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Gene. 2009 Aug 15;443(1-2):12-21. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2009.05.007. Epub 2009 May 20.

Sequence diversity and evolutionary dynamics of the dimorphic antigen merozoite surface protein-6 and other Msp genes of Plasmodium falciparum.

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  • 1National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Building 38A, Bethesda, MD 20894, USA. royscott@ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Abstract

Immune evasion by Plasmodium falciparum is favored by extensive allelic diversity of surface antigens. Some of them, most notably the vaccine-candidate merozoite surface protein (MSP)-1, exhibit a poorly understood pattern of allelic dimorphism, in which all observed alleles group into two highly diverged allelic families with few or no inter-family recombinants. Here we describe contrasting levels and patterns of sequence diversity in genes encoding three MSP-1-associated surface antigens of P. falciparum, ranging from an ancient allelic dimorphism in the Msp-6 gene to a near lack of allelic divergence in Msp-9 to a more classical multi-allele polymorphism in Msp-7. Other members of the Msp-7 gene family exhibit very little polymorphism in non-repetitive regions. A comparison of P. falciparum Msp-6 sequences to an orthologous sequence from P. reichenowi provided evidence for distinct evolutionary histories of the 5' and 3' segments of the dimorphic region in PfMsp-6, consistent with one dimorphic lineage having arisen from recombination between now-extinct ancestral alleles. In addition, we uncovered two surprising patterns of evolution in repetitive sequence. First, in Msp-6, large deletions are associated with (nearly) identical sequence motifs at their borders. Second, a comparison of PfMsp-9 with the P. reichenowi ortholog indicated retention of a significant inter-unit diversity within an 18-base pair repeat within the coding region of P. falciparum, but homogenization in P. reichenowi.

PMID:
19463923
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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