APOL1: The Balance Imposed by Infection, Selection, and Kidney Disease

Pazit Beckerman, Katalin Susztak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects millions of people and constitutes a major health and financial burden worldwide. People of African descent are at an increased risk of developing kidney disease, which is mostly explained by two variants in the Apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) gene that are found only in people of west African origin. It is hypothesized that these variants were genetically selected due to the protection they afford against African sleeping sickness, caused by the parasite Trypanosoma brucei. Targeting mutant APOL1 could have substantial therapeutic potential for treating kidney disease. In this review, we will describe the intriguing interplay between microbiology, genetics, and kidney disease as revealed in APOL1-associated kidney disease, discuss APOL1-induced cytotoxicity and its therapeutic implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-695
Number of pages14
JournalTrends in Molecular Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Apolipoprotein 1
  • chronic kidney disease
  • genetics


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