We characterized the complete nucleic and amino acid sequences of the Plasmodium inui circumsporozoite protein (Pincsp) gene and analyzed nucleotide diversity across the entire Pincsp gene by using 7 field isolates and strains Taiwan I and II obtained from Formosan macaques (Macaca cyclopis) in Taiwan. The length of the circumsporozoite protein (CSP) gene ranged from 1077 to 1125 bp. Size polymorphisms were due to variations in the number of tandem repeat units. The non-repetitive (NR) region exhibited high homology (99.1∼100 and 98.7∼100% at the nucleotide and amino acid levels, respectively) and was conserved among the variants (nucleotide diversities, π, of the 5′NR and 3′NR regions were 0.00364 and 0.00392, respectively). In the central repetitive (CR) region, we decomposed the sequences into 2 kinds of repeating amino acid motifs, i.e., a repeat unit R1, PA(P/A)(P/A)A(E)GG (n = 11–13), and a following repeat unit R2: P(A/G)(A/P/G)(P/Q)AQ(N/K) (n = 9–10). Analyzing these repeat sequences showed evidence of 3 genetic mechanisms for generating variations in the repeats of the Pincsp gene, i.e., point mutation, insertion, and recombination. These findings suggest that polymorphisms in the Pincsp gene are essentially limited to the CR region, which showed much greater variability in terms of length, number of repeats, and sequence.
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Vol. 96 • No. 6