Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 36380082
Link to DOI – 125310.1038/s42003-022-03981-x
Commun Biol 2022 Nov; 5(1): 1253
Theileria parasites are responsible for devastating cattle diseases, causing major economic losses across Africa and Asia. Theileria spp. stand apart from other apicomplexa parasites by their ability to transform host leukocytes into immortalized, hyperproliferating, invasive cells that rapidly kill infected animals. The emergence of resistance to the theilericidal drug Buparvaquone raises the need for new anti-Theileria drugs. We developed a microscopy-based screen to reposition drugs from the open-access Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) Pathogen Box. We show that Trifloxystrobin (MMV688754) selectively kills lymphocytes or macrophages infected with Theileria annulata or Theileria parva parasites. Trifloxystrobin treatment reduced parasite load in vitro as effectively as Buparvaquone, with similar effects on host gene expression, cell proliferation and cell cycle. Trifloxystrobin also inhibited parasite differentiation to merozoites (merogony). Trifloxystrobin inhibition of parasite survival is independent of the parasite TaPin1 prolyl isomerase pathway. Furthermore, modeling studies predicted that Trifloxystrobin and Buparvaquone could interact distinctly with parasite Cytochrome B and we show that Trifloxystrobin was still effective against Buparvaquone-resistant cells harboring TaCytB mutations. Our study suggests that Trifloxystrobin could provide an effective alternative to Buparvaquone treatment and represents a promising candidate for future drug development against Theileria spp.