Genome-block expression-assisted association studies discover malaria resistance genes in Anopheles gambiae.
Li J., Wang X., Zhang G., Githure JI., Yan G., James AA.
The malaria parasite-resistance island (PRI) of the African mosquito vector, Anopheles gambiae, was mapped to five genomic regions containing 80 genes, using coexpression patterns of genomic blocks. High-throughput sequencing identified 347 nonsynonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms within these genes in mosquitoes from malaria-endemic areas in Kenya. Direct association studies between nonsynonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms and Plasmodium falciparum infection identified three naturally occurring genetic variations in each of three genes (An. gambiae adenosine deaminase, fibrinogen-related protein 30, and fibrinogen-related protein 1) that were associated significantly with parasite infection. A role for these genes in the resistance phenotype was confirmed by RNA interference knockdown assays. Silencing fibrinogen-related protein 30 increased parasite infection significantly, whereas ablation of fibrinogen-related protein 1 transcripts resulted in mosquitoes nearly free of parasites. The discovered genes and single-nucleotide polymorphisms are anticipated to be useful in the development of tools for malaria control in endemic areas in Africa.