Volume 59, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Nucleotide sequences of each variable block in the Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein-1 gene (PfMSP-1) may be grouped into one of two or three possible allelic types, named after the reference isolates MAD20, K1, and RO33. Allelic diversity at this locus basically results from different combinations of allelic types in variable blocks. We used a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based strategy to type the variable blocks 2, 4a, 4b, and 10 of the PfMSP-1 gene of P. falciparum isolates from 54 symptomatic malaria patients living in Rondonia, a hypoendemic area in the southwestern Brazilian Amazon. Ten different PfMSP-1 gene types, defined as unique combinations of allelic types in variable blocks, were identified among the 54 isolates. Twenty-one isolates (39%) harbored more than one gene type and two had at least three genetically distinct clones. Hybrid sequences, with a MAD20-type sequence in the 5' segment (4a) and a K1-type sequence in the 3' segment (4b), were quite common in block 4. Direct sequencing of block 4 PCR products revealed a new putative recombination site in four isolates. In contrast with previous studies, the observed distribution of gene types does not deviate significantly from that expected under the null hypothesis of random association between allelic types detected in each variable block. These contradictory data are discussed with reference to the immunoepidemiologic features prevailing in distinct malaria-endemic areas.


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