N-myristoylation as a drug target in malaria: exploring the role of N-myristoyltransferase substrates in inhibitor mode of action


Malaria continues to be a significant cause of death and morbidity worldwide, and there is a need for new antimalarial drugs with novel targets. We have focused as a potential target for drug development on N-myristoyl transferase (NMT), an enzyme that acylates a wide range of substrate proteins. The NMT substrates in Plasmodium falciparum include some proteins that are common to processes in eukaryotes such as secretory transport and others that are unique to apicomplexan parasites. Myristoylation facilitates a protein interaction with membranes that may be strengthened by further lipidation, and the inhibition of NMT results in incorrect protein localization and the consequent disruption of function. The diverse roles of NMT substrates mean that NMT inhibition has a pleiotropic and severe impact on parasite development, growth, and multiplication. To study the mode of action underlying NMT inhibition, it is important to consider the function of proteins upstream and downstream of NMT. In this work, we therefore present our current perspective on the different functions of known NMT substrates as well as compare the inhibition of cotranslational myristoylation to the inhibition of known targets upstream of NMT.

Journal details

Volume 4
Issue number 4
Pages 449-457
Publication date

Crick labs/facilities

Crick authors

Crick First author
Crick Corresponding author