Polymorphism in the gene encoding the apical membrane antigen-1 (AMA-1) of Plasmodium falciparum. X. Asembo Bay Cohort Project

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


We have investigated the genetic diversity of the gene encoding the apical membrane antigen-1 (AMA-1) in natural populations of Plasmodium falciparum from western Kenya and compared it with parasite populations from other geographic regions. A total of 28 complete sequences from Kenya, Thailand, India, and Venezuela field isolates were obtained. The genetic polymorphism is not evenly distributed across the gene, which is in agreement with the pattern reported in earlier studies. The alleles from Kenya exhibit 20 and 30% more polymorphism than that found in Southeast Asia and Venezuelan alleles, respectively. Based on the gene genealogies derived from sequencing data, no evidence for allele families was found. We have found evidence supporting limited gene flow between the parasite populations, specifically, between the Southeast Asian and Venezuelan isolates; however, no alleles could be linked to a specific geographic region. This study reveals that positive natural selection is an important factor in the maintenance of genetic diversity for AMA-1. We did not find conclusive evidence indicating intragenic recombination is important in the generation of the AMA-1 allelic diversity. The study provides information on the genetic diversity of the AMA-1 gene that would be useful in vaccine development and testing, as well as in assessing factors that are involved in the generation and maintenance of the genetic diversity in P. falciparum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-287
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 6 2001


  • Genetic diversity
  • Geographic variation
  • Malaria
  • Merozoite
  • Plasmodium
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Molecular Biology


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