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Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 453186, 7 pages
Review Article

Serine Proteases of Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum: Potential as Antimalarial Drug Targets

Department of Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Homi Bhabha Road, Colaba, Mumbai 400005, India

Received 25 October 2013; Revised 2 January 2014; Accepted 7 January 2014; Published 11 March 2014

Academic Editor: Mary E. Marquart

Copyright © 2014 Asrar Alam. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Malaria is a major global parasitic disease and a cause of enormous mortality and morbidity. Widespread drug resistance against currently available antimalarials warrants the identification of novel drug targets and development of new drugs. Malarial proteases are a group of molecules that serve as potential drug targets because of their essentiality for parasite life cycle stages and feasibility of designing specific inhibitors against them. Proteases belonging to various mechanistic classes are found in P. falciparum, of which serine proteases are of particular interest due to their involvement in parasite-specific processes of egress and invasion. In P. falciparum, a number of serine proteases belonging to chymotrypsin, subtilisin, and rhomboid clans are found. This review focuses on the potential of P. falciparum serine proteases as antimalarial drug targets.