New technique to meet the demand for Crucial Malaria Drugs

Oct 8, 2016 | | Say something

Global demands for the drug against malaria can be accomplished by using a new technique and economical for mass production of artemisinin, which it is the main ingredient in the most effective for the treatment of malaria, according to a new study.

New Technique to Fill Demand for Crucial Malaria Drug
A new technique to fill the demand for Crucial Malaria Drug

Artemisinin is produced in low yields by an herb called Artemisia annua ( A. annua ), also known as sweet wormwood. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology have now discovered a new way to produce artemisinic acid molecule derived artemisinin, with high yields. His method involves the transfer of their metabolic pathway – the series of biochemical steps involved in its production – from A. annua in snuff, high biomass crop.

“Artemisinin is a compound produced by the plant, Artemisia annua, also known as sweet wormwood. The compound is used to develop drugs against malaria. “


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“Malaria is a devastating tropical disease that kills nearly half a million people each year,” says contributing author Ralph Bock, Director of Organelle Biology, Molecular Biotechnology and Ecophysiology.

“In the foreseeable future, artemisinin is the most powerful weapon in the battle against malaria but because of its extraction from plants underperforming, is currently too expensive to be widely accessible to patients in the poorest countries . the production of artemisinic acid in crops such as snuff, which produces large amounts of foliar biomass, could provide a sustainable source and cost of the drug, making it more readily available to those who need it most. ”

The team has called this approach to produce more artemisinic acid costrel ( “combinatorial receptor supertransformation transplastomic lines”). The first step in the process was to transfer genes basic set of route artemisinic acid enzyme in the chloroplast genome of plants snuff, generating what is known as transplastomic plants.

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The team used its best line of snuff transplastomic plants to introduce a further set of genes in its nuclear genome, the generation of costrel lines. These genes encode other factors that increase the synthesis, or the generation of acid so that they are still largely unknown.

“While the path of artemisinic acid A. annua is limited to the glandular hairs on the floor, resulting in low yields of artemisinin, our lines of snuff costrel produced in their chloroplasts and therefore all sheet, “says lead author and postdoctoral researcher Paulina Fuentes.

“We have generated more than 600 lines of plants modified snuff harboring different combinations of these additional genes and analyzed in relation to the amounts of artemisinic compounds acquired. Thus we could identify those that generate unprecedented levels of 120 milligrams per kilogram of artemisinic acid in its leaves, which can be easily converted into artemisinin through simple chemical reactions. ”

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Although further increases will be needed in these levels of production if world demand for artemisinin is to be achieved, the study lays the foundation for much cheaper production of this salvage therapy in a culture of high biomass, in contrast to a single medicinal plant .

It also provides a new tool for engineering many other complex ways, with the potential to increase production of other essential therapeutic ingredients.

The study is published in eLife magazine.

Source: Eurekalert

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