Optimization of a Ligase Detection Reaction-Fluorescent Microsphere Assay for Characterization of Resistance-Mediating Polymorphisms in African Samples of Plasmodium falciparum. Genetic polymorphisms in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum mediate alterations in sensitivity to important antimalarial drugs. Surveillance for these polymorphisms is helpful in assessing the prevalence of drug resistance and designing strategies for malaria control. Multiple methods are available for the assessment of P. falciparum genetic polymorphisms, but they suffer from low throughput, technical limitations, and high cost. We have optimized and tested a multiplex ligase detection reaction-fluorescent microsphere (LDR-FM) assay for the identification of important P. falciparum genetic polymorphisms. For 84 clinical samples from Kampala, Uganda, a region where both transmission intensity and infection complexity are high, DNA was extracted from dried blood spots, genes of interest were amplified, amplicons were subjected to multiplex ligase detection reactions to add bead-specific oligonucleotides and biotin, fragments were hybridized to magnetic beads, and polymorphism prevalences were assessed fluorometrically in a multiplex format. We estimate that the LDR-FM assay offers much higher throughput and lower cost than RFLP. Our results suggest that the LDR-FM system offers an accurate high-throughput means of classifying genetic polymorphisms in field samples of P. falciparum.
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