Screening & identification of potential novel biomarker for diagnosis of complicated P. vivax malaria

04 Oct 2018
Kaur H, Sehgal R, Kumar A, Sehgal A, Bansal D, Sultan AA


In the recent years Plasmodium vivax has been reported to cause severe infections associated with mortality. Clinical evaluation has limited accuracy for the early identification of the patients progressing towards the fatal condition. Researchers have tried to identify the serum and the plasma-based indicators of the severe malaria. Discovery of MicroRNA (miRNA) has opened up an era of identification of early biomarkers for various infectious and non-infectious diseases. MicroRNAs (miRNA) are the small non-coding RNA molecules of length 19-24 nts and are responsible for the regulation of the majority of human gene expressions at post transcriptional level.


We identified the differentially expressed miRNAs by microarray and validated the selected miRNAs by qRT-PCR. We assessed the diagnostic potential of these up-regulated miRNAs for complicated P. vivax malaria. Futher, the bioinformtic analysis was performed to construct protein-protein and mRNA-miRNA networks to identify highly regulated miRNA.


In the present study, utility of miRNA as potential biomarker of complicated P. vivax malaria was explored. A total of 276 miRNAs were found to be differentially expressed by miRNA microarray and out of which 5 miRNAs (hsa-miR-7977, hsa-miR-28-3p, hsa-miR-378-5p, hsa-miR-194-5p and hsa-miR-3667-5p) were found to be significantly up-regulated in complicated P. vivax malaria patients using qRT-PCR. The diagnostic potential of these 5 miRNAs were found to be significant with sensitivity and specificity of 60-71% and 69-81% respectively and area under curve (AUC) of 0.7 (p < 0.05). Moreover, in silico analysis of the common targets of up-regulated miRNAs revealed UBA52 and hsa-miR-7977 as majorly regulated hubs in the PPI and mRNA-miRNA networks, suggesting their putative role in complicated P. vivax malaria.


miR-7977 might act as a potential biomarker for differentiating complicated P. vivax malaria from uncomplicated type. The elevated levels of miR-7977 may have a role to play in the disease pathology through UBA52 or TGF-beta signalling pathway.