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Article

A Multi-Species Phenotypic Screening Assay for Leishmaniasis Drug Discovery Shows That Active Compounds Display a High Degree of Species-Specificity

1
Laboratório Nacional de Biociências (LNBio), Centro Nacional de Pesquisa em Energia e Materiais (CNPEM), Campinas, SP 13083-970, Brazil
2
Departamento de Microbiologia, Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP 05508-900, Brazil
3
Instituto Butantan, São Paulo, SP 05503-900, Brazil
4
Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Current address: Department of Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3GL, UK.
§
Current address: Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP), Diadema, SP 09913-030, Brazil.
Molecules 2020, 25(11), 2551; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25112551
Received: 8 May 2020 / Revised: 23 May 2020 / Accepted: 24 May 2020 / Published: 30 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Medicinal Chemistry)
High genetic and phenotypic variability between Leishmania species and strains within species make the development of broad-spectrum antileishmanial drugs challenging. Thus, screening panels consisting of several diverse Leishmania species can be useful in enabling compound prioritization based on their spectrum of activity. In this study, a robust and reproducible high content assay was developed, and 1280 small molecules were simultaneously screened against clinically relevant cutaneous and visceral species: L. amazonensis, L. braziliensis, and L. donovani. The assay is based on THP-1 macrophages infected with stationary phase promastigotes and posterior evaluation of both compound antileishmanial activity and host cell toxicity. The profile of compound activity was species-specific, and out of 51 active compounds, only 14 presented broad-spectrum activity against the three species, with activities ranging from 52% to 100%. Notably, the compounds CB1954, Clomipramine, Maprotiline, Protriptyline, and ML-9 presented pan-leishmanial activity, with efficacy greater than 70%. The results highlight the reduced number of compound classes with pan-leishmanial activity that might be available from diversity libraries, emphasizing the need to screen active compounds against a panel of species and strains. The assay reported here can be adapted to virtually any Leishmania species without the need for genetic modification of parasites, providing the basis for the discovery of broad spectrum anti-leishmanial agents. View Full-Text
Keywords: Leishmania; leishmaniasis drug discovery; phenotypic screening; Leishmania species Leishmania; leishmaniasis drug discovery; phenotypic screening; Leishmania species
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MDPI and ACS Style

Alcântara, L.M.; Ferreira, T.C.S.; Fontana, V.; Chatelain, E.; Moraes, C.B.; Freitas-Junior, L.H. A Multi-Species Phenotypic Screening Assay for Leishmaniasis Drug Discovery Shows That Active Compounds Display a High Degree of Species-Specificity. Molecules 2020, 25, 2551. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25112551

AMA Style

Alcântara LM, Ferreira TCS, Fontana V, Chatelain E, Moraes CB, Freitas-Junior LH. A Multi-Species Phenotypic Screening Assay for Leishmaniasis Drug Discovery Shows That Active Compounds Display a High Degree of Species-Specificity. Molecules. 2020; 25(11):2551. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25112551

Chicago/Turabian Style

Alcântara, Laura M., Thalita C. S. Ferreira, Vanessa Fontana, Eric Chatelain, Carolina B. Moraes, and Lucio H. Freitas-Junior. 2020. "A Multi-Species Phenotypic Screening Assay for Leishmaniasis Drug Discovery Shows That Active Compounds Display a High Degree of Species-Specificity" Molecules 25, no. 11: 2551. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25112551

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