro, reinforcing the importance of this gene in E. histolytica. Furthermore, we screened the Kitasato Natural Products Library for inhibitors of recombinant EhPanK, and identified 14 such compounds. One compound demonstrated moderate inhibition of PanK activity and cell growth at a low concentration, as well as differential toxicity towards E. histolytica and human cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-136
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr


  • Amebiasis
  • Coenzyme A
  • Drug development
  • Entamoeba histolytica
  • Gene silencing
  • Pantothenate kinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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