Identification of natural peptides as a new class of antimalarial drugs by in silico approaches
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Malaria is one of the most widespread and serious parasitic diseases worldwide. Currently available antimalarial drugs have side effects, and many strains of Plasmodia have developed resistance to such drugs. The present review examines the use of annexins and of natural peptides from snake venom as a new class of anti-malarial agents, with the key property of reducing inflammation. Severe cases of malaria manifest elevated serum levels of liver enzymes, inflammation, fibrin deposition, apoptosis, and reduction in peripheral CD8+ T cells. The annexin-A1/5 proteins trigger inflammation via increased expression of diverse cytokines (tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-1beta, interleukin-10), however, by shielding microbial phospholipids they prevent injury via damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). Here, we also review an in silico-based bioengineering approach that may allow for a better design, synthesis and characterization of novel peptides from snake venom as a more effective approach to treatment due to their improved antimalarial activity.
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