Amplification of the multidrug resistance gene in some chloroquine-resistant isolates of P. falciparum

Cell. 1989 Jun 16;57(6):921-30. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(89)90330-9.


Resistance of Plasmodium falciparum to chloroquine shares features with the multidrug resistance (MDR) phenotype of mammalian tumor cells. We report here the sequence of pfmdr, the P. falciparum homolog of mdr. We show that pfmdr is amplified in some chloroquine-resistant parasites but not in any of the sensitive isolates examined and that pfmdr transcript levels are increased. The gene is located on chromosome 5, and in one chloroquine-resistant line with an amplified pfmdr gene, chromosome 5 is greatly enlarged. The chromosome heterogeneity is due to varying copy numbers of different-sized pfmdr-containing amplicons. The existence of an mdr gene in P. falciparum and its amplification in some chloroquine-resistant lines greatly adds to the circumstantial evidence that pfmdr mediates chloroquine resistance in these lines.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Chloroquine*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Drug Resistance*
  • Gene Amplification*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmodium falciparum / genetics*
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Chloroquine

Associated data

  • GENBANK/M24322
  • GENBANK/M29154