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Diversity of KIR genes and their HLA-C ligands in Ugandan populations with historically varied malaria transmission intensity.

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Tukwasibwe, Stephen 
Traherne, James A 
Chazara, Olympe 
Jayaraman, Jyothi 
Trowsdale, John 


BACKGROUND: Malaria is one of the most serious infectious diseases in the world. The malaria burden is greatly affected by human immunity, and immune responses vary between populations. Genetic diversity in KIR and HLA-C genes, which are important in immunity to infectious diseases, is likely to play a role in this heterogeneity. Several studies have shown that KIR and HLA-C genes influence the immune response to viral infections, but few studies have examined the role of KIR and HLA-C in malaria infection, and these have used low-resolution genotyping. The aim of this study was to determine whether genetic variation in KIR and their HLA-C ligands differ in Ugandan populations with historically varied malaria transmission intensity using more comprehensive genotyping approaches. METHODS: High throughput multiplex quantitative real-time PCR method was used to genotype KIR genetic variants and copy number variation and a high-throughput real-time PCR method was developed to genotype HLA-C1 and C2 allotypes for 1344 participants, aged 6 months to 10 years, enrolled from Ugandan populations with historically high (Tororo District), medium (Jinja District) and low (Kanungu District) malaria transmission intensity. RESULTS: The prevalence of KIR3DS1, KIR2DL5, KIR2DS5, and KIR2DS1 genes was significantly lower in populations from Kanungu compared to Tororo (7.6 vs 13.2%: p = 0.006, 57.2 vs 66.4%: p = 0.005, 33.2 vs 46.6%: p < 0.001, and 19.7 vs 26.7%: p = 0.014, respectively) or Jinja (7.6 vs 18.1%: p < 0.001, 57.2 vs 63.8%: p = 0.048, 33.2 vs 43.5%: p = 0.002, and 19.7 vs 30.4%: p < 0.001, respectively). The prevalence of homozygous HLA-C2 was significantly higher in populations from Kanungu (31.6%) compared to Jinja (21.4%), p = 0.043, with no significant difference between Kanungu and Tororo (26.7%), p = 0.296. CONCLUSIONS: The KIR3DS1, KIR2DL5, KIR2DS5 and KIR2DS1 genes may partly explain differences in transmission intensity of malaria since these genes have been positively selected for in places with historically high malaria transmission intensity. The high-throughput, multiplex, real-time HLA-C genotyping PCR method developed will be useful in disease-association studies involving large cohorts.



Genetic diversity, Human leukocyte antigen, Killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptor, Malaria, Uganda, Child, Child, Preschool, DNA Copy Number Variations, Genotype, HLA-C Antigens, Humans, Infant, Ligands, Malaria, Falciparum, Potassium Channels, Inwardly Rectifying, Uganda

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Malar J

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
European Research Council (695551)
Wellcome Trust (200841/Z/16/Z)
Wellcome Trust (107743/Z/15/Z)