Background: The recent emergence and spread of artemisinin resistance in the Greater Mekong Subregion poses a great threat to malaria control and elimination. A K13-propeller gene (K13), PF3D7-1343700, has been associated lately with artemisinin resistance both in vitro and in vivo. This study aimed to investigate the K13 polymorphisms in Plasmodium falciparum parasites from the China-Myanmar border area where artemisinin use has the longest history. Methods: A total of 180 archived P. falciparum isolates containing 191 parasite clones, mainly collected in 2007-2012 from the China-Myanmar area, were used to obtain the full-length K13 gene sequences. Results: Seventeen point mutations were identified in 46.1% (88/191) parasite clones, of which seven were new. The F446I mutation predominated in 27.2% of the parasite clones. The C580Y mutation that is correlated with artemisinin resistance was detected at a low frequency of 1.6%. Collectively, 43.1% of the parasite clones contained point mutations in the kelch domain of the K13 gene. Moreover, there was a trend of increase in the frequency of parasites carrying kelch domain mutations through the years of sample collection. In addition, a microsatellite variation in the N-terminus of the K13 protein was found to have reached a high frequency (69.1%). Conclusions: This study documented the presence of mutations in the K13 gene in parasite populations from the China-Myanmar border. Mutations present in the kelch domain have become prevalent (>40%). A predominant mutation F446I and a prevalent microsatellite variation in the N-terminus were identified, but their importance in artemisinin resistance remains to be elucidated.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases