Genetic backgrounds of the Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistant transporter (pfcrt) alleles in Pakistan

Document Type



Pathology and Microbiology


Chloroquine (CQ) resistance in Plasmodium falciparum has been associated with point mutations in the P. falciparum CQ resistance transporter gene (pfcrt). Previous studies have shown 4-5 independent origins for CQ resistant pfcrt alleles globally, two in South America, one each in Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Philippines. In Asia, at least two different alleles corresponding to amino acids 7276 (CVIET and SVMNT) have been found. The CVIET allele originated in Southeast Asia and then spread to Asia and Africa as well. The SVMNT allele, originating from PNG, has been found in India. This study was undertaken to investigate the genetic background of the CQ resistant pfcrt haplotypes in Pakistan. We genotyped microsatellite markers surrounding the pfcrt gene (six different markers at -12.3, -4.8, -1, 1.5, 3.9, 18.8 kb) in 114 clinical isolates of P. falciparum collected from different regions in Pakistan. Microsatellite analysis showed a significant reduction in genetic variation among the mutant SVMNT pfcrt alleles when compared to wild type alleles. The predominant SVMNT haplotype found in this study shared the same microsatellite haplotype found in both PNG and India. Two isolates with CVIET haplotypes showed similar microsatellite background to those found in Africa and Asia. In conclusion, this study suggests that CQ resistant SVMNT haplotypes in India and Pakistan have a common ancestral origin similar to that of Papua New Guinean isolates.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Infection Genetics and Evolution