Population transcriptomics of human malaria parasites reveals the mechanism of artemisinin resistance
Mok S., Ashley EA., Ferreira PE., Zhu L., Lin Z., Yeo T., Chotivanich K., Imwong M., Pukrittayakamee S., Dhorda M., Nguon C., Lim P., Amaratunga C., Suon S., Hien TT., Htut Y., Faiz MA., Onyamboko MA., Mayxay M., Newton PN., Tripura R., Woodrow CJ., Miotto O., Kwiatkowski DP., Nosten F., Day NPJ., Preiser PR., White NJ., Dondorp AM., Fairhurst RM., Bozdech Z.
Mechanisms propelling drug resistance If it were to spread, resistance to the drug artemisinin would seriously derail the recent gains of global malaria control programs (see the Perspective by Sibley). Mutations in a region called the K13-propeller are predictive for artemisinin resistance in Southeast Asia. Mok et al. looked at the patterns of gene expression in parasites isolated from more than 1000 patients sampled in Africa, Bangladesh, and the Mekong region. A range of mutations that alter protein repair pathways and the timing of the parasite's developmental cycle were only found in parasites from the Mekong region. Straimer et al. genetically engineered the K13 region of parasites obtained from recent clinical isolates. Mutations in this region were indeed responsible for the resistance phenotypes. Science , this issue p. 431 , p. 428 ; see also p. 373