Heterozygosity for the mutant sickle hemoglobin confers protection from severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria. It is here proposed that this protection derives from the instability of sickle hemoglobin, which clusters red cell membrane protein band 3 and triggers accelerated removal by phagocytic: cells. This explanation requires that sickle trait cells manifest greater hemoglobin instability than normal red cells, something that could derive from their content of sickle hemoglobin. The mechanism also implicates splenic function as a determinant of the protective effect.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||3|
|State||Published - Dec 1 2003|