Low-Frequency and Rare-Coding Variation Contributes to Multiple Sclerosis Risk

MitjaMitrovič, […], ChrisCotsapas. Cell, Volume 175, Issue 6, 29 November 2018, Pages 1679-1687.e7 Read More


Multiple sclerosis is a complex neurological disease, with ∼20% of risk heritability attributable to common genetic variants, including >230 identified by genome-wide association studies. Multiple strands of evidence suggest that much of the remaining heritability is also due to additive effects of common variants rather than epistasis between these variants or mutations exclusive to individual families. Here, we show in 68,379 cases and controls that up to 5% of this heritability is explained by low-frequency variation in gene coding sequence. We identify four novel genes driving MS risk independently of common-variant signals, highlighting key pathogenic roles for regulatory T cell homeostasis and regulation, IFNγ biology, and NFκB signaling. As low-frequency variants do not show substantial linkage disequilibrium with other variants, and as coding variants are more interpretable and experimentally tractable than non-coding variation, our discoveries constitute a rich resource for dissecting the pathobiology of MS. © 2018 The Author

In a large multi-cohort study, unexplained heritability for multiple sclerosis is detected in low-frequency coding variants that are missed by GWAS analyses, further underscoring the role of immune genes in MS pathology. © 2018 The Author

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Posted on January 15, 2019
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