Evolutionary relationship between malaria sickle cell anemia

Sickle Cell Anaemia and Malaria

evolutionary relationship between malaria sickle cell anemia

Although helpful in preventing malaria, this mutation can also lead to sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell specialist Dr. Ronald Nagel stresses the genetic diversity. Magazine. R3. Evolution by natural selection is powerful effect. This link was explored in a diseases – sickle-cell disease and to malaria resistance was a. Mysterious malarial link to sickle-cell mutation resolved. That's why patients with sickle-cell anemia have abnormally shaped red blood cells. A person's DNA Evolutionary pressure has not caused hemoglobin mutations.

Understanding Sickle Cell Trait and Disease

The history of sickle cell anaemia SCA lists several gold medals. First, it was for SCA that the term molecular disease was coined over half a century ago 1and this led to the notion of haemoglobinopathies.

Mystery solved: How sickle hemoglobin protects against malaria

Second, when the structural abnormality of haemoglobin Hb S was pinpointed 2this was the first time that a single amino acid replacement in a protein was shown to cause a serious disease. Third, once the three-dimensional structure of Hb was solved 3 it became clear why Hb S had the unique characteristic of being normal when oxygenated, but abnormal when deoxygenated.

Thus, the entire field of human molecular genetics is greatly indebted to SCA; at the same time, as far as haematology is concerned, SCA is a major chapter within haemolytic anaemias. Here we intend to discuss briefly one aspect of this condition that is eminently germane to the very name of this journal: The relationship is complex.

  • Protective Effect of Sickle Cell Trait Against Malaria-Associated Mortality And Morbidity
  • Sickle Cell Anaemia and Malaria
  • Malaria continues to select for sickle cell trait in Central Africa

However, the first to formulate this notion in terms of Darwinian selection was J B S Haldane, who speculated that, depending on their genetic makeup, people would have a different risk of dying when they are confronted by a parasitic organism: First, one type of malaria, that caused by Plasmodium falciparum, is highly lethal.

Second, it is estimated to have been around in many parts of the world for several thousands of years, i.

evolutionary relationship between malaria sickle cell anemia

The global impact of SCD has been estimated at approximatelybirths every year 9 and could reach approximatelybirths annually by according to recent projections 4. Besides its importance as a public health threat, SCD holds a special place in human population biology as a paradigmatic example of selective advantage of the heterozygotes, leading to balancing selection. Given that persons carrying the homozygous HbSS genotype had almost no chance to reproduce, there should be a steady decrease of the HbS allele frequency with each generation in the absence of a counteracting force.

Thus, the question arises as to what was the force that maintained the HbS allele at a high frequency in human populations.

Mystery solved: How sickle hemoglobin protects against malaria | EurekAlert! Science News

Mainly based on the similarity of the geographical distribution of the two diseases malaria and SCDHaldane 12 hypothesized that SCT could provide protection against severe forms of malaria. This insight was substantiated thereafter by Allison 13 ; see refs.

evolutionary relationship between malaria sickle cell anemia

Although the principle of SCT protection against severe malaria as the factor accounting for the high levels of SCT in some parts of the world is now generally accepted, the details of this interaction are much less known.

There is a lack of epidemiological studies assessing the strength of the association between malaria and SCT.

evolutionary relationship between malaria sickle cell anemia

Global studies, old 13 or recent 19provide compelling evidence in favor of the so-called malaria hypothesis, but are based on historical data of malaria prevalence, and do not allow a precise estimation of the SCT effect against malaria. At a global scale, human populations differ in several respects, including their genetic backgrounds, lifestyles, and access to healthcare, among others.

Moreover, human populations are immersed in diverse environments, especially concerning pathogen communities.

evolutionary relationship between malaria sickle cell anemia

Ingo Bechman observed the brains of these mice he confirmed that the lesions associated with the development of cerebral malaria where absent, despite the presence of the parasite. Ana Ferreira went on to show that the protection afforded by sickle hemoglobin in these mice, acts without interfering directly with the parasite's ability to infect the host red blood cells.

As Miguel Soares describes it, "sickle hemoglobin makes the host tolerant to the parasite". Through a series of genetic experiments, Ana Ferreira was able to show that the main player in this protective effect is heme oxygenase-1 HO-1an enzyme whose expression is strongly induced by sickle hemoglobin.

Evolution: Library: A Mutation Story

This enzyme, that produces the gas carbon monoxide, had been previously shown by the laboratory of Miguel Soares to confer protection against cerebral malaria. In the process of dissecting further this mechanism of protection Ana Ferreira demonstrated that when produced in response to sickle hemoglobin the same gas, carbon monoxide, protected the infected host from succumbing to cerebral malaria without interfering with the life cycle of the parasite inside its red blood cells.

Miguel Soares and his team believe that the mechanism they have identified for sickle cell trait may be a general mechanism acting in other red blood cell genetic diseases that are also know to protect against malaria in human populations: Similarly, other clinically silent mutations may have been selected throughout evolution, for their ability to provide survival advantage against Plasmodium infection".

evolutionary relationship between malaria sickle cell anemia