Developing novel drugs against the unicellular parasite Plasmodium is complicated by the paucity of simple screening systems. Heat-shock proteins are an essential class of proteins for the parasite's cyclical life style between different cellular milieus and temperatures. The molecular chaperone Hsp90 assists a large variety of proteins, but its supporting functions for many proteins that are important for cancer have made it into a well-studied drug target. With a better understanding of the differences between Hsp90 of the malarial parasite and Hsp90 of its human host, new therapeutic options might become available. We have generated a set of isogenic strains of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae where the essential yeast Hsp90 proteins have been replaced with either of the two human cytosolic isoforms Hsp90α or Hsp90β, or with Hsp90 from Plasmodium falciparum (Pf). All strains express large amounts of the Flag-tagged Hsp90 proteins and are viable. Even though the strain with Pf Hsp90 grows more poorly, it provides a tool to reconstitute additional aspects of the parasite Hsp90 complex and its interactions with substrates in yeast as a living test tube. Upon exposure of the set of Hsp90 test strains to the two Hsp90 inhibitors radicicol (Rd) and geldanamycin (GA), we found that the strain with Pf Hsp90 is relatively more sensitive to GA than to Rd compared to the strains with human Hsp90's. This indicates that this set of yeast strains could be used to screen for new Pf Hsp90 inhibitors with a wider therapeutic window. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Wider, D., Péli-Gulli, M. P., Briand, P. A., Tatu, U., & Picard, D. (2009). The complementation of yeast with human or Plasmodium falciparum Hsp90 confers differential inhibitor sensitivities. Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology, 164(2), 147–152. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molbiopara.2008.12.011