Population genomics of the immune evasion (var) genes of Plasmodium falciparum

Barry, A.E., Leliwa-Sytek, A., Tavul, L., Imrie, H. ORCID: 0000-0001-5214-3706, Migot-Nabias, F., Brown, S.M., McVean, G.A.V. and Day, K.P., 2007. Population genomics of the immune evasion (var) genes of Plasmodium falciparum. Public Library of Science Pathogens, 3 (3). ISSN 1553-7374

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Var genes encode the major surface antigen (PfEMP1) of the blood stages of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Differential expression of up to 60 diverse var genes in each parasite genome underlies immune evasion. We compared the diversity of the DBLa domain of var genes sampled from 30 parasite isolates from a malaria endemic area of Papua New Guinea (PNG) and 59 from widespread geographic origins (global). Overall, we obtained over 8,000 quality-controlled DBLa sequences. Within our sampling frame, the global population had a total of 895 distinct DBLa ‘‘types’’ and negligible overlap among repertoires. This indicated that var gene diversity on a global scale is so immense that many genomes would need to be sequenced to capture its true extent. In contrast, we found a much lower diversity in PNG of 185 DBLa types, with an average of approximately 7% overlap among repertoires. While we identify marked geographic structuring, nearly 40% of types identified in PNG were also found in samples from different countries showing a cosmopolitan distribution for much of the diversity. We also present evidence to suggest that recombination plays a key role in maintaining the unprecedented levels of polymorphism found in these immune evasion genes. This population genomic framework provides a cost effective molecular epidemiological tool to rapidly explore the geographic diversity of var genes.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Public Library of Science Pathogens
Creators: Barry, A.E., Leliwa-Sytek, A., Tavul, L., Imrie, H., Migot-Nabias, F., Brown, S.M., McVean, G.A.V. and Day, K.P.
Publisher: PLoS
Date: 2007
Volume: 3
Number: 3
ISSN: 1553-7374
Rights: © 2007 Barry et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CCAL), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 10:26
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 13:29
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/12874

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