The merozoite surface protein-1 (MSP-1) is a major vaccine candidate for the asexual blood stage of malaria. We examined both the extent of sequence diversity in block 17, the 3′ end of Msp-1 gene coding for a 19-kDa polypeptide (MSP-119) putatively involved in red blood cell binding, and the patterns of linkage disequilibrium between polymorphic sites throughout the Msp-1 locus. The parasite population sample consisted of Plasmodium falciparum isolates collected between 1985 and 1998 in Rondônia, an area of hypoendemic malaria transmission in the southwestern Brazilian Amazon. Results were summarized as follows. (1) Seven block-17 sequence variants or haplotypes were found among 130 isolates, including two new haplotypes (novel combinations of previously reported amino acid replacements), here named Brazil-1 (E-TSR-F) and Brazil-2 (Q-TSR-F). (2) As previously shown for other Msp-1 polymorphisms, frequencies of block-17 haplotypes displayed significant temporal variation. (3) Extensive linkage disequilibrium was demonstrated between neighboring dimorphic sites within block 17, as well as between polymorphisms at the 5′ and 3′ ends of Msp-1 (map distance range: 3.83–4.99 kb). (4) The overall patterns of linkage disequilibrium within Msp-1 remained stable over a period of nearly one decade, and examples of possible ‘epidemic’ expansion of parasites carrying particular Msp-1 alleles were found in the 1980s and 1990s. These results are discussed in relation to the population biology of P. falciparum and the development of malaria vaccines based on MSP-1.
The Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology
Vol. 48 • No. 4
Vol. 48 • No. 4
population genetics of malaria parasites