Genome-wide association study identifies genetic variants influencing F-cell levels in sickle-cell patients.

Bhatnagar P, Purvis S, Barron-Casella E, DeBaun MR, Casella JF, Arking DE, Keefer JR
J Hum Genet. 2011 56 (4): 316-23

PMID: 21326311 · PMCID: PMC5825003 · DOI:10.1038/jhg.2011.12

Fetal hemoglobin (HbF) level has emerged as an important prognostic factor in sickle-cell disease (SCD) and can be measured by the proportion of HbF-containing erythrocytes (F-cells). Recently, BCL11A (zinc-finger protein) was identified as a regulator of HbF, and the strongest association signals were observed either directly for rs766432 or for correlated single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). To identify additional independently associated genetic variants, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on the proportion of F-cells in individuals of African ancestry with SCD from the Silent Infarct Transfusion (SIT) Trial cohort. Our study not only confirms the association of rs766432 (P-value <3.32 × 10(-13)), but also identifies an independent novel intronic SNP, rs7606173, associated with F-cells (P-value <1.81 × 10(-15)). The F-cell variances explained independently by these two SNPs are ∼13% (rs7606173) and ∼11% (rs766432), whereas, together they explain ∼16%. Additionally, in men, we identify a novel locus on chromosome 17, glucagon-like peptide-2 receptor (GLP2R), associated with F-cell regulation (rs12103880; P-value <3.41 × 10(-8)). GLP2R encodes a G protein-coupled receptor and involved in proliferative and anti-apoptotic cellular responses. These findings highlight the importance of denser genetic screens and suggest further exploration of the BCL11A and GLP2R loci to gain additional insight into HbF/F-cell regulation.

MeSH Terms (19)

African Continental Ancestry Group Anemia, Sickle Cell Bayes Theorem Carrier Proteins Chromosomes, Human, Pair 17 Cohort Studies Erythrocyte Count Erythrocytes Fetal Hemoglobin Genome-Wide Association Study Genotype Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Haplotypes Humans Male Nuclear Proteins Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide Receptors, Glucagon Repressor Proteins

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