Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Genome mapping of malaria resistance genes : the host ligands of PfEMP1
Author: Fry, Andrew E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2681 4854
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2009
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
Erythrocytes infected by mature forms of the Plasmodium falciparum parasite adhere to other components of the vascular space, a behavior considered critical to the pathogenesis of severe malaria. Adhesion is mediated by the P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1), a highly variant antigen expressed by the parasite and subject to switching during the course of an infection. The host ligands of PfEMP1 include CD36, ICAM-1 and the ABO antigens. By employing a series of population- and family-based association studies from multiple African populations, we examined whether variation in the genes underlying these molecules affects susceptibility to severe malaria. Our results suggest that a common frameshift mutation in the ABO glycosyltransferase, responsible for blood group O, is associated with protection from severe malarial phenotypes (P=2x10⁻⁷), particularly severe malarial anaemia. However, we found no significant disease associations with variation in either the ICAM1 or CD36 genes. We focused on two particular functional polymorphisms, the missense ICAM-1Kilifi and the CD36 nonsense mutation T1264G. We genotyped both markers in around 10,000 individuals, but neither demonstrated an association with severe malarial phenotypes. Malaria has been a profound selection pressure shaping human genetic diversity. The last decade has seen the development of several haplotype-based methods to detect signatures of recent positive evolutionary selection. These techniques are potentially invaluable tools in our hunt for genetic variants that protect from life threatening malaria. We used simulations and empirical data from the International HapMap Project to demonstrate the validity of searching for long regions of haplotype homozygosity, as an approach to finding alleles undergoing selective sweeps. We analysed genetic data from a range of populations, particularly those utilized by HapMap, to investigate whether our candidate genes were associated with signals of recent positive selection. We characterized the distribution of a selection event associated with the CD36 1264G allele, focused in Central-West Africa, and demonstrated a novel signal of low population differentiation at the ABO gene, suggestive of longstanding balancing selection. Our work confirms that variation in the host ligands of PfEMP1 modulates severe malaria susceptibility, and highlights the value of using signals of selection, along with functional experiments and genetic association studies, to dissect the biology of severe malaria.
Supervisor: Kwiatkowski, Dominic P. Sponsor: Wellcome Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Medical Sciences ; Genetics (medical sciences) ; Malaria ; Paediatrics ; Infectious diseases ; Epidemiology ; Cerebral malaria ; severe malaria ; genetic epidemiology ; linkage disequilibrium ; human evolution ; positive selection ; extended haplotype homozygosity ; candidate gene ; genetic association ; PfEMP1 ; cytoadherence