Genetic factors are associated with susceptibility to many infectious diseases and may be determinants of clinical progression. Gene copy number variation (CNV) has been shown to be associated with phenotypes of numerous diseases, including malaria. We quantified gene copy numbers of the pyruvate kinase, liver, and red blood cell (PKLR) gene as well as of the Fcγ receptor 2A and Fcγ receptor 2C (FCGR2A, FCGR2C) and Fcγ receptor 3 (FCGR3) genes using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) assays in Gabonese children with severe (n = 184) or and mild (n = 189) malaria and in healthy Gabonese and white individuals (n = 76 each). The means of PKLR, FCGR2A, FCGR2C, and FCGR3 copy numbers were significantly higher among children with severe malaria compared to those with mild malaria (P < .002), indicating that a surplus of copies of those genes is significantly associated with malaria severity. Copy numbers of the FCGR2A and FCGR2C genes were significantly lower (P = .005) in Gabonese individuals compared with white individuals. In conclusion, CNV of the PKLR, FCGR2A, FCGR2C, and FCGR3 genes is associated with malaria severity, and our results provide evidence for a role of CNV in host responses to malaria.
Keywords: FCGR2A; FCGR2C; FCGR3; PKLR; malaria.
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