Admixture Fine-Mapping in African Americans Implicates XAF1 as a Possible Sarcoidosis Risk Gene

Albert M Levin, Michael C Iannuzzi, Courtney G Montgomery, Sheri Trudeau, Indrani Datta, Indra Adrianto, Dhananjay A Chitale, Paul McKeigue, Benjamin A Rybicki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Sarcoidosis is a complex, multi-organ granulomatous disease with a likely genetic component. West African ancestry confers a higher risk for sarcoidosis than European ancestry. Admixture mapping provides the most direct method to locate genes that underlie such ethnic variation in disease risk. We sought to identify genetic risk variants within four previously-identified ancestry-associated regions-6p24.3-p12.1, 17p13.3-13.1, 2p13.3-q12.1, and 6q23.3-q25.2-in a sample of 2,727 African Americans. We used logistic regression fit by generalized estimating equations and the MIX score statistic to determine which variants within ancestry-associated regions were associated with risk and responsible for the admixture signal. Fine mapping was performed by imputation, based on a previous genome-wide association study; significant variants were validated by direct genotyping. Within the 6p24.3-p12.1 locus, the most significant ancestry-adjusted SNP was rs74318745 (p = 9.4*10-11), an intronic SNP within the HLA-DRA gene that did not solely explain the admixture signal, indicating the presence of more than a single risk variant within this well-established sarcoidosis risk region. The locus on chromosome 17p13.3-13.1 revealed a novel sarcoidosis risk SNP, rs6502976 (p = 9.5*10-6), within intron 5 of the gene X-linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis Associated Factor 1 (XAF1) that accounted for the majority of the admixture linkage signal. Immunohistochemical expression studies demonstrated lack of expression of XAF1 and a corresponding high level of expression of its downstream target, X-linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis (XIAP) in sarcoidosis granulomas. In conclusion, ancestry and association fine mapping revealed a novel sarcoidosis susceptibility gene, XAF1, which has not been identified by previous genome-wide association studies. Based on the known biology of the XIAP/XAF1 apoptosis pathway and the differential expression patterns of XAF1 and XIAP in sarcoidosis granulomas, we suggest that this pathway may play a role in the maintenance of sarcoidosis granulomas.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere92646
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume9
Issue number3
Early online date24 Mar 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2014

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