The Marine Compound Tartrolon E Targets the Asexual and Early Sexual Stages of Cryptosporidium parvum

Alexis Cotto-Rosario, Emma Y.D. Miller, Fernanda G. Fumuso, Jason A. Clement, Matthew J. Todd, Roberta M. O’connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


New therapeutic agents for cryptosporidiosis are a critical medical need. The marine organic compound, tartrolon E (trtE), is highly effective against multiple apicomplexan parasites, including Cryptosporidium. Understanding the mechanism of action of trtE is required to advance in the drug development pipeline. Here, we validate using Nluc C. parvum parasites for the study of trtE and pinpoint the life stage targeted by trtE. Results show that trtE kills Nluc and wild type C. parvum with equal efficiency, confirming the use of the Nluc C. parvum to study this compound. Results revealed that trtE kills the parasite within an hour of treatment and while the compound has no effect on viability of sporozoites, trtE does inhibit establishment of infection. Targeting treatment at particular life cycle stages demonstrated that trtE is effective against asexual of the parasite but has reduced efficacy against mature sexual stages. Gene expression analysis shows that trtE inhibits the early sexual stage of the parasite. Results from these studies will aid the development of trtE as a therapeutic for cryptosporidiosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2260
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 15 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This study was funded by NIH grant R01AI154943 to R.M.O.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • antiparasitic compound
  • cryptosporidiosis
  • Cryptosporidium
  • drug candidates
  • life cycle stages
  • marine natural products
  • phenotypic assays

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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