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Drug Resist Updat. 2001 Feb;4(1):66-74.

The ABC transporter genes of Plasmodium falciparum and drug resistance.

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Department of Molecular Diagnostics and Pathogenesis, Division of Retrovirology Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Rockville, MD, USA.


The seminal observations that (a) chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum strains accumulate less drug than more sensitive parasites, and (b) chloroquine resistance could be modulated in vitro by the classic multidrug-resistance (MDR) modulator verapamil, suggested not only that parasite resistance to multiple drugs may be similar to the MDR phenotype described in mammalian cancer cells, but that homologous proteins may be involved. These findings prompted search for MDR-like genes in the parasite. To date, three full-length ABC transporter genes have been isolated from P. falciparum: two P-glycoprotein-like homologues, pfmdr1 and pfmdr2, and a homologue of the yeast GCN20 gene, pfgcn20.

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