A polymorphism that affects OCT-1 binding to the TNF promoter region is associated with severe malaria

Nat Genet. 1999 Jun;22(2):145-50. doi: 10.1038/9649.


Genetic variation in cytokine promoter regions is postulated to influence susceptibility to infection, but the molecular mechanisms by which such polymorphisms might affect gene regulation are unknown. Through systematic DNA footprinting of the TNF (encoding tumour necrosis factor, TNF) promoter region, we have identified a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) that causes the helix-turn-helix transcription factor OCT-1 to bind to a novel region of complex protein-DNA interactions and alters gene expression in human monocytes. The OCT-1-binding genotype, found in approximately 5% of Africans, is associated with fourfold increased susceptibility to cerebral malaria in large case-control studies of West African and East African populations, after correction for other known TNF polymorphisms and linked HLA alleles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Child
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gambia
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genotype
  • Host Cell Factor C1
  • Humans
  • Kenya
  • Malaria, Cerebral / genetics*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / genetics*
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-1
  • Plasmodium falciparum / pathogenicity
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / genetics*
  • Reference Values
  • Regression Analysis
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • HCFC1 protein, human
  • Host Cell Factor C1
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-1
  • POU2F1 protein, human
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Transcription Factors