How can we identify parasite genes that underlie antimalarial drug resistance?

Department of Genetics, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, San Antonio, TX 78245, USA.
Pharmacogenomics (Impact Factor: 3.22). 11/2010; 12(1):59-85. DOI: 10.2217/pgs.10.165
Source: PubMed


This article outlines genome-scale approaches that can be used to identify mutations in malaria (Plasmodium) parasites that underlie drug resistance and contribute to treatment failure. These approaches include genetic mapping by linkage or genome-wide association studies, drug selection and characterization of resistant mutants, and the identification of genome regions under strong recent selection. While these genomic approaches can identify candidate resistance loci, genetic manipulation is needed to demonstrate causality. We therefore also describe the growing arsenal of available transfection approaches for direct incrimination of mutations suspected to play a role in resistance. Our intention is both to review past progress and highlight promising approaches for future investigations.

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Available from: Standwell Nkhoma, Dec 26, 2013
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    • "This support the argument that emergence of CQ resistance is influenced by intensity of CQ usage [39-42]. The mutations in pfcrt have been identified to confer and improve the fitness and stability of parasites containing the T76 mutation [43,44]. The detection of high prevalence of some point mutations of pfmdr1 in Central region of the country (unpublished data) also augments the fitness and stability of CQ resistant P. falciparum strains in the study sites. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background After years of disuse of chloroquine (CQ) as first-line anti-malarial drug in Ghana, reports from molecular studies conducted in parts of the country indicate varying prevalence of T76 mutation in the pfcrt gene. This situation has several health implications, one being that mutations that confer resistance to CQ have been reported to show substantial cross-resistance to other anti-malarial drugs. It is important to identify some of the factors contributing to the continuous presence of CQ resistance markers in the country. This study determined the prevalence of T76 mutation in pfcrt gene of Plasmodium falciparum isolates collected from selected areas of the Central region of Ghana and correlated with the level of CQ use in these areas. Methods Plasmodium falciparum DNA was extracted from collected blood-blot filter paper samples in the study sites. The prevalence of T76 point mutation in pfcrt gene was assessed using nested PCR followed by RFLP. CQ from pharmacy and chemical shops was obtained using mystery buying method. The extent of CQ use by the participants was determined by measuring the level of the drug in their urine samples using the Saker-Solomon method. Results Of the 214 P. falciparum isolates analysed, 71.9% were found to have T76 mutation of pfcrt gene. The study revealed that 14.49% of community pharmacies and chemical shops had stocks of CQ for sale while 16.9% of the participants had CQ in their urine samples. There is five times more risks of becoming infected with CQ resistant strain for staying in an area where CQ is stocked for sale [RR = 0.20, p < 0.0001] and thirteen times more risks of having CQ-resistant mutant from those who still use CQ than non-users [OR = 0.08, p < 0.0001]. Conclusion This study has shown that high variation in the prevalence of T76 mutations of P. falciparum is linked with the level of CQ stocking and usage within study area.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Malaria Journal
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    • "Point mutations may enable a link with the molecular target to be established. The genetic changes causing resistance can be identified using tiling arrays, full genome sequencing or linkage analysis and candidate genes can be validated using allelic exchange experiments [62-65]. The full genome sequences of a large number of P. falciparum parasites from diverse locations have already been determined [66]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Resistance is a constant challenge for anti-infective drug development. Since they kill sensitive organisms, anti-infective agents are bound to exert an evolutionary pressure toward the emergence and spread of resistance mechanisms, if such resistance can arise by stochastic mutation events. New classes of medicines under development must be designed or selected to stay ahead in this vicious circle of resistance control. This involves both circumventing existing resistance mechanisms and selecting molecules which are resilient against the development and spread of resistance. Cell-based screening methods have led to a renaissance of new classes of anti-malarial medicines, offering us the potential to select and modify molecules based on their resistance potential. To that end, a standardized in vitro methodology to assess quantitatively these characteristics in Plasmodium falciparum during the early phases of the drug development process has been developed and is presented here. It allows the identification of anti-malarial compounds with overt resistance risks and the prioritization of the most robust ones. The integration of this strategy in later stages of development, registration, and deployment is also discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · Malaria Journal
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    • "Linkage mapping has been extremely successful for mapping biomedically important malaria traits, but crosses are expensive, labour intensive and ethically problematic [49]. Our results show that the progeny of natural genetic crosses can be sampled from natural infections. "
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    ABSTRACT: Malaria infections containing multiple parasite genotypes are ubiquitous in nature, and play a central role in models of recombination, intra-host dynamics, virulence, sex ratio, immunity and drug resistance evolution in Plasmodium. While these multiple infections (MIs) are often assumed to result from superinfection (bites from multiple infected mosquitoes), we know remarkably little about their composition or generation. We isolated 336 parasite clones from eight patients from Malawi (high transmission) and six from Thailand (low transmission) by dilution cloning. These were genotyped using 384 single-nucleotide polymorphisms, revealing 22 independent haplotypes in Malawi (2-6 per MI) and 15 in Thailand (2-5 per MI). Surprisingly, all six patients from Thailand and six of eight from Malawi contained related haplotypes, and haplotypes were more similar within- than between-infections. These results argue against a simple superinfection model. Instead, the observed kinship patterns may be explained by inoculation of multiple related haploid sporozoites from single mosquito bites, by immune suppression of parasite subpopulations within infections, and serial transmission of related parasites between people. That relatedness is maintained in endemic areas in the face of repeated bites from infected mosquitoes has profound implications for understanding malaria transmission, immunity and intra-host dynamics of co-infecting parasite genotypes.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
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