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Vitamin D Receptor and autoimmune diseases – Jan 2017

Identification of genetic variants affecting vitamin D receptor binding and associations with autoimmune disease

Iniitally Preprint Server bioRxiv doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/080143
Now published in Human Molecular Genetics doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddx092
Giuseppe Gallone, Wilfried Haerty, Giulio Disanto, Sreeram Ramagopalan, Chris P Ponting, Antonio J Berlanga-Taylor

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This may be a chart of VDR activation vs autoimmune disease


Large numbers of statistically significant associations between sentinel SNPs and case-control status have been replicated by genome-wide association studies. Nevertheless, few underlying molecular mechanisms of complex disease are currently known. We investigated whether variation in binding of a transcription factor, the vitamin D receptor (VDR) whose activating ligand vitamin D has been proposed as a modifiable factor in multiple disorders, could explain any of these associations. VDR modifies gene expression by binding DNA as a heterodimer with the Retinoid X receptor (RXR). We identified 43,332 genetic variants significantly associated with altered VDR binding affinity (VDR-BVs) using a high-resolution (ChIP-exo) genome-wide analysis of 27 HapMap lymphoblastoid cell lines. VDR-BVs are enriched in consensus RXR
VDR binding motifs, yet most fell outside of these motifs, implying that genetic variation often affects binding affinity only indirectly. Finally, we compared 341 VDR-BVs replicating by position in multiple individuals against background sets of variants lying within VDR-binding regions that had been matched in allele frequency and were independent with respect to linkage disequilibrium. In this stringent test, these replicated VDR-BVs were significantly (q < 0.1) and substantially (> 2-fold) enriched in genomic intervals associated with autoimmune and other diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis. The approach's validity is underscored by RXR
VDR motif sequence being predictive of binding strength and being evolutionarily constrained. Our findings are consistent with altered RXR::VDR binding contributing to immunity-related diseases. Replicated VDR-BVs associated with these disorders could represent causal disease risk alleles whose effect may be modifiable by vitamin D levels.

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