Population genetic structure of the Plasmodium vivax circumsporozoite protein (Pvcsp) in Sri Lanka

Sajani Dias, Thilan Wickramarachchi, Imeshi Sahabandu, Ananias A. Escalante, Preethi V. Udagama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Molecular methods elucidate evolutionary and ecological processes in parasites, where interaction between hosts and parasites enlighten the evolution of parasite lifestyles and host defenses. Population genetics of Plasmodium vivax parasites accurately describe transmission dynamics of the parasites and evaluation of malaria control measures. As a first generation vaccine candidate against malaria, the Circumsporozoite Protein (CSP) has demonstrated significant potential in P. falciparum. Extensive polymorphism hinders the development of a potent malaria vaccine. Hence, the genetic diversity of Pvcsp was investigated for the first time in 60 Sri Lankan clinical isolates by obtaining the nucleotide sequence of the central repeat (CR) domain and examining the polymorphism of the peptide repeat motifs (PRMs), the genetic diversity indices and phylogenetic relationships. PCR amplicons determined size polymorphism of 610, 700 and 710. bp in Pvcsp of Sri Lanka where all amino acid sequences obtained were of the VK210 variant, consisting variable repeats of 4 different PRMs. The two most abundant PRMs of the CR domain, GDRADGQPA and GDRAAGQPA consisted ~. 2-4 repeats, while GNRAAGQPA was unique to the island. Though, different nucleotide sequences termed repeat allotypes (RATs) were observed for each PRM, these were synonymous contributing to a less polymorphic CR domain. The genetic diversity of Pvcsp in Sri Lanka was due to the number of repetitive peptide repeat motifs, point mutations, and intragenic recombination. The 19 amino acid haplotypes defined were exclusive to Sri Lanka, whereas the 194 Pvcsp sequences of global isolates generated 57 more distinct a.a. haplotypes of the VK210 variant. Strikingly, the CR domain of both VK210 and VK247 variants was under purifying selection interpreting the scarcity of CSP non-synonymous polymorphisms. Insights to the distribution of RATs in the CR region with geographic clustering of the P. vivax VK210 variant were revealed. The cladogram reiterated this unique geographic clustering of local (VK210) and global isolates (VK210 and VK247), which was further validated by the elevated fixation index values of the VK210 variant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-387
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 15 2013


  • Circumsporozoite Protein
  • Genetic diversity
  • Phylogeographic analysis
  • Plasmodium vivax
  • Sri Lanka
  • VK210 variant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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