The Malaria-Protective Human Glycophorin Structural Variant DUP4 Shows Somatic Mosaicism and Association with Hemoglobin Levels.
journal contributionposted on 14.08.2019, 15:55 by W Algady, S Louzada, D Carpenter, P Brajer, A Färnert, I Rooth, B Ngasala, F Yang, M-A Shaw, EJ Hollox
Glycophorin A and glycophorin B are red blood cell surface proteins and are both receptors for the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, which is the principal cause of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. DUP4 is a complex structural genomic variant that carries extra copies of a glycophorin A-glycophorin B fusion gene and has a dramatic effect on malaria risk by reducing the risk of severe malaria by up to 40%. Using fiber-FISH and Illumina sequencing, we validate the structural arrangement of the glycophorin locus in the DUP4 variant and reveal somatic variation in copy number of the glycophorin B-glycophorin A fusion gene. By developing a simple, specific, PCR-based assay for DUP4, we show that the DUP4 variant reaches a frequency of 13% in the population of a malaria-endemic village in south-eastern Tanzania. We genotype a substantial proportion of that village and demonstrate an association of DUP4 genotype with hemoglobin levels, a phenotype related to malaria, using a family-based association test. Taken together, we show that DUP4 is a complex structural variant that may be susceptible to somatic variation and show that DUP4 is associated with a malarial-related phenotype in a longitudinally followed population.