Volume 58, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


There is accumulating evidence for the involvement of genetic factors in the human response to malaria infection, mostly based on results obtained in studies of severe clinical malaria. The role of major gene(s) controlling blood parasitemia levels in human malaria has also been detected by means of segregation analysis. To confirm and to localize such gene(s), we performed a sib-pair linkage analysis investigating the role of five candidate chromosomal regions: 6p21 (HLA-tumor necrosis factor region), 2q13-q21 (genes coding for interleukin-1 alpha and beta), 14q11 (locus coding for the alpha chain of T cell antigen receptor), 7q35 (gene cluster for the beta subunit of T cell receptor), and 5q31-q33, which includes several candidate genes and was recently linked to a locus controlling infection levels by Schistosoma mansoni, denoted as SM1. The analysis was carried out on nine families from a southern Cameroon village, and the phenotype under study was blood infection levels with Plasmodium falciparum. No linkage was found with any of the four markers outside the 5q31-q33 region. A trend in favor of linkage was observed in the distal part of the 5q31-q33 region, especially with the marker D5S636 (P < 0.05 using the Monte Carlo P value), which was the marker that provided the highest evidence for linkage with SM1. These results suggest that a locus influencing P. falciparum levels in malaria could be located in the same genetic region as that containing SM1, indicating that the 5q31-q33 region may be critical in the control of different parasite infections.


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