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Xeno-monitoring of molecular drivers of artemisinin and partner drug resistance in P. falciparum populations in malaria vectors across Cameroon

Nkemngo, Francis N., Mugenzi, Leon M.J., Tchouakui, Magellan, Nguiffo-Nguete, Daniel, Wondji, Murielle, Mbakam, Bertrand, Tchoupo, Micareme, Ndo, Cyrille, Wanji, Samuel and Wondji, Charles ORCID: (2022) 'Xeno-monitoring of molecular drivers of artemisinin and partner drug resistance in P. falciparum populations in malaria vectors across Cameroon'. Gene, Vol 821, p. 146339.

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Background: Monitoring of drug resistance in Plasmodium populations is crucial for malaria control. This has primarily been performed in humans and rarely in mosquitoes where parasites genetic recombination occurs. Here, we characterized the Plasmodium spp populations in wild Anopheles vectors by analyzing the genetic diversity of the P. falciparum kelch13 and mdr1 gene fragments implicated in artemisinin and partner drug resistance across Cameroon in three major malaria vectors.

Methods: Anopheles mosquitoes were collected across nine localities in Cameroon and dissected into the head/thorax (H/T) and abdomen (Abd) after species identification. A TaqMan assay was performed to detect Plasmodium infection. Fragments of the Kelch 13 and mdr1 genes were amplified in P. falciparum positive samples and directly sequenced to assess their drug resistance polymorphisms and genetic diversity profile.

Results: The study revealed a high Plasmodium infection rate in the major Anopheles vectors across Cameroon. Notably, An. funestus vector recorded the highest sporozoite (8.0%) and oocyst (14.4%) infection rates. A high P. falciparum sporozoite rate (80.08%) alongside epidemiological signatures of significant P. malariae (15.9%) circulation were recorded in these vectors. Low genetic diversity with six (A578S, R575I, G450R, L663L, G453D, N458D) and eight (H53H, V62L, V77E, N86Y, G102G, L132I, H143H, Y184F) point mutations were observed in the k13 and mdr1 backbones respectively. Remarkably, the R575I (4.4%) k13 and Y184F (64.2%) mdr1 mutations were the predominant variants in the P. falciparum populations.

Conclusion: The emerging signal of the R575I polymorphism in the Pfk13 propeller backbone entails the regular surveillance of molecular markers to inform evidence-based policy decisions. Moreover, the high frequency of the 86N184F allele highlights concerns on the plausible decline in efficacy of artemisinin-combination therapies (ACTs); further implying that parasite genotyping from mosquitoes can provide a more relevant scale for quantifying resistance epidemiology in the field.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QU Biochemistry > Genetics > QU 470 Genetic structures
QX Parasitology > Protozoa > QX 135 Plasmodia
QX Parasitology > Insects. Other Parasites > QX 515 Anopheles
QX Parasitology > Insects. Other Parasites > QX 650 Insect vectors
WA Public Health > Preventive Medicine > WA 240 Disinfection. Disinfestation. Pesticides (including diseases caused by)
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 750 Malaria
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 765 Prevention and control
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Vector Biology Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Samantha Sheldrake
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2022 14:54
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2022 14:54


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