Boromycin has potent anti-toxoplasma and anti-cryptosporidium activity

Jaypee Abenoja, Alexis Cotto-Rosario, Roberta O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Toxoplasma gondii and Cryptosporidium parvum, members of the phylum Apicomplexa, are significant pathogens of both humans and animals worldwide for which new and effective therapeutics are needed. Here, we describe the activity of the antibiotic boromycin against Toxoplasma and Cryptosporidium. Boromycin potently inhibited intracellular proliferation of both T. gondii and C. parvum at halfmaximal effective concentrations (EC50) of 2.27nM and 4.99 nM, respectively. Treatment of extracellular T. gondii tachyzoites with 25 nM boromycin for 30 min suppressed 84% of parasite growth, but T. gondii tachyzoite invasion into host cells was not affected by boromycin. Immunofluorescence of boromycin-treated T. gondii showed loss of morphologically intact parasites with randomly distributed surface antigens inside the parasitophorous vacuoles. Boromycin exhibited a high selectivity for the parasites over their host cells. These results suggest that boromycin is a promising new drug candidate for treating toxoplasmosis and cryptosporidiosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01278-20
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by grant no. R21AT009174 from the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complimentary and Integrated Health, to R.O. J.A. was supported by a scholarship provided by Fulbright Philippines and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


  • Antiparasitic
  • Boromycin
  • Cryptosporidium parvum
  • Drug discovery
  • Toxoplasma gondii


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