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Gene. 2003 Jan 30;304:65-75.

Sequence diversity and evolution of the malaria vaccine candidate merozoite surface protein-1 (MSP-1) of Plasmodium falciparum.

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  • 1Department of Parasitology, Institute for Biomedical Sciences, University of São Paulo, Av. Prof. Lineu Prestes 1374, 05508-900, São Paulo (SP), Brazil. muferrei@usp.br

Abstract

The merozoite surface protein-1 (MSP-1) of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is a major blood-stage antigen containing highly polymorphic tripeptide repeats in the domain known as block 2 and several non-repetitive domains that are essentially dimorphic. We have analyzed sequence variation in block 2 repeats and in non-repetitive block 17, as well as other polymorphisms within the MSP-1 gene, in clinical isolates of P. falciparum. Repeat haplotypes were defined as unique combinations of repeat motifs within block 2, whereas block 17 haplotypes were defined as unique combinations of single nucleotide replacements in this domain. A new block 17 haplotype, E-TNG-L, was found in one isolate from Vietnam. MSP-1 alleles, defined as unique combinations of haplotypes in blocks 2 and 17 and other polymorphisms within the molecule, were characterized in 60 isolates from hypoendemic Brazil and 37 isolates from mesoendemic Vietnam. Extensive diversity has been created in block 2 and elsewhere in the molecule, while maintaining significant linkage disequilibrium between polymorphisms across the non-telomeric MSP-1 locus separated by a map distance of more than 4 kb, suggesting that low meiotic recombination rates occur in both parasite populations. These results indicate a role for non-homologous recombination, such as strand-slippage mispairing during mitosis and gene conversion, in creating variation in a malarial antigen under strong diversifying selection.

PMID:
12568716
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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