Table of Contents
Molecular Biology International
Volume 2011, Article ID 187850, 12 pages
Research Article

Cryptolepine-Induced Cell Death of Leishmania donovani Promastigotes Is Augmented by Inhibition of Autophagy

1Molecular Parasitology Laboratory, Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, 4, Raja S. C. Mullick Road, Jadavpur, Kolkata 700032, India
2Infection Biology, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 50/70, 4056 Basel, Switzerland
3Bradford School of Pharmacy, University of Bradford, West Yorkshire BD7 1DP, UK

Received 24 November 2010; Accepted 12 January 2011

Academic Editor: Wanderley De Souza

Copyright © 2011 Souvik Sengupta et al. 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.


Leishmania donovani are the causative agents of visceral leishmaniasis worldwide. Lack of vaccines and emergence of drug resistance warrants the need for improved drug therapy and newer therapeutic intervention strategies against leishmaniasis. In the present study, we have investigated the effect of the natural indoloquinoline alkaloid cryptolepine on L. donovani AG83 promastigotes. Our results show that cryptolepine induces cellular dysfunction in L. donovani promastigotes, which leads to the death of this unicellular parasite. Interestingly, our study suggest that cryptolepine-induced cell death of L. donovani is counteracted by initial autophagic features elicited by the cells. For the first time, we show that autophagy serves as a survival mechanism in response to cryptolepine treatment in L. donovani promastigotes and inhibition of autophagy causes an early increase in the amount of cell death. This study can be exploited for designing better drugs and better therapeutic strategies against leishmaniasis in future.