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Infect Genet Evol. 2012 Dec;12(8):1780-7. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2012.06.013. Epub 2012 Jul 4.

Differential carbonylation of cytoskeletal proteins in blood group O erythrocytes: potential role in protection against severe malaria.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology IV, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Ciudad Universitaria, Madrid, Spain.


The molecular basis for the prevalence of blood group O in regions where malaria is endemic remains unclear. In some genetic backgrounds oxidative modifications have been linked to a reduced susceptibility to severe malaria disease. Through redox proteomics, we detected differences in carbonylated membrane proteins among the different blood groups, both in Plasmodium-infected and uninfected erythrocytes (RBC). Carbonylation profiles of RBC membrane proteins revealed that group O blood shows a reduced protein oxidation pattern compared to groups A, B and AB. Upon infection with Plasmodium falciparum Dd2, erythrocytes of all blood groups showed increased oxidation of membrane proteins. By examining 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (4-HNE) modified proteins by LC-MS/MS (liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry) we observed that, upon malaria infection, the protein components of lipid rafts and cytoskeleton were the main targets of 4-HNE carbonylation in all blood groups. Ankyrins and protein bands 4.2 and 4.1 were differentially carbonylated in group O as compared to A and B groups. During trophozoite maturation in group O erythrocytes, a steady increase was observed in the number of 4-HNE-modified proteins, suggesting a parasite-driven 4-HNE-carbonylation process. Our findings indicate a possible correlation between the protection against severe malaria in blood group O individuals and a specific pattern of 4-HNE-carbonylation of cytoskeleton proteins.

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