Fine mapping of susceptibility loci to malaria clinical episodes in a family-based cohort from Senegal

  • Alison Machado (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The malaria parasite, P. falciparum, kills on the order of a million African children each year, and this is a small fraction of the number of infected individuals world-wide. The clinical outcome of an infection by this parasite depends to some extent on the genetic makeup of the infected individual. The role of genetic factors that regulate the severity of malaria infection has been repeatedly demonstrated in humans and animals. Association studies are conducted with the aim of identifying the causal genes implicated in the outcome of infection. Linkage was previously detected on human chromosome 5p15 controlling the number of Plasmodium falciparum attacks (PFA) in Dielmo, a Senegalese village [48]. Subsequently, and prior to this present study, a fine mapping study using a "GoldenGate assay” from Illumina, with about 1450 SNPs was performed in this region of linkage with PFA phenotype. Analysis was performed with three statistical family-based programs: Merlin, QTDT, and FBAT/PBAT. These programs identified three candidate genes associated with PFA phenotype: three SNPs (rs4867417, rs7714218, and rs11959398) located in PDZD2, one SNP (rs11134099) in ADAMTS16, and one (rs3777320) in SEMA5A. The aim of this present study was to investigate these associations. Novel SNPs in the candidate regions of these genes were selected either by sequencing exons located in these candidate regions or by bioinformatics analysis using HapMap data from Yoruba population. SNPs were studied using either Pre-design or Custom SNP genotyping assay (Applied Biosystems). Data were included in an Access Database and checked for error of Mendelian transmission. Statistical analyses were performed using two family-based association programs, PBAT and QTDT. We used different models of allele transmission and defined p=10-3 as significance threshold. The analyses did not confirm the association with SNPs of PDZD2 or ADAMTS16, but did find significant association with SNPs of SEMA5A. One SNP (rs3777325) was significantly associated with PFA phenotype using both programs (p-value= -6.49x10-4 using the PBAT program and p-value=2.0x10-4 using the QTDT program). A haplotype analysis of two adjacent SNPs (rs4541632 and rs1018956) also showed a significant association of the haplotype GC (p-value= -6.82x10-5) using the PBAT program. This work confirms that a susceptibility locus to PFA phenotype is located inside SEMA5A. Further studies will be necessary to replicate this association and identify the causal polymorphism.
Date of Award2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorPaul Richard (Supervisor) & Jean François Bureau (Co-Supervisor)


  • Mestrado em Microbiologia

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