A Network Approach to Analyzing Highly Recombinant Malaria Parasite Genes
Each HVR of DBLα is highly recombinant, yet recombinational constraints, as revealed by network community structure, vary by HVR. We find that some are strongly related (HVRs 1 and 6) while others are independent (HVRs 5 and 9). This suggests that those HVRs that diversify and recombine under constraints that are independent of each other may have the primary purpose of immune evasion by diversity generation (red stripes). Those HVRs whose recombinational constraints are related to each other may recombine only under functional constraints (blue). Independent or related constraints may also be found in other domains throughout the larger PfEMP1 molecule.