Plasmodium falciparum: Growth response to potassium channel blocking compounds

Karena L. Waller, Kami Kim, Thomas V. McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Potassium channels are essential for cell survival and regulate the cell membrane potential and electrochemical gradient. During its lifecycle, Plasmodium falciparum parasites must rapidly adapt to dramatically variant ionic conditions within the mosquito mid-gut, the hepatocyte and red blood cell (RBC) cytosols, and the human circulatory system. To probe the participation of K+ channels in parasite viability, growth response assays were performed in which asexual stage P. falciparum parasites were cultured in the presence of various Ca2+-activated K+ channel blocking compounds. These data describe the novel anti-malarial effects of bicuculline methiodide and tubocurarine chloride and the novel lack of effect of apamine and verruculogen. Taken together, the data herein imply the presence of K+ channels, or other parasite-specific targets, in P. falciparum-infected RBCs that are sensitive to blockade with Ca2+-activated K+ channel blocking compounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-285
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Parasitology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • Drug target
  • Malaria
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Potassium channel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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