Leishmaniasis remains a serious public health problem in many tropical regions of the world. Among neglected tropical diseases, the mortality rate of leishmaniasis is second only to malaria. All currently approved therapeutics have toxic side effects and face rapidly increasing resistance. To identify existing drugs with antileishmanial activity and predict the mechanism of action, we designed a drug-discovery pipeline utilizing both in-silico and in-vitro methods. First, we screened compounds from the Selleckchem Bio-Active Compound Library containing ~1,622 FDA-approved drugs and narrowed these down to 96 candidates based on data mining for possible anti-parasitic properties. Next, we completed preliminary in-vitro testing of compounds against Leishmania amastigotes and selected the most promising active compounds, Lansoprazole and Posaconazole. We identified possible Leishmania drug targets of Lansoprazole and Posaconazole using several available servers. Our in-silico screen identified likely Lansoprazole targets as the closely related calcium-transporting ATPases (LdBPK_352080.1, LdBPK_040010.1, and LdBPK_170660.1), and the Posaconazole target as lanosterol 14-alpha-demethylase (LdBPK_111100.1). Further validation showed LdBPK_352080.1 to be the most plausible target based on induced-fit docking followed by long (100ns) MD simulations to confirm the stability of the docked complexes. We present a likely ion channel-based mechanism of action of Lansoprazole against Leishmania calcium-transporting ATPases, which are essential for parasite metabolism and infectivity. The LdBPK_111100.1 interaction with Posaconazole is very similar to the known fungal orthologue. Herein, we present two novel anti-leishmanial agents, Posaconazole and Lansoprazole, already approved by the FDA for different indications and propose plausible mechanisms of action for their antileishmanial activity.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.