Polymorphism in the gene encoding the Pfs48/45 antigen of Plasmodium falciparum. XI. Asembo Bay Cohort Project

Ananias A. Escalante, Heather M. Grebert, Sansanee C. Chaiyaroj, Flavia Riggione, Sukla Biswas, Bernard L. Nahlen, Altaf A. Lal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


We have investigated the genetic diversity of the gene encoding the transmission-blocking vaccine antigen Pfs48/45 of Plasmodium falciparum parasites from western Kenya and compared it with parasite populations from Thailand, India, and Venezuela. We report 44 complete new sequences. Overall, the antigen is less polymorphic as compared with other pre-erythrocytic and blood stage antigens. Contrary to other P. falciparum antigens, the number of synonymous substitutions per synonymous site exceeds the number of non-synonymous substitutions per non-synonymous site. We have found that the Pfs48/45 gene of Kenyan parasites is more polymorphic than parasites from other geographic origins. Our analysis reveals that positive natural selection is involved in the maintenance of the observed polymorphism. No evidence of intragenic recombination was found. Fst values reveal high levels of gene flow between India and Thailand, however, there are strong constraints in gene flow among Kenyan, Southeast Asian, and Venezuelan parasites. No alleles could be linked to a specific geographic region. The results of this study suggest that this gametocyte antigen, like other asexual blood stage antigens, is under selection pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-22
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Genetic diversity
  • Geographic variation
  • Malaria
  • Plasmodium
  • Transmission-blocking
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Molecular Biology


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