Study of Transcriptional Effects in Cis at the IFIH1 Locus

Endocrine Genetics Laboratory, McGill University Health Center, Montreal Children's Hospital Research Institute, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 07/2010; 5(7):e11564. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011564
Source: PubMed


The Thr allele at the non-synonymous single-nucleotide polymorphism (nsSNP) Thr946Ala in the IFIH1 gene confers risk for Type 1 diabetes (T1D). The SNP is embedded in a 236 kb linkage disequilibrium (LD) block that includes four genes: IFIH1, GCA, FAP and KCNH7. The absence of common nsSNPs in the other genes makes the IFIH1 SNP the strongest functional candidate, but it could be merely a marker of association, due to LD with a variant regulating expression levels of IFIH1 or neighboring genes.
We investigated the effect of the T1D-associated variation on mRNA transcript expression of these genes. Heterozygous mRNA from lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs), pancreas and thymus was examined by allelic expression imbalance, to detect effects in cis on mRNA expression. Using single-nucleotide primer extension, we found no difference between mRNA transcripts in 9 LCLs, 6 pancreas and 13 thymus samples, suggesting that GCA and FAP are not involved. On the other hand, KCNH7 was not expressed at a detectable level in all tissues examined. Moreover, the association of the Thr946Ala SNP with T1D is not due to modulation of IFIH1 expression in organs involved in the disease, pointing to the IFIH1 nsSNP as the causal variant.
The mechanism of the association of the nsSNP with T1D remains to be determined, but does not involve mRNA modulation. It becomes necessary to study differential function of the IFIH1 protein alleles at Thr946Ala to confirm that it is responsible for the disease association.

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Available from: Constantin Polychronakos, Oct 06, 2015
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    • "Therefore, we used allele-specific expression (ASE) analysis to detect transcriptional bias within individuals using genomic DNA from the same individual as a control. Most recently Zouk et al. [8] also applied an ASE approach to test the same hypothesis at IFIH1 and found no evidence for allelic imbalance at rs1990760. Here, we have extended these analyses to induced IFIH1 RNA using additional ASE assays and obtained positive results. "
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    ABSTRACT: IFIH1 (interferon induced with helicase C domain 1), also known as MDA5 (melanoma differentiation-associated protein 5), is one of a family of intracellular proteins known to recognise viral RNA and mediate the innate immune response. IFIH1 is causal in type 1 diabetes based on the protective associations of four rare variants, where the derived alleles are predicted to reduce gene expression or function. Originally, however, T1D protection was mapped to the common IFIH1 nsSNP, rs1990760 or Thr946Ala. This common amino acid substitution does not cause a loss of function and evidence suggests the protective allele, Ala(946), may mark a haplotype with reduced expression of IFIH1 in line with the protection conferred by the four rare loss of function alleles. We have performed allele specific expression analysis that supports this hypothesis: the T1D protective haplotype correlates with reduced IFIH1 transcription in interferon-β stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (overall p = 0.012). In addition, we have used multiflow cytometry analysis and quantitative PCR assays to prove reduced expression of IFIH1 in individuals heterozygous for three of the T1D-associated rare alleles: a premature stop codon, rs35744605 (Glu627X) and predicted splice variants, rs35337543 (IVS8+1) and rs35732034 (IVS14+1). We also show that the nsSNP, Ile923V, does not alter pre-mRNA levels of IFIH1. These results confirm and extend the new autoimmune disease pathway of reduced IFIH1 expression and protein function protecting from T1D.
    PLoS ONE 09/2010; 5(9). DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0012646 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Increased IFN-α signaling is a heritable risk factor for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). IFN induced with helicase C domain 1 (IFIH1) is a cytoplasmic dsRNA sensor that activates IFN-α pathway signaling. We studied the impact of the autoimmune-disease-associated IFIH1 rs1990760 (A946T) single nucleotide polymorphism upon IFN-α signaling in SLE patients in vivo. We studied 563 SLE patients (278 African-American, 179 European-American, and 106 Hispanic-American). Logistic regression models were used to detect genetic associations with autoantibody traits, and multiple linear regression was used to analyze IFN-α-induced gene expression in PBMCs in the context of serum IFN-α in the same blood sample. We found that the rs1990760 T allele was associated with anti-dsDNA Abs across all of the studied ancestral backgrounds (meta-analysis odds ratio = 1.34, p = 0.026). This allele also was associated with lower serum IFN-α levels in subjects who had anti-dsDNA Abs (p = 0.0026). When we studied simultaneous serum and PBMC samples from SLE patients, we found that the IFIH1 rs1990760 T allele was associated with increased IFN-induced gene expression in PBMCs in response to a given amount of serum IFN-α in anti-dsDNA-positive patients. This effect was independent of the STAT4 genotype, which modulates sensitivity to IFN-α in a similar way. Thus, the IFIH1 rs1990760 T allele was associated with dsDNA Abs, and in patients with anti-dsDNA Abs this risk allele increased sensitivity to IFN-α signaling. These studies suggest a role for the IFIH1 risk allele in SLE in vivo.
    The Journal of Immunology 06/2011; 187(3):1298-303. DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.1100857 · 4.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Starting with early crucial discoveries of the role of the major histocompatibility complex, genetic studies have long had a role in understanding the biology of type 1 diabetes (T1D), which is one of the most heritable common diseases. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have given us a clearer picture of the allelic architecture of genetic susceptibility to T1D. Fine mapping and functional studies are gradually revealing the complex mechanisms whereby immune self-tolerance is lost, involving multiple aspects of adaptive immunity. The triggering of these events by dysregulation of the innate immune system has also been implicated by genetic evidence. Finally, genetic prediction of T1D risk is showing promise of use for preventive strategies.
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