EgGLUT1 Is Crucial for the Viability of Echinococcus granulosus sensu stricto Metacestode: A New Therapeutic Target?

Cystic echinococcosis (CE) is a zoonotic parasitic disease caused by infection with the larvae of Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato (s.l.) cluster. It is urgent to identify novel drug targets and develop new drug candidates against CE. Glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1) is mainly responsible for the transmembrane transport of glucose to maintain its constant cellular availability and is a recent research hotspot as a drug target in various diseases. However, the role of GLUT1 in E. granulosus s.l. (EgGLUT1) was unknown. In this study, we cloned a conserved GLUT1 homology gene (named EgGLUT1-ss) from E. granulosus sensu stricto (s.s.) and found EgGLUT1-ss was crucial for glucose uptake and viability by the protoscoleces of E. granulosus s.s. WZB117, a GLUT1 inhibitor, inhibited glucose uptake by E. granulosus s.s. and the viability of the metacestode in vitro. In addition, WZB117 showed significant therapeutic activity in E. granulosus s.s.-infected mice: a 10 mg/kg dose of WZB117 significantly reduced the number and weight of parasite cysts (P < 0.05) as efficiently as the reference drug, albendazole. Our results demonstrate that EgGLUT1-ss is crucial for glucose uptake by the protoscoleces of E. granulosus s.s., and its inhibitor WZB117 has a therapeutic effect on CE.