Objectives: Plasmodium falciparum multidrug resistance protein 1 (pfmrp1) has recently emerged as an important determinant of drug resistance and mutations in the gene have been associated with several drugs. The aim of this study was to understand the level of genetic diversity in pfmrp1 and to determine the association of different mutations with altered drug susceptibilities of P. falciparum. Methods: We analysed 193 sequences of pfmrp1 from South-East Asia, west Asia, Africa, Oceania and South America. We measured the level of genetic diversity and determined signatures of selection on the gene. In vitro susceptibilities of 28 P. falciparum isolates from north-east Myanmar to a panel of seven commonly used antimalarials were determined. Statistical analysis was performed to determine the association of different mutations with in vitro drug susceptibilities. Results: A total of 28 single nucleotide polymorphisms were identified in 193 sequences, of which 22 were non-synonymous. Whereas mutations in the pfmrp1 gene were conserved among different countries within a continent, they were different between continents. Seven non-synonymous mutations were identified in the north-east Myanmar isolates; all were relatively frequent in this region as well as in other neighbouring countries. Molecular evolutionary analysis detected signatures of positive selection on the gene. Moreover, some mutations in this gene were found to be associated with reduced susceptibilities to chloroquine, mefloquine, pyronaridine and lumefantrine. Conclusions: Evidence of the positive selection of pmfrp1 and its association with the susceptibilities of parasites to multiple drugs signifies its potential as an important candidate for monitoring drug resistance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases
- Pharmacology (medical)