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 Bei Notfällen wie Herzinfarkt und Schlaganfall immer den Notruf 112 wählen: Jede Minute zählt!
22.06.2017 | Deutsche Herzstiftung e.V./Deutsche Stiftung für Herzforschung

nachricht Tropenviren bald auch in Europa? Bayreuther Forscher untersuchen Folgen des Klimawandels
21.06.2017 | Universität Bayreuth

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Klima-Satellit: Mit robuster Lasertechnik Methan auf der Spur

Hitzewellen in der Arktis, längere Vegetationsperioden in Europa, schwere Überschwemmungen in Westafrika – mit Hilfe des deutsch-französischen Satelliten MERLIN wollen Wissenschaftler ab 2021 die Emissionen des Treibhausgases Methan auf der Erde erforschen. Möglich macht das ein neues robustes Lasersystem des Fraunhofer-Instituts für Lasertechnologie ILT in Aachen, das eine bisher unerreichte Messgenauigkeit erzielt.

Methan entsteht unter anderem bei Fäulnisprozessen. Es ist 25-mal wirksamer als das klimaschädliche Kohlendioxid, kommt in der Erdatmosphäre aber lange nicht...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: Die Schweiz in Pole-Position in der neuen ESA-Mission

Die Europäische Weltraumagentur ESA gab heute grünes Licht für die industrielle Produktion von PLATO, der grössten europäischen wissenschaftlichen Mission zu Exoplaneten. Partner dieser Mission sind die Universitäten Bern und Genf.

Die Europäische Weltraumagentur ESA lanciert heute PLATO (PLAnetary Transits and Oscillation of stars), die grösste europäische wissenschaftliche Mission zur...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

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

Von Batterieforschung bis Optoelektronik

23.06.2017 | Veranstaltungen

10. HDT-Tagung: Elektrische Antriebstechnologie für Hybrid- und Elektrofahrzeuge

22.06.2017 | Veranstaltungen

„Fit für die Industrie 4.0“ – Tagung von Hochschule Darmstadt und Schader-Stiftung am 27. Juni

22.06.2017 | Veranstaltungen

 
VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Radioaktive Elemente in Cassiopeia A liefern Hinweise auf Neutrinos als Ursache der Supernova-Explosion

23.06.2017 | Physik Astronomie

Dünenökosysteme modellieren

23.06.2017 | Ökologie Umwelt- Naturschutz

Makro-Mikrowelle macht Leichtbau für Luft- und Raumfahrt effizienter

23.06.2017 | Materialwissenschaften