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

Roy, SW; Weedall, GD; da Silva, RL; Polley, SD; Ferreira, MU; (2009) Sequence diversity and evolutionary dynamics of the dimorphic antigen merozoite surface protein-6 and other Msp genes of Plasmodium falciparum. Gene, 443 (1-2). pp. 12-21. ISSN 0378-1119 DOI:

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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. Firsts 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. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Alleles, Animals, Antigens, Protozoan, genetics, Base Sequence, Evolution, Molecular, Membrane Proteins, chemistry, genetics, Molecular Sequence Data, Plasmodium, genetics, immunology, Plasmodium falciparum, genetics, immunology, Protozoan Proteins, chemistry, genetics, Sequence Alignment
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Pathogen Molecular Biology
PubMed ID: 19463923
Web of Science ID: 268084100002


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