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Positive Diversifying Selection on the Plasmodium falciparum surf4.1 Gene in Thailand

Tropical Medicine and Health
Japanese Society of Tropical Medicine
Publication Date
DOI: 10.2149/tmh.2012-12
  • Original Article
  • Biology


Plasmodium falciparum SURFIN4.1 is a type I transmembrane protein thought to locate on the merozoite surface and to be responsible for a reversible adherence to the erythrocyte before invasion. In this study, we evaluated surf4.1 gene segment encoding extracellular region for polymorphism, the signature of positive selection, the degree of linkage disequilibrium, and temporal change in allele frequency distribution in P. falciparum isolates from Thailand in 1988–89, 2003, and 2005. We found that SURFIN4.1 is highly polymorphic, particularly at the C-terminal side of the variable region located just before a predicted transmembrane region. A signature of positive diversifying selection on the variable region was detected by multiple tests and, to a lesser extent, on conserved N-terminally located cysteine-rich domain by Tajima’s D test. Linkage disequilibrium between sites over a long distance (> 1.5 kb) was detected, and multiple SURFIN4.1 haplotype sequences detected in 1988/89 still circulated in 2003. Few of the single amino acid polymorphism allele frequency distributions were significantly different between the 1988/89 and 2003 groups, suggesting that the frequency distribution of SURFIN4.1 extracellular region remained stable over 14 years.

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