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      Kelch 13-propeller polymorphisms in Plasmodium falciparum from Jazan region, southwest Saudi Arabia

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          Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is recommended at the initial phase for treatment of Plasmodium falciparum, to reduce morbidity and mortality in all countries where malaria is endemic. Polymorphism in portions of P. falciparum gene encoding kelch (K13)-propeller domains is associated with delayed parasite clearance after ACT. Of about 124 different non-synonymous mutations, 46 have been identified in Southeast Asia (SEA), 62 in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and 16 in both the regions. This is the first study designed to analyse the prevalence of polymorphism in the P. falciparum k13-propeller domain in the Jazan region of southwest Saudi Arabia, where malaria is endemic.


          One-hundred and forty P. falciparum samples were collected from Jazan region of southwest Saudi Arabia at three different times: 20 samples in 2011, 40 samples in 2016 and 80 samples in 2020 after the implementation of ACT. Plasmodium falciparum kelch13 ( k13) gene DNA was extracted, amplified, sequenced, and analysed using a basic local alignment search tool (BLAST).


          This study obtained 51 non-synonymous (NS) mutations in three time groups, divided as follows: 6 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) ‘11.8%’ in samples collected in 2011 only, 3 (5.9%) in 2011and 2016, 5 (9.8%) in 2011 and 2020, 5 (9.8%) in 2016 only, 8 (15.7%) in 2016 and 2020, 14 (27.5%) in 2020 and 10 (19.6%) in all the groups. The BLAST revealed that the 2011 isolates were genetically closer to African isolates (53.3%) than Asian ones (46.7%). Interestingly, this proportion changed completely in 2020, to become closer to Asian isolates (81.6%) than to African ones (18.4%).


          Despite the diversity of the identified mutations in the k13-propeller gene, these data did not report widespread artemisinin-resistant polymorphisms in the Jazan region where these samples were collected. Such a process would be expected to increase frequencies of mutations associated with the resistance of ACT.

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          Genetic diversity and chloroquine selective sweeps in Plasmodium falciparum.

          Widespread use of antimalarial agents can profoundly influence the evolution of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Recent selective sweeps for drug-resistant genotypes may have restricted the genetic diversity of this parasite, resembling effects attributed in current debates to a historic population bottleneck. Chloroquine-resistant (CQR) parasites were initially reported about 45 years ago from two foci in southeast Asia and South America, but the number of CQR founder mutations and the impact of chlorquine on parasite genomes worldwide have been difficult to evaluate. Using 342 highly polymorphic microsatellite markers from a genetic map, here we show that the level of genetic diversity varies substantially among different regions of the parasite genome, revealing extensive linkage disequilibrium surrounding the key CQR gene pfcrt and at least four CQR founder events. This disequilibrium and its decay rate in the pfcrt-flanking region are consistent with strong directional selective sweeps occurring over only approximately 20-80 sexual generations, especially a single resistant pfcrt haplotype spreading to very high frequencies throughout most of Asia and Africa. The presence of linkage disequilibrium provides a basis for mapping genes under drug selection in P. falciparum.
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            Intercontinental spread of pyrimethamine-resistant malaria.

            Here we present molecular evidence demonstrating that malaria parasites bearing high-level pyrimethamine resistance originally arrived in Africa from southeast Asia. The resistance alleles carried by these migrants are now spreading across Africa at an alarming rate, signaling the end of affordable malaria treatment and presenting sub-Saharan Africa with a public health crisis.
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                Author and article information

                Malar J
                Malar J
                Malaria Journal
                BioMed Central (London )
                10 November 2020
                10 November 2020
                : 19
                [1 ]National Center for Diseases Prevention and Control, Jazan, Saudi Arabia
                [2 ]GRID grid.415696.9, Zoonotic and Vector – Borne Diseases Ministry of Health, ; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
                [3 ]GRID grid.415272.7, ISNI 0000 0004 0607 9813, Department of Medicine, , King Fahad Central Hospital Ministry of Health, ; Jazan, Saudi Arabia
                [4 ]GRID grid.411831.e, ISNI 0000 0004 0398 1027, Medical Research Center, , Jazan University, ; Jazan, Saudi Arabia
                © The Author(s) 2020

                Open AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

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                © The Author(s) 2020

                Infectious disease & Microbiology

                plasmodium falciparum, k13 polymorphism, jazan, saudi arabia


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