Plasmodium falciparum: Polymorphism in the MSP-1 gene in Indian isolates and predominance of certain alleles in cerebral

Biomedical Informatics Centre, Chandigarh, Chandigarh, India
Experimental Parasitology (Impact Factor: 1.64). 04/2006; 112(3):139-43. DOI: 10.1016/j.exppara.2005.10.002
Source: PubMed


Polymorphism in the block-2 region of merozoite surface protein-1 gene in 69 North Indian Plasmodium falciparum isolates was studied by PCR and RFLP using Dra-1 endonuclease. On the basis of molecular weight of the PCR products, considerable size polymorphism in target gene was seen and 69 isolates were classified into five allelic types. On RFLP, the isolates in three allelic types were further divided into two sub-allelic types each and thus eight genetic types could be identified. Interestingly, all five allelic types were identified in 47 isolates from uncomplicated (non-cerebral) malaria patients while only two allelic types (Type 2 and 3) were seen amongst 22 isolates from cerebral malaria patients. Furthermore, on RFLP, one subtype (2A) was predominantly seen in cerebral malaria patients and one subtype (3A) was exclusively found in cerebral malaria patients. These observations suggest that a few, comparatively more virulent isolates prevalent in an area may cause severe disease (cerebral malaria) which can be identified by molecular techniques like PCR-RFLP.

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    • "In Senegal, fine specificity of the antibodies to MSP1 block2 did not match with the infecting type and moreover was fixed over time, with no novel antibody specificity acquired upon cumulated exposure to multiple infections [27]. Interpretation of these studies has been limited insofar as molecular sequence data and sequence-specific serological responses were not gathered from the same population/setting [15], or sequence data were generated without exploring the immune response [9-14,16,17] or alternatively, immunological responses were studied without detailed knowledge of the actual sequence polymorphism of the local population [23-28,30,33]. Thus, whether the acquired antibodies to MSP1 block2 select for parasites presenting novel sequence variants and exert a significant diversifying selection at the epitope level remains to be studied. "
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    ABSTRACT: Genetic evidence for diversifying selection identified the Merozoite Surface Protein1 block2 (PfMSP1 block2) as a putative target of protective immunity against Plasmodium falciparum. The locus displays three family types and one recombinant type, each with multiple allelic forms differing by single nucleotide polymorphism as well as sequence, copy number and arrangement variation of three amino acid repeats. The family-specific antibody responses observed in endemic settings support immune selection operating at the family level. However, the factors contributing to the large intra-family allelic diversity remain unclear. To address this question, population allelic polymorphism and sequence variant-specific antibody responses were studied in a single Senegalese rural community where malaria transmission is intense and perennial. Family distribution showed no significant temporal fluctuation over the 10 y period surveyed. Sequencing of 358 PCR fragments identified 126 distinct alleles, including numerous novel alleles in each family and multiple novel alleles of recombinant types. The parasite population consisted in a large number of low frequency alleles, alongside one high-frequency and three intermediate frequency alleles. Population diversity tests supported positive selection at the family level, but showed no significant departure from neutrality when considering intra-family allelic sequence diversity and all families combined. Seroprevalence, analysed using biotinylated peptides displaying numerous sequence variants, was moderate and increased with age. Reactivity profiles were individual-specific, mapped to the family-specific flanking regions and to repeat sequences shared by numerous allelic forms within a family type. Seroreactivity to K1-, Mad20- and R033 families correlated with the relative family genotype distribution within the village. Antibody specificity remained unchanged with cumulated exposure to an increasingly large number of alleles. The Pfmsp1 block2 locus presents a very large population sequence diversity. The lack of stable acquisition of novel antibody specificities despite exposure to novel allelic forms is reminiscent of clonal imprinting. The locus appears under antibody-mediated diversifying selection in a variable environment that maintains a balance between the various family types without selecting for sequence variant allelic forms. There is no evidence of positive selection for intra-family sequence diversity, consistent with the observed characteristics of the antibody response.
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    ABSTRACT: Malaria is a major public health problem in tropical and sub-tropical countries. Malaria vaccine is highly desirable as an adjunct to existing malaria control measures. The polymorphism in vaccine candidate antigens might be a hurdle in developing an effective vaccine. Merozoite surface protein-2, apical membrane antigen-1 and circumsporozoite protein of Plasmodium falciparum are vaccine candidate antigens. The aim of this study was to detect extent of genetic polymorphism in potential vaccine candidate antigen genes, i.e. msp-2, ama-1 and csp of P. falciparum isolates prevalent in northern and north-western parts of India. Overall 88 parasite isolates of P. falciparum were collected during July 1998-March 2002 from different parts of northern and north-western India. DNA was extracted and analyzed for genetic polymorphism by PCR-RFLP method. For msp-2 gene, family-specific (FC-27 and 3D7) nested PCR was also performed. PCR showed size polymorphism in all the target genes. Three alleles were observed in msp-2 and ama-1, while only two in csp. RFLP of ama-1 and csp with Dra-1 and Ssp-1 endonucleases respectively, failed to differentiate isolates in sub-allelic types, while Hinf-I digestion of msp-2 amplicons differentiated three alleles into two distinct allelic families, i.e. FC-27 and 3D7. The allelic family-specific PCR generally confirmed the results of PCR-RFLP except in a few isolates, which showed mixed (two) clones of msp-2 gene. There was extensive polymorphism in msp-2 gene while ama-1 and csp genes showed low polymorphism which may be due to the functional constraints of these proteins. The low level transmission of malaria in the study area may also be a factor for low polymorphism.
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