Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 29187975
Link to HAL – Click here
Link to DOI – 10.1002/ece3.3425
Ecol Evol 2017 Nov; 7(22): 9376-9390
Strong founder effects resulting from human migration out of Africa have led to geographic variation in single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and microsatellites (MS) of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. This is particularly striking in South America where two major founder populations of P. falciparum have been identified that are presumed to have arisen from the transatlantic slave trade. Given the importance of the major variant surface antigen of the blood stages of P. falciparum as both a virulence factor and target of immunity, we decided to investigate the population genetics of the genes encoding “Plasmodium falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein 1″ (Pf EMP1) among several countries in South America, in order to evaluate the transmission patterns of malaria in this continent. Deep sequencing of the DBLα domain of var genes from 128 P. falciparum isolates from five locations in South America was completed using a 454 high throughput sequencing protocol. Striking geographic variation in var DBLα sequences, similar to that seen for SNPs and MS markers, was observed. Colombia and French Guiana had distinct var DBLα sequences, whereas Peru and Venezuela showed an admixture. The importance of such geographic variation to herd immunity and malaria vaccination is discussed.