Exploiting genotyping, DNA sequencing, imputation and trans-ancestral mapping, we used Bayesian and frequentist approaches to model the IRF5-TNPO3 locus association, now implicated in two immunotherapies and seven autoimmune diseases. Specifically, in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), we resolved separate associations in the IRF5 promoter (all ancestries) and with an extended European haplotype. We captured 3230 IRF5-TNPO3 high-quality, common variants across 5 ethnicities in 8395 SLE cases and 7367 controls. The genetic effect from the IRF5 promoter can be explained by any one of four variants in 5.7 kb (P-valuemeta = 6 × 10(-49); OR = 1.38-1.97). The second genetic effect spanned an 85.5-kb, 24-variant haplotype that included the genes IRF5 and TNPO3 (P-valuesEU = 10(-27)-10(-32), OR = 1.7-1.81). Many variants at the IRF5 locus with previously assigned biological function are not members of either final credible set of potential causal variants identified herein. In addition to the known biologically functional variants, we demonstrated that the risk allele of rs4728142, a variant in the promoter among the lowest frequentist probability and highest Bayesian posterior probability, was correlated with IRF5 expression and differentially binds the transcription factor ZBTB3. Our analytical strategy provides a novel framework for future studies aimed at dissecting etiological genetic effects. Finally, both SLE elements of the statistical model appear to operate in Sjögren's syndrome and systemic sclerosis whereas only the IRF5-TNPO3 gene-spanning haplotype is associated with primary biliary cirrhosis, demonstrating the nuance of similarity and difference in autoimmune disease risk mechanisms at IRF5-TNPO3.
Lupus nephritis is a manifestation of SLE resulting from glomerular immune complex deposition and inflammation. Lupus nephritis demonstrates familial aggregation and accounts for significant morbidity and mortality. We completed a meta-analysis of three genome-wide association studies of SLE to identify lupus nephritis-predisposing loci. Through genotyping and imputation, >1.6 million markers were assessed in 2000 unrelated women of European descent with SLE (588 patients with lupus nephritis and 1412 patients with lupus without nephritis). Tests of association were computed using logistic regression adjusting for population substructure. The strongest evidence for association was observed outside the MHC and included markers localized to 4q11-q13 (PDGFRA, GSX2; P=4.5×10(-7)), 16p12 (SLC5A11; P=5.1×10(-7)), 6p22 (ID4; P=7.4×10(-7)), and 8q24.12 (HAS2, SNTB1; P=1.1×10(-6)). Both HLA-DR2 and HLA-DR3, two well established lupus susceptibility loci, showed evidence of association with lupus nephritis (P=0.06 and P=3.7×10(-5), respectively). Within the class I region, rs9263871 (C6orf15-HCG22) had the strongest evidence of association with lupus nephritis independent of HLA-DR2 and HLA-DR3 (P=8.5×10(-6)). Consistent with a functional role in lupus nephritis, intra-renal mRNA levels of PDGFRA and associated pathway members showed significant enrichment in patients with lupus nephritis (n=32) compared with controls (n=15). Results from this large-scale genome-wide investigation of lupus nephritis provide evidence of multiple biologically relevant lupus nephritis susceptibility loci.
Sjögrens syndrome is a common autoimmune disease (affecting ?0.7% of European Americans) that typically presents as keratoconjunctivitis sicca and xerostomia. Here we report results of a large-scale association study of Sjögrens syndrome. In addition to strong association within the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) region at 6p21 (Pmeta = 7.65 × 10(-114)), we establish associations with IRF5-TNPO3 (Pmeta = 2.73 × 10(-19)), STAT4 (Pmeta = 6.80 × 10(-15)), IL12A (Pmeta = 1.17 × 10(-10)), FAM167A-BLK (Pmeta = 4.97 × 10(-10)), DDX6-CXCR5 (Pmeta = 1.10 × 10(-8)) and TNIP1 (Pmeta = 3.30 × 10(-8)). We also observed suggestive associations (Pmeta < 5 × 10(-5)) with variants in 29 other regions, including TNFAIP3, PTTG1, PRDM1, DGKQ, FCGR2A, IRAK1BP1, ITSN2 and PHIP, among others. These results highlight the importance of genes that are involved in both innate and adaptive immunity in Sjögrens syndrome.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a complex trait characterised by the production of a range of auto-antibodies and a diverse set of clinical phenotypes. Currently, ~8% of the genetic contribution to SLE in Europeans is known, following publication of several moderate-sized genome-wide (GW) association studies, which identified loci with a strong effect (OR>1.3). In order to identify additional genes contributing to SLE susceptibility, we conducted a replication study in a UK dataset (870 cases, 5,551 controls) of 23 variants that showed moderate-risk for lupus in previous studies. Association analysis in the UK dataset and subsequent meta-analysis with the published data identified five SLE susceptibility genes reaching genome-wide levels of significance (P(comb)<5×10(-8)): NCF2 (P(comb) = 2.87×10(-11)), IKZF1 (P(comb) = 2.33×10(-9)), IRF8 (P(comb) = 1.24×10(-8)), IFIH1 (P(comb) = 1.63×10(-8)), and TYK2 (P(comb) = 3.88×10(-8)). Each of the five new loci identified here can be mapped into interferon signalling pathways, which are known to play a key role in the pathogenesis of SLE. These results increase the number of established susceptibility genes for lupus to ~30 and validate the importance of using large datasets to confirm associations of loci which moderately increase the risk for disease.
The overexpression of interferon (IFN)-inducible genes is a prominent feature of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE); it serves as a marker for active and more severe disease, and is also observed in other autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. This study was undertaken to investigate the genetic variations responsible for sustained activation of IFN-responsive genes in SLE.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease which behaves as a complex genetic trait. At least 20 SLE risk susceptibility loci have been mapped using both candidate gene and genome-wide association strategies. The gene encoding the pro-inflammatory cytokine, IL18, has been reported as a candidate gene showing an association with SLE. This pleiotropic cytokine is expressed in a range of immune cells and has been shown to induce interferon-? and tumour necrosis factor-?. Serum interleukin-18 has been reported to be elevated in patients with SLE. Here we aimed to densely map single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across IL18 to investigate the association across this locus. We genotyped 36 across IL18 by Illumina bead express in 372 UK SLE trios. We also genotyped these SNPs in a further 508 non-trio UK cases and were able to accurately impute a dense marker set across IL18 in WTCCC2 controls with a total of 258 SNPs. To improve the studys power, we also imputed a total of 158 SNPs across the IL18 locus using data from an SLE genome-wide association study and performed association testing. In total, we analysed 1818 cases and 10 770 controls in this study. Our large well-powered study (98% to detect odds ratio = 1.5, with respect to rs360719) showed that no individual SNP or haplotype was associated with SLE in any of the cohorts studied. We conclude that we were unable to replicate the SLE association with rs360719 located upstream of IL18. No evidence for association with any other common variant at IL18 with SLE was found.
The archetypal systemic autoimmune disease systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) has incompletely understood pathogenesis, although evidence suggests a strong genetic component. Unlike organ-specific autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, the genetics of lupus are not as dominated by the effect of a single locus. Undoubtedly, the major histocompatibility complex is the greatest and most consistent genetic risk factor in SLE susceptibility; however, recent candidate gene and whole genome association (WGA) studies have identified several other genes that are likely to advance our understanding of this complex disease. One of these, the TNF superfamily member OX40L, interacts with its unique receptor OX40, to maintain T cell memory by providing a late-stage co-stimulatory signal to sustain the survival of activated T cells. The precise immunological consequences are yet to be determined; however, signalling through OX40-OX40L is bidirectional and the reverse signalling pathway via OX40L may quantitatively enhance B cell proliferation to augment the B cell hyperactivity found in SLE. Like OX40L, several genes recently identified in WGA studies are components of B cell pathways. Collectively, these genes will help us to unravel the mechanisms by which aberrant B cell signalling results in lupus pathogenesis.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been shown to be a powerful way of identifying novel susceptibility genes in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), as demonstrated by a series of publications in the past year. Lupus has been a late-comer to the GWAS community, being preceded by success stories for the GWAS approach in other autoimmune diseases, including type I diabetes, ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis. The paper by Suarez-Gestal and colleagues seeks to exploit the wealth of data available from a total of four GWAS in SLE, three in European-American populations and one in a Swedish population. The authors describe replication of ten lupus susceptibility alleles in a Spanish SLE case-control study.
The c-Src tyrosine kinase, Csk, physically interacts with the intracellular phosphatase Lyp (encoded by PTPN22) and can modify the activation state of downstream Src kinases, such as Lyn, in lymphocytes. We identified an association of CSK with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and refined its location to the intronic polymorphism rs34933034 (odds ratio (OR) = 1.32; P = 1.04 × 10(-9)). The risk allele at this SNP is associated with increased CSK expression and augments inhibitory phosphorylation of Lyn. In carriers of the risk allele, there is increased B-cell receptor (BCR)-mediated activation of mature B cells, as well as higher concentrations of plasma immunoglobulin M (IgM), relative to individuals with the non-risk haplotype. Moreover, the fraction of transitional B cells is doubled in the cord blood of carriers of the risk allele, due to an expansion of late transitional cells in a stage targeted by selection mechanisms. This suggests that the Lyp-Csk complex increases susceptibility to lupus at multiple maturation and activation points in B cells.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease with a strong genetic component and is characterized by chronic inflammation and the production of anti-nuclear auto-antibodies. In the era of genome-wide association studies (GWASs), elucidating the genetic factors present in SLE has been a very successful endeavor; 28 confirmed disease susceptibility loci have been mapped. In this review, we summarize the current understanding of the genetics of lupus and focus on the strongest associated risk loci found to date (P <1.0 × 10-8). Although these loci account for less than 10% of the genetic heritability and therefore do not account for the bulk of the disease heritability, they do implicate important pathways, which contribute to SLE pathogenesis. Consequently, the main focus of the review is to outline the genetic variants in the known associated loci and then to explore the potential functional consequences of the associated variants. We also highlight the genetic overlap of these loci with other autoimmune diseases, which indicates common pathogenic mechanisms. The importance of developing functional assays will be discussed and each of them will be instrumental in furthering our understanding of these associated variants and loci. Finally, we indicate that performing a larger SLE GWAS and applying a more targeted set of methods, such as the ImmunoChip and next generation sequencing methodology, are important for identifying additional loci and enhancing our understanding of the pathogenesis of SLE.
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