Online Program

Ecdysone receptor: A novel target for development of drugs against filariasis

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Amruta Mhashilkar, MD, MPH, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Thomas Unnasch, PhD, Department of Global Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Canhui Liu, PhD, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Filariasis is a debilitating disease affecting 120 million people globally caused by filaria.  The massive socio-economic impact of these infections energized the international community to declare a goal at the London Declaration to eliminate filariasis by 2020.  This resulted in a dramatic increase in the efforts to eliminate filariasis employing a strategy of mass drug administration (MDA).  However, these programs rely upon the small arsenal of drugs.  This leaves these programs vulnerable to failure in the face of developing resistance and local intolerance to the current drug regimens.  Thus, new drugs against these infections are critically needed. A homologue of the ecdysone receptor (EcR), a master regulator of development in insects has been identified in B. malayi.  As the EcR is absent in humans, it represents an attractive potential chemotherapeutic target.  The potential of the EcR as a drug target has been underscored by work in the agricultural industry, where insecticides targeting the ecdysone developmental pathway are effective and non-toxic to non-target species.  In initial experiments, structural activity relationship (SAR) modeling identified the diacylhydrazines as potential ecdysone agonists and antogonists.  An high throughput assay was developed to screen for agonists and antagonists of the filarial EcR. The assay was employed to screen steroidal, non-steroidal and natural ecdysone analogs.  A total of 13 agonists and antagonists have been identified. These initial studies pave the way towards the development of agonists and antagonists that can represent lead compounds for the development of a new class of drugs against the human filarial parasites.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the potential of ecdysone receptor as a potential chemotherapeutic agent against lymphatic filariasis. Describe SAR modeling as a novel approach for identifying compounds targeting the Brugia ecdysone receptor. Describe an in-vitro high-throughput assay to screen natural and steroidal compounds targeting ecdysone receptor.

Keyword(s): Public Health Research, Underserved Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a physician currently working on my dissertation for my doctoral studies. I am a molecular parasitologist working on ecdysone receptor of the human parasite Brugia malayi. I have designed and performed the experiments to obtain the results described in the abstract. My research interest are mostly focused on drug discovery, structure relation analysis modeling, transcriptomics and proteomics.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.