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1.  MBL2 Variations and Malaria Susceptibility in Indian Populations 
Infection and Immunity  2014;82(1):52-61.
Human mannose-binding lectin (MBL) encoded by the MBL2 gene is a pattern recognition protein and has been associated with many infectious diseases, including malaria. We sought to investigate the contribution of functional MBL2 gene variations to Plasmodium falciparum malaria in well-defined cases and in matched controls. We resequenced the 8.7 kb of the entire MBL2 gene in 434 individuals clinically classified with malaria from regions of India where malaria is endemic. The study cohort included 176 patients with severe malaria, 101 patients with mild malaria, and 157 ethnically matched asymptomatic individuals. In addition, 830 individuals from 32 socially, linguistically, and geographically diverse endogamous populations of India were investigated for the distribution of functional MBL2 variants. The MBL2 −221C (X) allelic variant is associated with increased risk of malaria (mild malaria odds ratio [OR] = 1.9, corrected P value [PCorr] = 0.0036; severe malaria OR = 1.6, PCorr = 0.02). The exon1 variants MBL2*B (severe malaria OR = 2.1, PCorr = 0.036; mild versus severe malaria OR = 2.5, PCorr = 0.039) and MBL2*C (mild versus severe malaria OR = 5.4, PCorr = 0.045) increased the odds of having malaria. The exon1 MBL2*D/*B/*C variant increased the risk for severe malaria (OR = 3.4, PCorr = 0.000045). The frequencies of low MBL haplotypes were significantly higher in severe malaria (14.2%) compared to mild malaria (7.9%) and asymptomatic (3.8%). The MBL2*LYPA haplotypes confer protection, whereas MBL2*LXPA increases the malaria risk. Our findings in Indian populations demonstrate that MBL2 functional variants are strongly associated with malaria and infection severity.
PMCID: PMC3911836  PMID: 24126531
2.  Variations in ncRNA gene LOC284889 and MIF-794CATT repeats are associated with malaria susceptibility in Indian populations 
Malaria Journal  2013;12:345.
There are increasing evidences on the role of non-coding RNA (ncRNA) as key regulator of cellular homeostasis. LOC284889 is an uncharacterized ncRNA gene on reverse strand to MIF mapped to 22q11.23. MIF, a lymphokine, regulates innate immune response by up-regulating the expression of TLR4, suppressing the p53 activity and has been shown to be involved in malaria pathogenesis.
In this study, the possible effect of MIF variations on malaria susceptibility was investigated by re-sequencing the complete MIF gene along with 1 kb each of 5′ and 3′ region in 425 individuals from malaria endemic regions of the Orissa and Chhattisgarh states of India. The subjects comprised of 160 cases of severe malaria, 101 of mild malaria and 164 ethnically matched asymptomatic controls. Data were statistically compared between cases and controls for their possible association with Plasmodium falciparum malarial outcome.
It is the first study, which shows that the allele A (rs34383331T > A) in ncRNA is significantly associated with increased risk to P. falciparum malaria [severe: OR = 2.08, p = 0.002 and mild: OR = 2.09, P = 0.005]. In addition, it has been observed that the higher MIF-794CATT repeats (>5) increases malaria risk (OR = 1.61, p = 0.01). Further, diplotype (MIF-794CATT and rs34383331T > A) 5 T confers protection to severe malaria (OR = 0.55, p = 0.002) while 6A (OR = 3.07, p = 0.001) increases malaria risk.
These findings support the involvement of ncRNA in malarial pathogenesis and further emphasize the complex genetic regulation of malaria outcome. In addition, the study shows that the higher MIF-794CATT repeats (>5) is a risk factor for severe malaria. The study would help in identifying people who are at higher risk to malaria and adapt strategies for prevention and treatment.
PMCID: PMC3849407  PMID: 24066864
Malaria; MIF; Non-coding RNA; Polymorphism; Indian populations; Diplotype
3.  IL-4 Haplotype -590T, -34T and Intron-3 VNTR R2 Is Associated with Reduced Malaria Risk among Ancestral Indian Tribal Populations 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e48136.
Interleukin 4 (IL-4) is an anti-inflammatory cytokine, which regulates balance between TH1 and TH2 immune response, immunoglobulin class switching and humoral immunity. Polymorphisms in this gene have been reported to affect the risk of infectious and autoimmune diseases.
We have analyzed three regulatory IL-4 polymorphisms; -590C>T, -34C>T and 70 bp intron-3 VNTR, in 4216 individuals; including: (1) 430 ethnically matched case-control groups (173 severe malaria, 101 mild malaria and 156 asymptomatic); (2) 3452 individuals from 76 linguistically and geographically distinct endogamous populations of India, and (3) 334 individuals with different ancestry from outside India (84 Brazilian, 104 Syrian, and 146 Vietnamese).
The -590T, -34T and intron-3 VNTR R2 alleles were found to be associated with reduced malaria risk (P<0.001 for -590C>T and -34C>T, and P = 0.003 for VNTR). These three alleles were in strong LD (r2>0.75) and the TTR2 (-590T, -34T and intron-3 VNTR R2) haplotype appeared to be a susceptibility factor for malaria (P = 0.009, OR = 0.552, 95% CI = 0.356 –0.854). Allele and genotype frequencies differ significantly between caste, nomadic, tribe and ancestral tribal populations (ATP). The distribution of protective haplotype TTR2 was found to be significant (χ23 = 182.95, p-value <0.001), which is highest in ATP (40.5%); intermediate in tribes (33%); and lowest in caste (17.8%) and nomadic (21.6%).
Our study suggests that the IL-4 polymorphisms regulate host susceptibility to malaria and disease progression. TTR2 haplotype, which gives protection against malaria, is high among ATPs. Since they inhabited in isolation and mainly practice hunter-gatherer lifestyles and exposed to various parasites, IL-4 TTR2 haplotype might be under positive selection.
PMCID: PMC3480467  PMID: 23110190
4.  Genotype-phenotype correlation of β-thalassemia spectrum of mutations in an Indian population 
Hematology Reports  2012;4(2):e9.
Coexistence of thalassemia, hemoglobinopathies and malaria has interested geneticists over many decades. The present study represents such a population from the eastern Indian state of Orissa. Children and their siblings (n=38) were genotyped for β-thalassemia mutations and genotype-phenotype correlation was determined. The major genotype was IVS 1.5 mutation: 26% homozygous (n=10) and 37% (n=14) double heterozygous with other mutations or hemoglobinopathies. Sickle hemoglobin was the major associated hemoglobinopathy (n=12, 32%). Other mutations found were Cd 8/9, HbE and Cd 41/42. The study population did not contain any IVS 1.1 mutations which is the second major Indo-Asian genotype. Genotype-phenotype correlation revealed that genotypes of IVS 1.5, Cd 8/9 Cd 41/42 alone or in association, exhibit severe, moderate and mild severity of thalassemia, respectively. Identification of the mutation at an early age as a part of new born screening and early intervention may help reduce the thalassemia-related morbidity.
PMCID: PMC3401138  PMID: 22826799
β-thalassemia mutations; genotype-phenotype correlation; HbS; IVS 1.5 associated genotypes; malaria.
5.  Functional and Immunological Characterization of a Duffy Binding-Like Alpha Domain from Plasmodium falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein 1 That Mediates Rosetting ▿  
Infection and Immunity  2009;77(9):3857-3863.
The Duffy binding-like (DBL) domains are common adhesion modules present in Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) variants, which are responsible for immune evasion and cytoadherence. Knowledge about how immune responses are acquired against polymorphic DBL domains of PfEMP1 can aid in the development of vaccines for malaria. A recombinant DBLα domain, encoded by R29 var1, which binds complement receptor 1 to mediate rosetting by the P. falciparum laboratory strain R29, was expressed in Escherichia coli, renatured by oxidative refolding to its native form, and purified to homogeneity. Antibody levels in 704 plasmas obtained from residents of areas of different levels of malaria endemicity in Orissa (India) and Manhiça (Mozambique) were assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The refolded DBLα domain was pure, homogeneous, and functional in that it bound human erythrocytes with specificity and was capable of inhibiting rosetting. The proportion of individuals who had measurable anti-DBLα immunoglobulin G responses was low in areas of low malaria endemicity in Orissa (6.7%) but high in areas of high endemicity in Orissa (87.5%) and Manhiça (74.5%). Seroprevalence and antibody levels against the recombinant protein increased with the age of inhabitants from areas with high transmission rates (P < 0.001). Half of the children in these areas had seroconverted by the age of 5 years. These findings suggest that in spite of the extreme polymorphism of PfEMP1 DBLα domains, the acquisition of specific antibodies is rapid and age related and reflects the reduced risk of malaria in areas with high transmission rates. Further studies are required to elucidate the role of these antibodies in protection from malaria.
PMCID: PMC2738012  PMID: 19546191
6.  Variations in host genes encoding adhesion molecules and susceptibility to falciparum malaria in India 
Malaria Journal  2008;7:250.
Host adhesion molecules play a significant role in the pathogenesis of Plasmodium falciparum malaria and changes in their structure or levels in individuals can influence the outcome of infection. The aim of this study was to investigate the association of SNPs of three adhesion molecule genes, ICAM1, PECAM1 and CD36, with severity of falciparum malaria in a malaria-endemic and a non-endemic region of India.
The frequency distribution of seven selected SNPs of ICAM1, PECAM1 and CD36 was determined in 552 individuals drawn from 24 populations across India. SNP-disease association was analysed in a case-control study format. Genotyping of the population panel was performed by Sequenom mass spectroscopy and patient/control samples were genotyped by SNaPshot method. Haplotypes and linkage disequilibrium (LD) plots were generated using PHASE and Haploview, respectively. Odds-ratio (OR) for risk assessment was estimated using EpiInfo™ version 3.4.
Association of the ICAM1 rs5498 (exon 6) G allele and the CD36 exon 1a A allele with increased risk of severe malaria was observed (severe versus control, OR = 1.91 and 2.66, P = 0.02 and 0.0012, respectively). The CD36 rs1334512 (-53) T allele as well as the TT genotype associated with protection from severe disease (severe versus control, TT versus GG, OR = 0.37, P = 0.004). Interestingly, a SNP of the PECAM1 gene (rs668, exon 3, C/G) with low minor allele frequency in populations of the endemic region compared to the non-endemic region exhibited differential association with disease in these regions; the G allele was a risk factor for malaria in the endemic region, but exhibited significant association with protection from disease in the non-endemic region.
The data highlights the significance of variations in the ICAM1, PECAM1 and CD36 genes in the manifestation of falciparum malaria in India. The PECAM1 exon 3 SNP exhibits altered association with disease in the endemic and non-endemic region.
PMCID: PMC2612678  PMID: 19055786
7.  Polymorphisms of TNF-enhancer and gene for FcγRIIa correlate with the severity of falciparum malaria in the ethnically diverse Indian population 
Malaria Journal  2008;7:13.
Susceptibility/resistance to Plasmodium falciparum malaria has been correlated with polymorphisms in more than 30 human genes with most association analyses having been carried out on patients from Africa and south-east Asia. The aim of this study was to examine the possible contribution of genetic variants in the TNF and FCGR2A genes in determining severity/resistance to P. falciparum malaria in Indian subjects.
Allelic frequency distribution in populations across India was first determined by typing genetic variants of the TNF enhancer and the FCGR2A G/A SNP in 1871 individuals from 55 populations. Genotyping was carried out by DNA sequencing, single base extension (SNaPshot), and DNA mass array (Sequenom). Plasma TNF was determined by ELISA. Comparison of datasets was carried out by Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney tests. Haplotypes and LD plots were generated by PHASE and Haploview, respectively. Odds ratio (OR) for risk assessment was calculated using EpiInfo™ version 3.4.
A novel single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) at position -76 was identified in the TNF enhancer along with other reported variants. Five TNF enhancer SNPs and the FCGR2A R131H (G/A) SNP were analyzed for association with severity of P. falciparum malaria in a malaria-endemic and a non-endemic region of India in a case-control study with ethnically-matched controls enrolled from both regions. TNF -1031C and -863A alleles as well as homozygotes for the TNF enhancer haplotype CACGG (-1031T>C, -863C>A, -857C>T, -308G>A, -238G>A) correlated with enhanced plasma TNF levels in both patients and controls. Significantly higher TNF levels were observed in patients with severe malaria. Minor alleles of -1031 and -863 SNPs were associated with increased susceptibility to severe malaria. The high-affinity IgG2 binding FcγRIIa AA (131H) genotype was significantly associated with protection from disease manifestation, with stronger association observed in the malaria non-endemic region. These results represent the first genetic analysis of the two immune regulatory molecules in the context of P. falciparum severity/resistance in the Indian population.
Association of specific TNF and FCGR2A SNPs with cytokine levels and disease severity/resistance was indicated in patients from areas with differential disease endemicity. The data emphasizes the need for addressing the contribution of human genetic factors in malaria in the context of disease epidemiology and population genetic substructure within India.
PMCID: PMC2245971  PMID: 18194515
8.  Plasmodium falciparum Infection Elicits Both Variant-Specific and Cross-Reactive Antibodies against Variant Surface Antigens  
Infection and Immunity  2003;71(2):597-604.
Naturally acquired antibodies to Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein-1 (PfEMP-1), the variant surface antigens expressed on the surface of infected erythrocytes, are thought to play a role in protection against P. falciparum malaria. Here, we have studied the development of antibodies to PfEMP-1 in adult malaria patients living in Rourkela, India, an area with a low malaria transmission rate, and prevalence of antibodies to PfEMP-1 in residents of San Dulakudar, India, a village in which P. falciparum malaria is hyperendemic. Convalescent-phase sera from adult malaria patients from Rourkela agglutinate homologous P. falciparum isolates as well as some heterologous isolates, suggesting that they develop partially cross-reactive antibodies to PfEMP-1 following infection. Adult sera from San Dulakudar agglutinate diverse P. falciparum isolates, suggesting that they have antibodies with wide recognition of diverse PfEMP-1. Mixed-agglutination assays using pairs of P. falciparum isolates confirm the presence of both variant-specific and partially cross-reactive antibodies in convalescent-phase sera from Rourkela and adult sera from San Dulakudar. Analysis of PfEMP-1 sequences suggests a molecular basis for the observed cross-reactivity.
PMCID: PMC145347  PMID: 12540535

Results 1-8 (8)