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Spectrin-based skeleton in red blood cells and malaria.

Abstract : PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Malaria represents one of the most important selective factors affecting human populations. Several inherited diseases of red blood cells lead to resistance at the erythrocytic stage. Among patients who experience hereditary elliptocytosis related to mutations of erythrocyte membrane proteins, molecular studies have shown the prevalence of particular spectrin mutations in patients from black ethnic extraction, leading one to question the selection of new malaria-resistant genes. RECENT FINDINGS: Prospective epidemiological and molecular studies in West Africa have confirmed the prevalence (between 0.6 and 1.6%) of particular spectrin mutations related to hereditary elliptocytosis. These studies have also revealed the frequency of alpha-spectrin chain polymorphisms, associated in cis with elliptocytogenic spectrin mutations and defining particular spectrin allele haplotypes. Culture studies of Plasmodium falciparum in elliptocytes bearing such elliptocytogenic alleles of spectrin showed that these alleles are supplementary genetic factors of malaria resistance in vitro. SUMMARY: Certain instances of spectrin mutations or polymorphisms have not yet been shown to constitute new factors of innate resistance to malaria in vivo. Epidemiological surveys of hereditary elliptocytosis and parasite culture studies, however, have argued that the relationships between parasite and spectrin-based skeleton should be examined more closely and the molecular interactions between parasite ligands and particular spectrin chain domains should be characterized.
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Contributor : Marie-Christine Lecomte <>
Submitted on : Friday, September 4, 2009 - 10:46:03 AM
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Didier Dhermy, Joseph Schrével, Marie-Christine Lecomte. Spectrin-based skeleton in red blood cells and malaria.. Current Opinion in Hematology, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2007, 14 (3), pp.198-202. ⟨10.1097/MOH.0b013e3280d21afd⟩. ⟨inserm-00128119⟩

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