Background. Mannose binding lectin (MBL) has an important role in the activation of the complement system and opsonization of pathogenic microorganisms. Frequent polymorphisms found in the MBL2 gene affect the concentration and functionality of the protein and are associated with enhanced susceptibility to severe malaria in African children. Most MBL2 typing strategies were designed to the analysis of selected variants, the significance of whole haplotypes is poorly known. In this work, a new typing strategy was developed and validated in an association analysis of MBL2 with adult asymptomatic infection. Methods. MBL2 allele-specific fragments of 144 healthy Gabonese adults were amplified by using haplotype-specific sequencing (HSS), a new strategy that combines sequence-specific PCR and sequence-based typing. The Gabonese were investigated for the presence of Plasmodium falciparum parasitaemia by the amplification of parasite genes, immunochromatographic antigen detection and microscopic analysis. HSS results were also compared with a previously used real-time PCR (RT-PCR) method in 72 Euro-Brazilians. Results. Fourteen polymorphisms were identified beside the commonly investigated promoter (H, L; X, Y; P, Q) and exon 1 (A, O; O = B, C or D) variants. The MBL2*LYPA/LYPA genotype was associated with the absence of asymptomatic infection (P = 0.017), whereas the MBL2*LYQC haplotype and YA/YO + YO/YO genotypes were associated with positive parasite counts in asymptomatic adults (P = 0.033 and 0.018, respectively). The associations were specific to LYPA (identical to the reference sequence Y16577) and LYQC (Y16578) and would not have been revealed by standard genotyping, as there was no association with LYPA and LYQC haplotypes carrying new polymorphisms defined by sequence-based typing. In contrast, HSS and RT-PCR produced very similar results in the less diverse European-derived population. Conclusion. In this work, a new typing strategy for a highly polymorphic gene was developed and validated focusing on the asymptomatic status of P. falciparum-infected adults. In populations with high nucleotide diversity, it allowed for the identification of associations with fine-scaled haplotypes that would not have been found using common typing techniques. In this preliminary study, MBL2 haplotypes or SNPs linked to them were found associated with susceptibility to infection and parasitaemia control of asymptomatic adults. © 2009 Boldt et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Boldt, A. B., Messias-Reason, I. J., Lell, B., Issifou, S., Pedroso, M. L. A., Kremsner, P. G., & Kun, J. F. (2009). Haplotype specific-sequencing reveals MBL2 association with asymptomatic Plasmodium falciparum infection. Malaria Journal, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-8-97