Plasmodium vivax merozoite surface protein 4 (PvMSP4) has been considered to be a promising malarial vaccine candidate. The antigenic diversity displayed by parasite populations is one of the main factors limiting the efficacy of asexual-stage anti-malarial vaccine candidates. The present study is the first characterising PvMSP4 polymorphism. P. vivax isolates were collected from endemic areas in Colombia and diversity and selection pattern studies were carried out. Overall conservation in this protein was remarkable. Changes were only found in exons I and II, the former only having single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) whilst the latter showed variations in tandem repeat number caused by exon II slippage. The remaining regions (EGF-like domain, GPI anchor and intron) were completely conserved. Selection and neutrality tests carried out over variant exons indicated negative selective forces acting on them. No evidence of intragenic recombination was found. The strong conservation displayed in this molecule by isolates from geographically different regions (Colombia, Salvador and Thailand) stresses its potential importance as a candidate for a vaccine against P. vivax malaria.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases