[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malaria is one of the most important tropical diseases that has caused devastation throughout the history of mankind. Malaria eradication programmes in the past have had many positive effects but failed to wipe out malaria from most tropical countries, including Sri Lanka. Encouraged by the impressive levels of reduction in malaria case numbers during the past decade, Sri Lanka has launched a programme to eliminate malaria by year 2014. This article reviews the historical milestones associated with the malaria eradication programme that failed subsequently and the events that led to the launch of the ongoing malaria elimination plans at national-level and its strategies that are operational across the entire country. The existing gaps in knowledge are also discussed together with the priority areas for research to fill in these gaps that are posing as challenges to the envisaged goal of wiping out malaria from this island nation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SUMMARY Here we examined whether the recent dramatic decline in malaria transmission in Sri Lanka led to a major bottleneck in the local Plasmodium vivax population, with a substantial decrease in the effective population size. To this end, we typed 14 highly polymorphic microsatellite markers in 185 P. vivax patient isolates collected from 13 districts in Sri Lanka over a period of 5 years (2003-2007). Overall, we found a high degree of polymorphism, with 184 unique haplotypes (12-46 alleles per locus) and average genetic diversity (expected heterozygosity) of 0·8744. Almost 69% (n = 127) isolates had multiple-clone infections (MCI). Significant spatial and temporal differentiation (F ST = 0·04-0·25; P⩽0·0009) between populations was observed. The effective population size was relatively high but showed a decline from 2003-4 to 2006-7 periods (estimated as 45 661 to 22 896 or 10 513 to 7057, depending on the underlying model used). We used three approaches - namely, mode-shift in allele frequency distribution, detection of heterozygote excess and the M-ratio statistics - to test for evidence of a recent population bottleneck but only the low values of M-ratio statistics (ranging between 0·15-0·33, mean 0·26) were suggestive of such a bottleneck. The persistence of high genetic diversity and high proportion of MCI, with little change in effective population size, despite the collapse in demographic population size of P. vivax in Sri Lanka indicates the importance of maintaining stringent control and surveillance measures to prevent resurgence.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Senegalese National Malaria Control Programme has recommended use of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) that target the histidine-rich protein 2 (HRP2), specific to Plasmodium falciparum, to diagnose malaria cases. The target antigen has been shown to be polymorphic, which may explain the variability in HRP2-based RDT results reported in field studies. The genetic diversity of the pfhrp2 gene has not been investigated in depth in many African countries. The goal of this study is to determine the extent of polymorphism in pfhrp2 among Senegal, Mali and Uganda parasite populations, and discuss the implications of these findings on the utility of RDTs that are based on HRP2 detection.
Sequencing data from the pfhrp2 locus were used to analyze the genetic diversity of this gene among three populations, with different transmission dynamics and malaria parasite ecologies. Nucleotide diversity (pi) and non-synonymous nucleotide diversity (piNS) were studied in the pfhrp2 gene from isolates obtained in Senegal. Amino acid repeat length polymorphisms in the PfHRP2 antigen were characterized and parameters of genetic diversity, such as frequency and correlation between repeats in these populations, were assessed.
The diversity survey of the pfhrp2 gene identified 29 SNPs as well as insertion and deletion polymorphisms within a 918 bp region. The Senegal pfhrp2 exhibited a substantial level of diversity [pi = 0.00559 and piNS = 0.014111 (piS = 0.0291627)], similar to several polymorphic genes, such as msp1, involved in immune responses, and the gene encoding the SURFIN polymorphic antigen, which are surface exposed parasite proteins. Extensive repeat length polymorphisms in PfHRP2, as well as similar patterns in the number, organization and the type of predicted amino acid repeats were observed among the three populations, characterized by an occurrence of Type 2, Type 4 and Type 7 repeats.
These results warrant deeper monitoring of the RDT target antigen diversity and emphasize that development of other essential genes as a target for diagnostic tools is critical.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A challenge to conducting high-impact and reproducible studies of the mechanisms of P. falciparum drug resistance, invasion, virulence, and immunity is the lack of robust and sustainable in vitro culture in the field. While the technology exists and is routinely utilized in developed countries, various factors-from cost, to supply, to quality-make it hard to implement in malaria endemic countries. Here, we design and rigorously evaluate an adjustable gas-mixing device for the in vitro culture of P. falciparum parasites in the field to circumvent this challenge. The device accurately replicates the gas concentrations needed to culture laboratory isolates, short-term adapted field isolates, cryopreserved previously non-adapted isolates, as well as to adapt ex vivo isolates to in vitro culture in the field. We also show an advantage over existing alternatives both in cost and in supply. Furthermore, the adjustable nature of the device makes it an ideal tool for many applications in which varied gas concentrations could be critical to culture success. This adjustable gas-mixing device will dramatically improve the feasibility of in vitro culture of Plasmodium falciparum parasites in malaria endemic countries given its numerous advantages.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(3):e90928. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Drug resistance emerges in an ecological context where fitness costs restrict the diversity of escape pathways. These pathways are targets for drug discovery, and here we demonstrate that we can identify small-molecule inhibitors that differentially target resistant parasites. Combining wild-type and mutant-type inhibitors may prevent the emergence of competitively viable resistance. We tested this hypothesis with a clinically derived chloroquine-resistant (CQ(r)) malaria parasite and with parasites derived by in vitro selection with Plasmodium falciparum dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (PfDHODH) inhibitors. We screened a chemical library against CQ(s) and CQ(r) lines and discovered a drug-like compound (IDI-3783) that was potent only in the CQ(r) line. Surprisingly, in vitro selection of Plasmodium falciparum resistant to IDI-3783 restored CQ sensitivity, thereby indicating that CQ might once again be useful as a malaria therapy. In parallel experiments, we selected P. falciparum lines resistant to structurally unrelated PfDHODH inhibitors (Genz-666136 and DSM74). Both selections yielded resistant lines with the same point mutation in PfDHODH:E182D. We discovered a compound (IDI-6273) more potent against E182D than wild-type parasites. Selection of the E182D mutant with IDI-6273 yielded a reversion to the wild-type protein sequence and phenotype although the nucleotide sequence was different. Importantly, selection with a combination of Genz-669178, a wild-type PfDHODH inhibitor, and IDI-6273, a mutant-selective PfDHODH inhibitor, did not yield resistant parasites. These two examples demonstrate that the compromise between resistance and evolutionary fitness can be exploited to design therapies that prevent the emergence and spread of resistant organisms.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2013; · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malaria treatment efforts are hindered by the rapid emergence and spread of drug resistant parasites. Simple assays to monitor parasite drug response in direct patient samples (ex vivo) can detect drug resistance before it becomes clinically apparent, and can inform changes in treatment policy to prevent the spread of resistance.
Parasite drug responses to amodiaquine, artemisinin, chloroquine and mefloquine were tested in approximately 400 Plasmodium falciparum malaria infections in Thies, Senegal between 2008 and 2011 using a DAPI-based ex vivo drug resistance assay. Drug resistance-associated mutations were also genotyped in pfcrt and pfmdr1.
Parasite drug responses changed between 2008 and 2011, as parasites became less sensitive to amodiaquine, artemisinin and chloroquine over time. The prevalence of known resistance-associated mutations also changed over time. Decreased amodiaquine sensitivity was associated with sustained, highly prevalent mutations in pfcrt, and one mutation in pfmdr1 -- Y184F -- was associated with decreased parasite sensitivity to artemisinin.
Directly measuring ex vivo parasite drug response and resistance mutation genotyping over time are useful tools for monitoring parasite drug responses in field samples. Furthermore, these data suggest that the use of amodiaquine and artemisinin derivatives in combination therapies is selecting for increased drug tolerance within this population.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the current era of malaria eradication, reducing transmission is critical. Assessment of transmissibility requires tools that can accurately identify the various developmental stages of the malaria parasite, particularly those required for transmission (sexual stages). Here, we present a method for estimating relative amounts of Plasmodium falciparum asexual and sexual stages from gene expression measurements. These are modeled using constrained linear regression to characterize stage-specific expression profiles within mixed-stage populations. The resulting profiles were analyzed functionally by gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA), confirming differentially active pathways such as increased mitochondrial activity and lipid metabolism during sexual development. We validated model predictions both from microarrays and from quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) measurements, based on the expression of a small set of key transcriptional markers. This sufficient marker set was identified by backward selection from the whole genome as available from expression arrays, targeting one sentinel marker per stage. The model as learned can be applied to any new microarray or qRT-PCR transcriptional measurement. We illustrate its use in vitro in inferring changes in stage distribution following stress and drug treatment and in vivo in identifying immature and mature sexual stage carriers within patient cohorts. We believe this approach will be a valuable resource for staging lab and field samples alike and will have wide applicability in epidemiological studies of malaria transmission.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Analysis of genome sequences of 159 isolates of Plasmodium falciparum from Senegal yields an extraordinarily high proportion (26.85%) of protein-coding genes with the ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous polymorphism greater than one. This proportion is much greater than observed in other organisms. Also unusual is that the site-frequency spectra of synonymous and nonsynonymous polymorphisms are virtually indistinguishable. We hypothesized that the complicated life cycle of malaria parasites might lead to qualitatively different population genetics from that predicted from the classical Wright-Fisher (WF) model, which assumes a single random-mating population with a finite and constant population size in an organism with nonoverlapping generations. This paper summarizes simulation studies of random genetic drift and selection in malaria parasites that take into account their unusual life history. Our results show that random genetic drift in the malaria life cycle is more pronounced than under the WF model. Paradoxically, the efficiency of purifying selection in the malaria life cycle is also greater than under WF, and the relative efficiency of positive selection varies according to conditions. Additionally, the site-frequency spectrum under neutrality is also more skewed toward low-frequency alleles than expected with WF. These results highlight the importance of considering the malaria life cycle when applying existing population genetic tools based on the WF model. The same caveat applies to other species with similarly complex life cycles.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2013; · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Residence within a customized vacuole is a highly successful strategy used by diverse intracellular microorganisms. The parasitophorous vacuole membrane (PVM) is the critical interface between Plasmodium parasites and their possibly hostile, yet ultimately sustaining, host cell environment. We show that torins, developed as ATP-competitive mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase inhibitors, are fast-acting antiplasmodial compounds that unexpectedly target the parasite directly, blocking the dynamic trafficking of the Plasmodium proteins exported protein 1 (EXP1) and upregulated in sporozoites 4 (UIS4) to the liver stage PVM and leading to efficient parasite elimination by the hepatocyte. Torin2 has single-digit, or lower, nanomolar potency in both liver and blood stages of infection in vitro and is likewise effective against both stages in vivo, with a single oral dose sufficient to clear liver stage infection. Parasite elimination and perturbed trafficking of liver stage PVM-resident proteins are both specific aspects of torin-mediated Plasmodium liver stage inhibition, indicating that torins have a distinct mode of action compared with currently used antimalarials.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2013; · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malaria's ability to rapidly adapt to new drugs has allowed it to remain one of the most devastating infectious diseases of humans. Understanding and tracking the genetic basis of these adaptations is critical to the success of treatment and intervention strategies. The novel antimalarial resistance locus PF10_0355 (Pfmspdbl2) was previously associated with parasite response to halofantrine, and functional validation confirmed that overexpression of this gene lowered parasite sensitivity to both halofantrine and the structurally related antimalarials mefloquine and lumefantrine, predominantly through copy number variation (CNV). Here we further characterize the role of Pfmspdbl2 in mediating antimalarial drug response in P. falciparum. Knockout of Pfmspdbl2 increased parasite sensitivity to halofantrine, mefloquine and lumefantrine, but not to unrelated antimalarials, further suggesting that this gene mediates parasite response to a specific class of antimalarial drugs. A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) encoding a C591S mutation within Pfmspdbl2 had the strongest association with halofantrine response and showed a high derived allele frequency among Senegalese parasites. Transgenic parasites expressing the ancestral Pfmspdbl2 allele were more sensitive to halofantrine and structurally related antimalarials than parasites expressing the derived allele, revealing an allele-specific effect on drug response in the absence of copy number effects. Finally, growth competition experiments showed that under drug pressure, parasites expressing the derived allele of Pfmspdbl2 out-competed parasites expressing the ancestral allele within a few generations. Together these experiments demonstrate that modulation of Pfmspdbl2 affects drug response in the malaria parasite.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 04/2013; · 4.57 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using parasite genotyping tools, we screened patients with mild uncomplicated malaria seeking treatment at a clinic in Thiès, Senegal, from 2006 to 2011. We identified a growing frequency of infections caused by genetically identical parasite strains, coincident with increased deployment of malaria control interventions and decreased malaria deaths. Parasite genotypes in some cases persisted clonally across dry seasons. The increase in frequency of genetically identical parasite strains corresponded with decrease in the probability of multiple infections. Further, these observations support evidence of both clonal and epidemic population structures. These data provide the first evidence of a temporal correlation between the appearance of identical parasite types and increased malaria control efforts in Africa, which here included distribution of insecticide treated nets (ITNs), use of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for malaria detection, and deployment of artemisinin combination therapy (ACT). Our results imply that genetic surveillance can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of disease control strategies and assist a rational global malaria eradication campaign.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(4):e60780. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Resistance to sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine (SP) in Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites is associated with mutations in the dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr) and dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) genes, and these mutations have spread resistance worldwide. SP, used for several years in Senegal, has been recommended for intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) and has been widely implemented since 2003 in this country. There is currently limited data on SP resistance from molecular marker genotyping, and no data on pyrimethamine ex vivo sensitivity in Senegal. Molecular markers of SP resistance and pyrimethamine ex vivo sensitivity were investigated in 416 parasite samples collected from the general population, from the Thies region between 2003 and 2011. The prevalence of the N51I/C59R/S108N triple mutation in dhfr increased from 40% in 2003 to 93% in 2011. Furthermore, the prevalence of the dhfr N51I/C59R/S108N and dhps A437G quadruple mutation increased, from 20% to 66% over the same time frame, then down to 44% by 2011. There was a significant increase in the prevalence of the dhfr triple mutation, as well as an association between dhfr genotypes and pyrimethamine response. Conversely, dhps mutations in codons 436 and 437 did not show consistent variation between 2003 and 2011. These findings suggest that regular screening for molecular markers of antifolate resistance and ex vivo drug response monitoring should be incorporated with ongoing in vivo efficacy monitoring in areas where IPTp-SP is implemented and where pyrimethamine and sulfa drugs are still widely administered in the general population.
International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance. 01/2013; 3:135–142.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Variation of surface adhesins, such as the Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte invasion ligand PfRh4, is critical for virulence and immune evasion in many microbes. While phenotypic switching is linked to transcriptional changes and chromatin function, the determinants of switching frequency remain poorly defined. By expressing a prokaryotic DNA methylase in P. falciparum, we directly assayed accessibility of transcriptionally active and silent chromatin at the PfRh4 locus. Parasites selected for in vivo PfRh4 activation show a reversible increase in promoter accessibility and exhibit perinuclear repositioning of the locus from a silent to a conserved activation domain. Forced activation of a proximal gene results in a similar repositioning of the PfRh4 locus, with a concomitant increase in PfRh4 activation in a subpopulation of parasites and promoter accessibility correlating with actively transcribed loci. Thus, nuclear repositioning is associated with increased P. falciparum switching frequency, while promoter accessibility is tightly linked to clonally active PfRh4 promoters.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Through rapid genetic adaptation and natural selection, the Plasmodium falciparum parasite--the deadliest of those that cause malaria--is able to develop resistance to antimalarial drugs, thwarting present efforts to control it. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) provide a critical hypothesis-generating tool for understanding how this occurs. However, in P. falciparum, the limited amount of linkage disequilibrium hinders the power of traditional array-based GWAS. Here, we demonstrate the feasibility and power improvements gained by using whole-genome sequencing for association studies. We analyzed data from 45 Senegalese parasites and identified genetic changes associated with the parasites' in vitro response to 12 different antimalarials. To further increase statistical power, we adapted a common test for natural selection, XP-EHH (cross-population extended haplotype homozygosity), and used it to identify genomic regions associated with resistance to drugs. Using this sequence-based approach and the combination of association and selection-based tests, we detected several loci associated with drug resistance. These loci included the previously known signals at pfcrt, dhfr, and pfmdr1, as well as many genes not previously implicated in drug-resistance roles, including genes in the ubiquitination pathway. Based on the success of the analysis presented in this study, and on the demonstrated shortcomings of array-based approaches, we argue for a complete transition to sequence-based GWAS for small, low linkage-disequilibrium genomes like that of P. falciparum.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2012; 109(32):13052-7. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malaria is a deadly disease that causes nearly one million deaths each year. To develop methods to control and eradicate malaria, it is important to understand the genetic basis of Plasmodium falciparum adaptations to antimalarial treatments and the human immune system while taking into account its demographic history. To study the demographic history and identify genes under selection more efficiently, we sequenced the complete genomes of 25 culture-adapted P. falciparum isolates from three sites in Senegal. We show that there is no significant population structure among these Senegal sampling sites. By fitting demographic models to the synonymous allele-frequency spectrum, we also estimated a major 60-fold population expansion of this parasite population ∼20,000-40,000 years ago. Using inferred demographic history as a null model for coalescent simulation, we identified candidate genes under selection, including genes identified before, such as pfcrt and PfAMA1, as well as new candidate genes. Interestingly, we also found selection against G/C to A/T changes that offsets the large mutational bias toward A/T, and two unusual patterns: similar synonymous and nonsynonymous allele-frequency spectra, and 18% of genes having a nonsynonymous-to-synonymous polymorphism ratio >1.
Molecular Biology and Evolution 06/2012; 29(11):3427-39. · 10.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The goal of the present study was to assess the evolution of the in vitro chloroquine resistance and also the prevalence of pfcrt T76 and pfmdr1 Y86 mutations in Pikine from 2000 while chloroquine (CQ) was the first-line treatment of malaria to 2009 when artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are in use. We genotyped pfcrt K76T and pfmdr1 N86Y polymorphisms by PCR-RFLP and assessed in vitro CQ susceptibility by double-site enzyme-linked pLDH immunodetection (DELI) assay in Plasmodium falciparum isolates collected in Pikine, Senegal. The proportions of the pfcrt T76 allele in the light of the three different treatment policies were 72.4 % before CQ withdrawal (2000 to 2003), 47.2 % while amodiaquine plus Fansidar was the first-line treatment (2004 to 2005), and 59.5 % since the ACT use was implemented (2006 to 2009). The prevalence of pfcrt T76 decreased significantly after CQ was stopped [X (2) = 6.54, P = 0.01 (2000-2003 versus 2004-2005)] and then slightly since ACTs have been implemented [X (2) = 1.12, P = 0.28 (2000-2003 versus 2006-2009)]. There were no significant differences on the prevalence of pfmdr1 Y86 throughout the three treatment policies. The DELI assay was carried out episodically in 2000 (n = 36), 2001 (n = 47), and 2009 (n = 37). The mean IC(50)s of the isolates to CQ in 2000 versus 2009 and 2001 versus 2009 are significantly different (P < 0.05). The Fisher exact test found a significant association between the presence of the pfcrt T76 mutant allele and in vitro resistance in 2000/2001 (P = 0.023), while in 2009 there were no association between both variables (P = 0.274). Mutant pfcrt T76 and pfmdr1 Y86 alleles and in vitro CQ-resistant strains are still circulating in Pikine. The official discontinuation of CQ use is not completely followed by its total withdrawal from private drug sellers, and the molecule still exerts pressure on local P. falciparum populations.
Parasitology Research 06/2012; 111(4):1541-6. · 2.85 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We used a high-density single-nucleotide polymorphism array to genotype 75 Plasmodium falciparum isolates recently collected from Senegal and The Gambia to search for signals of selection in this malaria endemic region. We found little geographic or temporal stratification of the genetic diversity among the sampled parasites. Through application of the iHS and REHH haplotype-based tests for positive selection, we found evidence of recent selective sweeps at a known drug resistance locus, at several known antigenic loci, and at several genomic regions not previously identified as sites of recent selection. We discuss the value of deep population-specific genomic analyses for identifying selection signals within sampled endemic populations of parasites, which may correspond to local selection pressures such as distinctive therapeutic regimes or mosquito vectors.
Molecular Biology and Evolution 06/2012; 29(11):3249-53. · 10.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plasmodium falciparum with reduced sensitivity to artemisinin derivatives has been observed in endemic areas, but the molecular mechanisms for this reduced sensitivity remain unclear. We evaluated the association between in vitro susceptibility of P. falciparum isolates obtained from southwest Nigeria and polymorphisms in selected putative transporter genes (PFE0775C, PF13_0271, pfmrp1, pfcrt, and pfmdr1). Modified schizont inhibition assay was used to determine the in vitro parasite susceptibility to artemether (ATH). Polymorphisms in selected genes were detected by polymerase chain reaction followed by direct DNA sequencing. The half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC(50)) geometric mean (GM) for all P. falciparum isolates was 1.78 nM (range, 0.03-10.43 nM). Polymorphisms at codons 241, 86, and 76 of PFE0775C, pfmdr1, and pfcrt genes, respectively, were associated with reduced susceptibility to ATH. A new S263P single-nucleotide polymorphism on the PFE0775C gene was also detected in 27% of the isolates. Patient isolates harboring V241L or S263P polymorphisms on the PFE0775C gene showed increased IC(50) (GM: 3.08 nM and 1.79 nM, respectively). Plasmodium falciparum isolates harboring mutant Y86 pfmdr1 and P263 PFE0775C alleles showed a 2.5-5.5-fold increase in ATH IC(50.) This study shows that polymorphisms on the PFE0775C and pfmdr1 genes are associated with reduced sensitivity to ATH in fresh isolates of P. falciparum from Nigeria.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 05/2012; 206(3):324-32. · 5.85 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malaria is an important human disease and is the target of a global eradication campaign. New technological and informatics advancements in population genomics are being leveraged to identify genetic loci under selection in the malaria parasite and to find variants that are associated with key clinical phenotypes, such as drug resistance. This article provides a timely Review of how population-genetics-based strategies are being applied to Plasmodium falciparum both to identify genetic loci as key targets of interventions and to develop monitoring and surveillance tools that are crucial for the successful elimination and eradication of malaria.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite efforts to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality, drug-resistant parasites continue to evade control strategies. Recently, emphasis has shifted away from control and toward regional elimination and global eradication of malaria. Such a campaign requires tools to monitor genetic changes in the parasite that could compromise the effectiveness of antimalarial drugs and undermine eradication programs. These tools must be fast, sensitive, unambiguous, and cost-effective to offer real-time reports of parasite drug susceptibility status across the globe. We have developed and validated a set of genotyping assays using high-resolution melting (HRM) analysis to detect molecular biomarkers associated with drug resistance across six genes in Plasmodium falciparum. We improved on existing technical approaches by developing refinements and extensions of HRM, including the use of blocked probes (LunaProbes) and the mutant allele amplification bias (MAAB) technique. To validate the sensitivity and accuracy of our assays, we compared our findings to sequencing results in both culture-adapted lines and clinical isolates from Senegal. We demonstrate that our assays (i) identify both known and novel polymorphisms, (ii) detect multiple genotypes indicative of mixed infections, and (iii) distinguish between variants when multiple copies of a locus are present. These rapid and inexpensive assays can track drug resistance and detect emerging mutations in targeted genetic loci in P. falciparum. They provide tools for monitoring molecular changes associated with changes in drug response across populations and for determining whether parasites present after drug treatment are the result of recrudescence or reinfection in clinical settings.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 03/2012; 56(6):2976-86. · 4.57 Impact Factor