Genetic diversity of the Plasmodium vivax multidrug resistance 1 gene in Thai parasite populations

Veerayuth Kittichai, Wang Nguitragool, Huguette Gaelle Ngassa Mbenda, Jetsumon Sattabongkot, Liwang Cui

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11 Scopus citations


Plasmodium vivax resistance to chloroquine (CQ) was first reported over 60 years ago. Here we analyzed sequence variations in the multidrug resistance 1 gene (Pvmdr1), a putative molecular marker for P. vivax CQ resistance, in field isolates collected from three sites in Thailand during 2013–2016. Several single nucleotide polymorphisms previously implicated in reduced CQ sensitivity were found. These genetic variations encode amino acids in the two nucleotide-binding domains as well as the transmembrane domains of the protein. The high level of genetic diversity of Pvmdr1 provides insights into the evolutionary history of this gene. Specifically, there was little evidence of positive selection at amino acid F1076L in global isolates to be promoted as a possible marker for CQ resistance. Population genetic analysis clearly divided the parasites into eastern and western populations, which is consistent with their geographical separation by the central malaria-free area of Thailand. With CQ-primaquine remaining as the frontline treatment for vivax malaria in all regions of Thailand, such a population subdivision could be shaped and affected by the current drugs for P. falciparum since mixed P. falciparum/P. vivax infections often occur in this region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-177
Number of pages10
JournalInfection, Genetics and Evolution
StatePublished - Oct 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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