A Genome-Wide Integrative Genomic Study Localizes Genetic Factors Influencing Antibodies against Epstein-Barr Virus Nuclear Antigen 1 (EBNA-1)

Department of Genetics, Texas Biomedical Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas, United States of America.
PLoS Genetics (Impact Factor: 7.53). 01/2013; 9(1):e1003147. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003147
Source: PubMed


Infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is highly prevalent worldwide, and it has been associated with infectious mononucleosis and severe diseases including Burkitt lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, nasopharyngeal lymphoma, and lymphoproliferative disorders. Although EBV has been the focus of extensive research, much still remains unknown concerning what makes some individuals more sensitive to infection and to adverse outcomes as a result of infection. Here we use an integrative genomics approach in order to localize genetic factors influencing levels of Epstein Barr virus (EBV) nuclear antigen-1 (EBNA-1) IgG antibodies, as a measure of history of infection with this pathogen, in large Mexican American families. Genome-wide evidence of both significant linkage and association was obtained on chromosome 6 in the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) region and replicated in an independent Mexican American sample of large families (minimum p-value in combined analysis of both datasets is 1.4×10(-15) for SNPs rs477515 and rs2516049). Conditional association analyses indicate the presence of at least two separate loci within MHC class II, and along with lymphocyte expression data suggest genes HLA-DRB1 and HLA-DQB1 as the best candidates. The association signals are specific to EBV and are not found with IgG antibodies to 12 other pathogens examined, and therefore do not simply reveal a general HLA effect. We investigated whether SNPs significantly associated with diseases in which EBV is known or suspected to play a role (namely nasopharyngeal lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, systemic lupus erythematosus, and multiple sclerosis) also show evidence of associated with EBNA-1 antibody levels, finding an overlap only for the HLA locus, but none elsewhere in the genome. The significance of this work is that a major locus related to EBV infection has been identified, which may ultimately reveal the underlying mechanisms by which the immune system regulates infection with this pathogen.

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Available from: Rohina Rubicz, Oct 08, 2015
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    • "In both studies, the minor allele was associated with lower anti-EBNA-1 IgG levels. The other SNPs reported in the previous study [3] were not significantly associated with anti-EBNA-1 IgG levels in our sample. The previous study was conducted in Mexican American subjects, and allele frequencies and LD patterns differ between the MEX and CEU HapMap populations (Table S1), potentially accounting, at least in part, for the observed difference between the two studies. "
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    ABSTRACT: Over 95% of the adult population worldwide is infected with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). EBV infection is associated with the development of several cancers, including Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). Elevated levels of anti-EBV antibodies have been associated with increased risk of HL. There is growing evidence that genetic factors control the levels of antibodies against EBV antigens. Here, we conducted linkage and association studies to search for genetic factors influencing either anti-viral capsid antigen (VCA) or anti-Epstein Barr nuclear antigen-1 (EBNA-1) IgG levels in a unique cohort of 424 individuals of European origin from 119 French families recruited through a Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) patient. No major locus controlling anti-VCA antibody levels was identified. However, we found that the HLA region influenced anti-EBNA-1 IgG titers. Refined association studies in this region identified a cluster of HLA class II variants associated with anti-EBNA-1 IgG titers (e.g. p = 5×10-5 for rs9268403). The major allele of rs9268403 conferring a predisposition to high anti-EBNA-1 antibody levels was also associated with an increased risk of HL (p = 0.02). In summary, this study shows that HLA class II variants influenced anti-EBNA-1 IgG titers in a European population. It further shows the role of the same variants in the risk of HL.
    PLoS ONE 07/2014; 9(7):e102501. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0102501 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "underwent stringent quality control measures prior to analysis, as previously described [Rubicz et al., 2013]. SNPs were excluded if they had a low call rate, were monomorphic, had a minor allele in <10 individuals, and if Hardy-Weinberg test statistics (calculated in SOLAR [Almasy and Blangero, 1998]) were P ࣘ 10 –4 . "
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    ABSTRACT: Increased immunoglobulin G (IgG) response to dietary antigens can be associated with gastrointestinal dysfunction and autoimmunity. The underlying processes contributing to these adverse reactions remain largely unknown, and it is likely that genetic factors play a role. Here, we estimate heritability and attempt to localize genetic factors influencing IgG antibody levels against food-derived antigens using an integrative genomics approach. IgG antibody levels were determined by ELISA in >1,300 Mexican Americans for the following food antigens: wheat gliadin; bovine casein; and two forms of bovine serum albumin (BSA-a and BSA-b). Pedigree-based variance components methods were used to estimate additive genetic heritability (h(2) ), perform genome-wide association analyses, and identify transcriptional signatures (based on 19,858 transcripts from peripheral blood lymphocytes). Heritability estimates were significant for all traits (0.15-0.53), and shared environment (based on shared residency among study participants) was significant for casein (0.09) and BSA-a (0.33). Genome-wide significant evidence of association was obtained only for antibody to gliadin (P = 8.57 × 10(-8) ), mapping to the human leukocyte antigen II region, with HLA-DRA and BTNL2 as the best candidate genes. Lack of association of known celiac disease risk alleles HLA-DQ2.5 and -DQ8 with antigliadin antibodies in the studied population suggests a separate genetic etiology. Significant transcriptional signatures were found for all IgG levels except BSA-b. These results demonstrate that individual genetic differences contribute to food antigen antibody measures in this population. Further investigations may elucidate the underlying immunological processes involved.
    Genetic Epidemiology 07/2014; 38(5):439-46. DOI:10.1002/gepi.21817 · 2.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Risk factors for multiple sclerosis (MS) include human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-specific antibody responses, including an epitope within EBV nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA-1) that is of recent interest. The objective of this paper is to assess case-control associations between MS risk and anti-EBV antibody levels as well as HLA-DR profiles, gender and age in a population-based cohort. Serological responses to EBV were measured in 426 MS patients and 186 healthy controls. HLA-DR typing was performed using sequence-based methods. MS patients had significantly higher levels of antibodies against epitope-specific and polyspecific EBNA-1 and viral capsid antigen (VCA), compared with controls (all p < 10(-15)). In regression analyses, anti-EBNA-1 and anti-VCA antibody levels, protective HLA-DR*04/07/09 alleles and gender (all p < 0.003) contributed independently to a model that classified cases and controls with an odds ratio > 20 (sensitivity 92%, specificity 64%). Notably, the strong influence of high-risk HLA-DR alleles was abrogated after inclusion of EBV serology results. The ability to discriminate MS cases and controls can be substantially enhanced by including anti-EBV serology as well as HLA-DR risk profiles. These findings support the relevance of EBV-specific immunity in MS pathogenesis, and implicate both HLA-dependent and HLA-independent immune responses against EBNA-1 as prominent disease risk factors.
    Multiple Sclerosis 07/2013; 20(3). DOI:10.1177/1352458513498829 · 4.82 Impact Factor
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