Plasmodium falciparum cell-traversal protein for ookinetes and sporozoites (PfCelTOS) has been reported as one of the most attractive malaria vaccine candidate antigens. To design a broadly effective malaria vaccine based on this antigen, it is crucial to have adequate information on genetic diversity in global PfCelTOS. Therefore, the extent of sequence diversity at the full-length of the pfceltos was assessed among both natural P. falciparum isolates collected from Iran (n = 93) and from available global pfceltos sequence data retrieved from PlasmoDB database (n = 159). Also, recombination, natural selection, the degree of genetic differentiation as well as the predicted immunodominant regions in PfCelTOS were analyzed. In total, 40 SNPs (including 1 synonymous and 39 non-synonymous) were detected in 34 positions, as compared to 3D7 sequence, which led to 66 distinct haplotypes with different frequencies. Among those haplotypes, 34 (51.5%, excluded from further analysis) were singleton haplotype and mostly detected among Senegalese parasite isolates. PfCelt-1 was found as predominant haplotype (32.6% total frequency) that was only detected in Iranian P. falciparum isolates. Nucleotide diversity was low in French Guiana (0.00236 ± 0.00203) and Iranian (0.00259 ± 0.00048) P. falciparum isolates in comparison with African populations. Evidence for positive selection by host immunity and intragenic recombination were detected that are two key factors responsible for gene evolution and genetic diversity of pfceltos gene. The results of Fst analysis and haplotype network revealed that PfCelTOS antigen displayed evident genetic structure between geographical parasite populations. In conclusion, the present analysis demonstrates that there is a limited antigenic diversity and geographic variation in global PfCelTOS, and this finding may be associated with the critical function of this antigen in cell traversal of the parasite in sporozoite and ookinete. Besides, most of the predicted B- and T-cell epitopes were located in the conserved region of the gene, but most of the amino acid replacements were located at the C-terminal region of PfCelTOS. The obtained results in this investigation could provide knowledge for better design of PfCelTOS-based malaria vaccine.
Infection, Genetics and Evolution – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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