Limited genetic diversity in the PvK12 Kelch protein in Plasmodium vivax isolates from Southeast Asia

Meilian Wang, Faiza Amber Siddiqui, Qi Fan, Enjie Luo, Yaming Cao, Liwang Cui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum has emerged as a major threat for malaria control and elimination worldwide. Mutations in the Kelch propeller domain of PfK13 are the only known molecular markers for artemisinin resistance in this parasite. Over 100 non-synonymous mutations have been identified in PfK13 from various malaria endemic regions. This study aimed to investigate the genetic diversity of PvK12, the Plasmodium vivax ortholog of PfK13, in parasite populations from Southeast Asia, where artemisinin resistance in P. falciparum has emerged. Methods: The PvK12 sequences in 120 P. vivax isolates collected from Thailand (22), Myanmar (32) and China (66) between 2004 and 2008 were obtained and 353 PvK12 sequences from worldwide populations were retrieved for further analysis. Results: These PvK12 sequences revealed a very low level of genetic diversity (π = 0.00003) with only three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Of these three SNPs, only G581R is nonsynonymous. The synonymous mutation S88S is present in 3% (1/32) of the Myanmar samples, while G704G and G581R are present in 1.5% (1/66) and 3% (2/66) of the samples from China, respectively. None of the mutations observed in the P. vivax samples were associated with artemisinin resistance in P. falciparum. Furthermore, analysis of 473 PvK12 sequences from twelve worldwide P. vivax populations confirmed the very limited polymorphism in this gene and detected only five distinct haplotypes. Conclusions: The PvK12 sequences from global P. vivax populations displayed very limited genetic diversity indicating low levels of baseline polymorphisms of PvK12 in these areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number537
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalMalaria journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 8 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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