Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Blood gene saps malaria

15.11.2001


Mutant haemoglobin takes the sting out of malaria infection
© SPL


A rare form of haemoglobin protects against malaria.

One in ten people in the west African country Burkina Faso have a gene that defends them against malaria, a new survey shows.

The gene encodes a mutant form of haemoglobin, red-blood cells’ oxygen-carrying molecule. People with one copy of the gene are 26% less likely to get sick with malaria. Those with two - one from mum and one from dad - have an unprecedented 93% reduction in malaria risk 1.



The mutation, called HbC, "is very protective against severe malaria", says parasitologist David Modiano of the University of Rome, who led the research. Why is not yet clear. Researchers hope understanding the effect will lead to treatments for malaria.

"Haemoglobin mutations have arisen under selective pressure from malaria," says Thomas Wellems of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland. "It’s nature’s way of telling us which factors protect against the disease."

Other forms of haemoglobin hinder malaria - for instance in people who have one copy of a mutation called HbS, common throughout Africa. But those with two copies of HbS die young from sickle-cell anaemia.

People with HbS or HbC get infected with malaria as normal, but somehow the mutations stop the infection causing severe symptoms such as anaemia and coma - a tantalizing prospect for scientists trying to develop vaccines and other anti-malarial drugs.


Spread bets

Researchers have suspected that HbC has protective effects for about 50 years, but the gene is far less common than HbS, making it difficult to study. People with two copies of the gene are even more unusual.

If the HbC mutation fends off malaria so successfully, why isn’t it found throughout sub-Saharan Africa where malaria is endemic? Especially given that it is harmless compared with the HbS mutation that causes sickle-cell anaemia.

Modiano believes that, unlike HbS, the mutation will take a long time to spread and establish itself throughout Africa because it is rare outside the Mossi ethnic group and two copies of the gene are needed for full protection.

Wellems disagrees. He thinks the level of protection HbC or HbS afford depends more on a person’s other genes. In some ethnic groups - in Nigeria for example - HbS is more protective and therefore more common.

The HbS and HbC mutations occur in exactly the same place in the haemoglobin molecule, suggesting the mechanism could well be universal - making it an ideal target for future malaria drugs. "If we can nail the protective mechanism, maybe we can come up with that target," says Wellems.

References

  1. Modiano, D. et al. Haemoglobin C protects against clinical Plasmodium falciparum malaria in the homozygous state. Nature, 414, 305 - 308 , (2001).

TOM CLARKE | © Nature News Service
Weitere Informationen:
http://www.nature.com/nsu/

Weitere Nachrichten aus der Kategorie Medizin Gesundheit:

nachricht Wachablösung im Immunsystem: wie Dendritische Zellen ihre Bewaffnung an Mastzellen übergeben
16.11.2017 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht Wie Lungenkrebs zur Entstehung von Lungenhochdruck führt
16.11.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Medizin Gesundheit >>>

Die aktuellsten Pressemeldungen zum Suchbegriff Innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Reibungswärme treibt hydrothermale Aktivität auf Enceladus an

Computersimulation zeigt, wie der Eismond Wasser in einem porösen Gesteinskern aufheizt

Wärme aus der Reibung von Gestein, ausgelöst durch starke Gezeitenkräfte, könnte der „Motor“ für die hydrothermale Aktivität auf dem Saturnmond Enceladus sein....

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Kleine Strukturen – große Wirkung

Innovative Schutzschicht für geringen Verbrauch künftiger Rolls-Royce Flugtriebwerke entwickelt

Gemeinsam mit Rolls-Royce Deutschland hat das Fraunhofer-Institut für Werkstoff- und Strahltechnik IWS im Rahmen von zwei Vorhaben aus dem...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: Transparente Beschichtung für Alltagsanwendungen

Sport- und Outdoorbekleidung, die Wasser und Schmutz abweist, oder Windschutzscheiben, an denen kein Wasser kondensiert – viele alltägliche Produkte können von stark wasserabweisenden Beschichtungen profitieren. Am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) haben Forscher um Dr. Bastian E. Rapp einen Werkstoff für solche Beschichtungen entwickelt, der sowohl transparent als auch abriebfest ist: „Fluoropor“, einen fluorierten Polymerschaum mit durchgehender Nano-/Mikrostruktur. Sie stellen ihn in Nature Scientific Reports vor. (DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-15287-8)

In der Natur ist das Phänomen vor allem bei Lotuspflanzen bekannt: Wassertropfen perlen von der Blattoberfläche einfach ab. Diesen Lotuseffekt ahmen...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Kinderanästhesie aktuell: Symposium für Ärzte und Pflegekräfte

23.11.2017 | Veranstaltungsnachrichten

Seminar „Leichtbau im Automobil- und Maschinenbau“ im Haus der Technik Berlin am 16. - 17. Januar 2018

23.11.2017 | Seminare Workshops

Biohausbau-Unternehmen Baufritz erhält von „ Capital“ die Auszeichnung „Beste Ausbilder Deutschlands“

23.11.2017 | Unternehmensmeldung