9-(2’-Deoxy-2’-fluoro-ß-D- arabinofuranosyl) adenine: a potent antitrypanosomal adenosine analogue that circumvents transport-related drug resistance.

Farahnaz Ranjbarian, Munender Vodnala, Khalid J. H. Alzahrani, Godwin Ebiloma, Harry P. De Koning, Anders Hofer

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Current chemotherapy against African sleeping sickness, a disease caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei, is limited by toxicity, inefficacy, and drug resistance. Nucleoside analogues have been successfully used to cure T. brucei-infected mice, but they have the limitation of mainly being taken up by the P2 nucleoside transporter, which, when mutated, is a common cause of multidrug resistance in T. brucei. We report here that adenine arabinoside (Ara-A) and the newly tested drug 9-(2′-deoxy-2′-fluoro-β-d-arabinofuranosyl) adenine (FANA-A) are instead taken up by the P1 nucleoside transporter, which is not associated with drug resistance. Like Ara-A, FANA-A was found to be resistant to cleavage by methylthioadenosine phosphorylase, an enzyme that protects T. brucei against the antitrypanosomal effects of deoxyadenosine. Another important factor behind the selectivity of nucleoside analogues is how well they are phosphorylated within the cell. We found that the T. brucei adenosine kinase had a higher catalytic efficiency with FANA-A than the mammalian enzyme, and T. brucei cells treated with FANA-A accumulated high levels of FANA-A triphosphate, which even surpassed the level of ATP and led to cell cycle arrest, inhibition of DNA synthesis, and the accumulation of DNA breaks. FANA-A inhibited nucleic acid biosynthesis and parasite proliferation with 50% effective concentrations (EC50s) in the low nanomolar range, whereas mammalian cell proliferation was inhibited in the micromolar range. Both Ara-A and FANA-A, in combination with deoxycoformycin, cured T. brucei-infected mice, but FANA-A did so at a dose 100 times lower than that of Ara-A.
Original languageEnglish
Article number e02719-16
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2017


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