, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 430-441
Date: 11 Sep 2013

Delineation of the Structural Elements of Oriental Liver Fluke PLA2 Isoforms for Potent Drug Designing

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Clonorchis sinensis or the Chinese liver fluke is one of the most prevalent parasites affecting a major population in the oriental countries. The parasite lacks lipid generating mechanisms but is exposed to fatty acid rich bile in the liver. A secretory phospholipase A2, an enzyme that breaks down complex lipids, is important for the growth of the parasite. The enzyme is also implicated in the pathogenesis leading up to the hepatic fibrosis and its complications including cancer. The five isoforms of this particular enzyme from the parasite therefore qualify as potential drug targets. In this study, a detailed structural and ligand binding analysis of the isoforms has been done by modeling. The overall three dimensional structures of the isoforms are well conserved with three helices and a β-wing stabilized by four disulfide bonds. There are characteristic differences at the calcium binding loop, hydrophobic channel and the C-terminal domain that can potentially be exploited for drug binding. But the most significant feature pertains to the catalytic site where the isoforms exhibit three variations of either a histidine-aspartate-tyrosine or histidine-glutamate-tyrosine or histidine-aspartate-phenylalanine. Molecular docking studies show that isoform specific residues and their conformations in the substrate binding hydrophobic channel make unique interactions with certain inhibitor molecules resulting in a perfect tight fit. The proposed ligand molecules have a predicted affinity in micro-molar to nano-molar range. Interestingly, few of the ligand binding interaction patterns is in accordance to the phylogenetic studies to thereby establish the usefulness of evolutionary mechanisms in aiding ligand design. The molecular diversity of the parasitic PLA2 described in this study provides a platform for personalized medicine in the therapeutics of clonorchiasis.