new-biomolecules-to-fight-drug-resistance-in-kala-azar

Context: A team of researchers at the Department of Biotechnology’s National Centre for Cell Science (DBT-NCCS) in Pune has been exploring ways to tackle miltefosine(a drug used to treat Leishmaniasis/Kala azar) resistance.

More on news:

  • Specific types of protein molecules, called transporter proteins, play a major role in carrying miltefosine into and out of the parasite’s body, which comprises a single cell.
  • A protein called ‘P4ATPase-CDC50’, is responsible for intake of the drug by the parasite, and another protein, called ‘P-glycoprotein’, is responsible for throwing this drug out from within the parasite’s body.
  • A decrease in the activity of the former protein, and an increase in the activity of the latter results in less amounts of miltefosine being accumulated inside the parasite’s body, thus causing it to become resistant to the drug.
  • The researchers worked with one of the species of Leishmania that causes infection, called Leishmania major. 
  • They tried to manipulate these transporter proteins in the species in a manner that would result in increased uptake of the drug and decrease in its being thrown out of the parasite’s body.

Leishmaniasis/Kala-azar:

  • Leishmaniasis is a neglected tropical disease affecting almost 100 countries including India. 
  • It is caused by a parasite called Leishmania, which is transmitted through the bite of sand flies.
  • There are three main forms of leishmaniasis – visceral, which affects multiple organs and is the most serious form of the disease, cutaneous, which causes skin sores and is the most common form); and mucocutaneous, which causes skin and mucosal lesion).

Source: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1633851

Image Source: Biotech