The trypanosome alternative oxidase: a potential drug target?

Stefanie K. Menzies, Lindsay B. Tulloch, Gordon J. Florence, Terry K. Smith*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


New drugs against Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of Human African Trypanosomiasis, are urgently needed to replace the highly toxic and largely ineffective therapies currently used. The trypanosome alternative oxidase (TAO) is an essential and unique mitochondrial protein in these parasites and is absent from mammalian mitochondria, making it an attractive drug target. The structure and function of the protein are now well characterized, with several inhibitors reported in the literature which show potential as clinical drug candidates. In this review we provide an update on the functional activity and structural aspects of TAO. We then discuss TAO inhibitors reported to date, problems encountered with in vivo testing of these compounds, and discuss the future of TAO as a therapeutic target.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-183
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Early online date29 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018
EventBritish-Society-for-Parasitology (BSP) Autumn Symposium on Microbial Protein Targets - Towards Understanding and Intervention - Durham
Duration: 14 Sept 201616 Sept 2016


  • Trypanosoma alternative oxidase
  • Drug discovery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Human African trypanosomiasis
  • Sleeping sickness
  • Trypanosoma brucei


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