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Different Mutations in a P-type ATPase Transporter in Leishmania Parasites are Associated with Cross-resistance to Two Leading Drugs by Distinct Mechanisms

posted on 2016-12-02, 17:30 authored by Christopher Fernandez-Prada, Isabel M. Vincent, Marie-Christine Brotherton, Mathew Roberts, Gaétan Roy, Luis Rivas, Philippe Leprohon, Terry K. Smith, Marc Ouellette

Leishmania infantum is an etiological agent of the life-threatening visceral form of leishmaniasis. Liposomal amphotericin B (AmB) followed by a short administration of miltefosine (MF) is a drug combination effective for treating visceral leishmaniasis in endemic regions of India. Resistance to MF can be due to point mutations in the miltefosine transporter (MT). Here we show that mutations in MT are also observed in Leishmania AmB-resistant mutants. The MF-induced MT mutations, but not the AmB induced mutations in MT, alter the translocation/uptake of MF. Moreover, mutations in the MT selected by AmB or MF have a major impact on lipid species that is linked to cross-resistance between both drugs. These alterations include changes of specific phospholipids, some of which are enriched with cyclopropanated fatty acids, as well as an increase in inositolphosphoceramide species. Collectively these results provide evidence of the risk of cross-resistance emergence derived from current AmB-MF sequential or co-treatments for visceral leishmaniasis.