Role of CR1 Knops polymorphism in the pathophysiology of malaria: Indian scenario

J Vector Borne Dis. 2009 Dec;46(4):288-94.


Background & objectives: Plasmodium falciparum is the leading cause of mortality and causes cerebral malaria associated with sequestration caused by cytoadherence of the trophozoite and schizont-infected erythrocytes to the endothelial cells of the deep vascular beds in the brain. Pathophysiology of malaria is complicated by rosetting. Rosetting is a process of binding of uninfected erythrocytes to the erythrocytes infected with mature asexual parasites and is controlled by expression of complement receptor 1 (CR1) on RBC surface. Various polymorphic forms of CR1 are known including molecular weight polymorphism, red blood cell expression levels/density polymorphism and Knops (KN) polymorphism. The Knops blood group includes several allelic pairs; Knops a and b (Kna and Knb), McCoy a and b (McCa, McCb), Swain-Langley (Sla), and Villien (Vil). Knops phenotype Sl (a-) has been found to rosette less effectively than Sl (a+) and hence suggested to be more protective. P. falciparum cases have not reduced much as compared to the reduction in the total number of malaria cases in the past few years. In addition, P. falciparum is the leading cause for all mortality and most of the morbidity in India. We, therefore, investigated the role of CR1 Knops polymorphism in the pathophysiology of malaria in Indian population.

Methods: A case control approach was used for this study. CAPS (Cleaved amplified polymorphic sequence) methodology was adopted. A total of 100 normal individuals (free from any ailment) and 100 individuals suffering from P. falciparum infection (uncomplicated malaria) were recruited for this study.

Results: We found that in Indian population (normal individuals and P. falciparum-infected individuals), only the wild type allele is present.

Interpretation & conclusion: We concluded that the process of rosetting in the Indian context could be occurring independently of the effect of Knops polymorphism and in part could be controlled by other polymorphisms of the CR1 gene (density and structural polymorphism).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • India
  • Malaria / etiology
  • Malaria / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Receptors, Complement 3b / genetics*


  • CR1 protein, human
  • Receptors, Complement 3b