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Our research is devoted to membrane biogenesis and lipid metabolism that are major and essential elements for the differentiation and development of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum.
Project 1: Deciphering the phospholipid metabolism

In P. falciparum, phospholipids (PLs) are synthetized by multiple metabolic pathways.The parasite uses its own metabolic machinery producing the PLs essential for membrane biogenesis. In a red blood cell infected by P. falciparum, the main PLs are phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) and phosphatidylserine (PS).

Phosphatidylcholine (PC) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) are mainly synthesized by the de novo CDP-choline and CDP-ethanolamine (Kennedy) pathways using choline or ethanolamine as precursors. The substrates are phosphorylated by choline- and ethanolamine kinase (CK and EK), activated by cytidylyltransferases (CCT and ECT) and finally combined with diacyl-glycerol by a common phosphotransferase (CEPT). A phosphoethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PMT) transforms phosphoethanolamine into phosphocholine connecting both Kennedy pathways. The antimalarial activities of choline and ethanolamine structural analogues have been correlated with a specific inhibition of PC and PE biosynthesis, respectively. Most of the enzymes have been shown to be essential for parasite survival.

Project 2: Research and development of antimalarial molecules by structure-based rational drug design
Project 3: Evaluation of the antimalarial potential of new compounds
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Rachel CERDAN

Professeur (PR) UM
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LPHI  Laboratory of Pathogen Host Interactions
UMR 5235 - Université Montpellier
Place Eugène Bataillon, Bât. 24, CC107, 2ème étage
34095 Montpellier cedex 5

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