ABSTRACT: Mutations in the chloroquine resistance (CQR) transporter gene of Plasmodium falciparum (Pfcrt; chromosome 7) play a key role in CQR, while mutations in the multidrug resistance gene (Pfmdr1; chromosome 5) play a significant role in the parasite's resistance to a variety of antimalarials and also modulate CQR. To compare patterns of genetic variation at Pfcrt and Pfmdr1 loci, we investigated 460 blood samples from P. falciparum-infected patients from four Asian, three African, and three South American countries, analyzing microsatellite (MS) loci flanking Pfcrt (five loci [approximately 40 kb]) and Pfmdr1 (either two loci [approximately 5 kb] or four loci [approximately 10 kb]). CQR Pfmdr1 allele-associated MS haplotypes showed considerably higher genetic diversity and higher levels of subdivision than CQR Pfcrt allele-associated MS haplotypes in both Asian and African parasite populations. However, both Pfcrt and Pfmdr1 MS haplotypes showed similar levels of low diversity in South American parasite populations. Median-joining network analyses showed that the Pfcrt MS haplotypes correlated well with geography and CQR Pfcrt alleles, whereas there was no distinct Pfmdr1 MS haplotype that correlated with geography and/or CQR Pfmdr1 alleles. Furthermore, multiple independent origins of CQR Pfmdr1 alleles in Asia and Africa were inferred. These results suggest that variation at Pfcrt and Pfmdr1 loci in both Asian and African parasite populations is generated and/or maintained via substantially different mechanisms. Since Pfmdr1 mutations may be associated with resistance to artemisinin combination therapies that are replacing CQ, particularly in Africa, it is important to determine if, and how, the genetic characteristics of this locus change over time.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 07/2008; 52(6):2212-22. · 4.84 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Polymorphism in the pfcrt gene underlies Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistance (CQR), as sensitive strains consistently carry lysine (K), while CQR strains carry threonine (T) at the codon 76. Previous studies have shown that microsatellite (MS) haplotype variation can be used to study the evolution of CQR polymorphism and to characterize intra- and inter-population dispersal of CQR in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Here, following identification of new polymorphic MS in introns 2 and 3 within the pfcrt gene (msint2 and msint3, respectively), locus-by-locus and haplotype heterozygosity (H) analyses were performed to determine the distribution of this intronic polymorphism among pfcrt chloroquine-sensitive and CQR alleles.
For MS flanking the pfcrt CQR allele, H ranged from 0.07 (B5M77, -18 kb) to 0.094 (9B12, +2 kb) suggesting that CQ selection pressure was responsible for strong homogenisation of this gene locus. In a survey of 206 pfcrt-SVMNT allele-containing field samples from malaria-endemic regions of PNG, H for msint2 was 0.201. This observation suggests that pfcrt msint2 exhibits a higher level of diversity than what is expected from the analyses of pfcrt flanking MS. Further analyses showed that one of the three haplotypes present in the early 1980's samples has become the predominant haplotype (frequency = 0.901) in CQR parasite populations collected after 1995 from three PNG sites, when CQR had spread throughout malaria-endemic regions of PNG. Apparent localized diversification of pfcrt haplotypes at each site was also observed among samples collected after 1995, where minor CQR-associated haplotypes were found to be unique to each site.
In this study, a higher level of diversity at MS loci within the pfcrt gene was observed when compared with the level of diversity at pfcrt flanking MS. While pfcrt (K76T) and its immediate flanking region indicate homogenisation in PNG CQR parasite populations, pfcrt intronic MS variation provides evidence that the locus is still evolving. Further studies are needed to determine whether these intronic MS introduce the underlying genetic mechanisms that may generate pfcrt allelic diversity.
Malaria Journal 02/2007; 6:34. · 3.19 Impact Factor
Malaria Journal, v.6 (2007).