Article: Population genetic analysis of the Plasmodium falciparum 6-cys protein Pf38 in Papua New Guinea reveals domain-specific balancing selection.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein Pf38 is targeted by antibodies of malaria immune adults and has been shown to be under balancing (immune) selection in a Gambian parasite population, indicating potential as a malaria vaccine candidate. This study explores the population genetics of Pf38 in Papua New Guinea, to determine the extent and geographic distribution of diversity and to measure selective pressure along the length of the gene. Using samples collected during community-based cross-sectional surveys in the Mugil and Wosera regions, the Pf38 genes of 59 P. falciparum isolates were amplified and sequenced. These sequences, along with previously sequenced Gambian and laboratory isolates, were then subjected to an array of population genetic analyses, examining polymorphisms, haplotype diversity and balancing selection. In addition to whole-gene analysis, the two 6-cys domains were considered separately, to investigate domain specific polymorphism and selection. Nineteen polymorphic sites were identified in the Pf 38 gene. Of these, 13 were found in the Gambia, 10 in Mugil and 8 in Wosera. Notably, the majority of common polymorphisms were confined to domain I. Although only moderate levels of nucleotide diversity were observed, the haplotype diversity was high in all populations, suggesting extensive recombination. Analyses of the full-length sequence provided only modest evidence for balancing selection. However, there was a strong contrast between domain I, which showed strong evidence for positive balancing selection, and domain II which was neutral. Analyses of the geographic distribution of Pf38 haplotypes showed that four haplotypes accounted for the majority of sequences found world-wide, but there were many more haplotypes unique to the African than the PNG populations. This study confirmed previous findings that Pf38 is a polymorphic gene under balancing selection. However, analysing polymorphism and selection across the length of the gene painted a considerably different picture. Domain I is highly polymorphic and the target of significant balancing selection. In contrast, domain II is relatively conserved and does not show evidence of immune selective pressure. The findings have implications for future population genetic studies on vaccine candidates, showing that the biological context must also be considered as a framework for analysis.Malaria Journal 01/2011; 10:126. · 3.19 Impact Factor
Article: Multilocus haplotypes reveal variable levels of diversity and population structure of Plasmodium falciparum in Papua New Guinea, a region of intense perennial transmission.Lee Schultz, Johanna Wapling, Ivo Mueller, Pilate O Ntsuke, Nicolas Senn, Joe Nale, Benson Kiniboro, Caroline O Buckee, Livingstone Tavul, Peter M Siba, John C Reeder, Alyssa E Barry[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The South West Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea has intense year round transmission of Plasmodium falciparum on the coast and in the low-lying inland areas. Local heterogeneity in the epidemiology of malaria suggests that parasites from multiple locations will need to be surveyed to define the population biology of P. falciparum in the region. This study describes the population genetics of P. falciparum in thirteen villages spread over four distinct catchment areas of Papua New Guinea. Ten microsatellite loci were genotyped in 318 P. falciparum isolates from the parasite populations of two inland catchment areas, namely Wosera (number of villages (n) = 7) and Utu (n = 1) and; and two coastal catchments, Malala (n = 3) and Mugil (n = 3). Analysis of the resultant multilocus haplotypes was done at different spatial scales (2-336 km) to define the genetic diversity (allelic richness and expected heterozygosity), linkage disequilibrium and population structure throughout the study area. Although genetic diversity was high in all parasite populations, it was also variable with a lower allelic richness and expected heterozygosity for inland populations compared to those from the more accessible coast. This variability was not correlated with two proxy measures of transmission intensity, the infection prevalence and the proportion multiple infections. Random associations among the microsatellite loci were observed in all four catchments showing that a substantial degree of out-crossing occurs in the region. Moderate to very high levels of population structure were found but the amount of genetic differentiation (FST) did not correlate with geographic distance suggesting that parasite populations are fragmented. Population structure was also identified between villages within the Malala area, with the haplotypes of one parasite population clustering with the neighbouring catchment of Mugil. The observed population genetics of P. falciparum in this region is likely to be a consequence of the high transmission intensity combined with the isolation of human and vector populations, especially those located inland and migration of parasites via human movement into coastal populations. The variable genetic diversity and population structure of P. falciparum has important implications for malaria control strategies and warrants further fine scale sampling throughout Papua New Guinea.Malaria Journal 01/2010; 9:336. · 3.19 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The targets for licensed drugs used for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) are confined to the viral reverse transcriptase (RT), protease (PR), and the gp41 transmembrane protein (TM). While currently approved drugs are effective in controlling HIV-1 infections, new drug targets and agents are needed due to the eventual emergence of drug resistant strains and drug toxicity. Our increased understanding of the virus life-cycle and how the virus interacts with the host cell has unveiled novel mechanisms for blocking HIV-1 replication. This review focuses on inhibitors that target the late stages of virus replication including the synthesis and trafficking of the viral polyproteins, viral assembly, maturation and budding. Novel approaches to blocking the oligomerization of viral enzymes and the interactions between viral proteins and host cell factors, including their feasibility as drug targets, are discussed.Drug Target Insights 01/2007; 2:159-82.
Article: Mutations that abrogate human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcriptase dimerization affect maturation of the reverse transcriptase heterodimer.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The specific impact of mutations that abrogate human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase (RT) dimerization on virus replication is not known, as mutations shown previously to inhibit RT dimerization also impact Gag-Pol stability, resulting in pleiotropic effects on HIV-1 replication. We have previously characterized mutations at codon 401 in the HIV-1 RT tryptophan repeat motif that abrogate RT dimerization in vitro, leading to a loss in polymerase activity. The introduction of the RT dimerization-inhibiting mutations W401L and W401A into HIV-1 resulted in the formation of noninfectious viruses with reduced levels of both virion-associated and intracellular RT activity compared to the wild-type virus and the W401F mutant, which does not inhibit RT dimerization in vitro. Steady-state levels of the p66 and p51 RT subunits in viral lysates of the W401L and W401A mutants were reduced, but no significant decrease in Gag-Pol was observed compared to the wild type. In contrast, there was a decrease in processing of p66 to p51 in cell lysates for the dimerization-defective mutants compared to the wild type. The treatment of transfected cells with indinavir suggested that the HIV-1 protease contributed to the degradation of virion-associated RT subunits. These data demonstrate that mutations near the RT dimer interface that abrogate RT dimerization in vitro result in the production of replication-impaired viruses without detectable effects on Gag-Pol stability or virion incorporation. The inhibition of RT activity is most likely due to a defect in RT maturation, suggesting that RT dimerization represents a valid drug target for chemotherapeutic intervention.Journal of Virology 09/2005; 79(16):10247-57. · 5.40 Impact Factor