Genes encoding dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr) and dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) are the targets of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) present in artemisinin based combination therapy (ACT; artesunate + sulfadoxine pyrimethamine) for Plasmodium falciparum. Although SP is generally not used to treat vivax infection, mutations in dhfr and dhps that confer antifolate resistance in Plasmodium vivax are common; which may be attributed to its sympatric existence with P. falciparum. Current study was aimed to determine the pattern of mutations in dhfr and dhps in P. vivax isolates from Mangaluru region.
A total of 140 blood samples were collected from P. vivax-infected people attending Wenlock Hospital Mangaluru during July 2014 to January 2016. Out of 140 isolates, 25 (18%) and 50 (36%) isolates were selected randomly for sequence analysis of pvdhfr and pvdhps genes respectively. Fragment of pvdhps and full length pvdhfr were amplified, sequenced and analysed for single nucleotide polymorphisms. dhps was analysed by PCR-RFLP also, to detect the two specific mutations (A383G and A553G).
Analysis of pvdhps sequences from 50 isolates revealed single and double mutants at 38 and 46% respectively. Three non-synonymous mutations (K55R, S58R and S117N) were identified for pvdhfr. Among these, K55R was detected for the first time.
The current study indicates that P. vivax dhps and dhfr mutant alleles are prevalent in this area, suggesting significant SP pressure.