Increased burden of rare variants in genes of the endosomal Toll-like receptor pathway in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus

Tom N. Lea-Henry*, Aaron Chuah, Maurice Stanley, Vicki Athanasopoulos, Malcolm R. Starkey, Daniel Christiadi, A. Richard Kitching, Matthew C. Cook, Thomas D. Andrews, Carola G. Vinuesa, Giles D. Walters, Simon H. Jiang

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Objective: To compare the frequency of rare variants in genes of the pathophysiologically relevant endosomal Toll-like receptor (eTLR) pathway and any quantifiable differences in variant rarity, predicted deleteriousness, or molecular proximity in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and healthy controls. Patients and methods: 65 genes associated with the eTLR pathway were identified by literature search and pathway analysis. Using next generation sequencing techniques, these were compared in two randomised cohorts of patients with SLE (n = 114 and n = 113) with 197 healthy controls. Genetically determined ethnicity was used to normalise minor allele frequencies (MAF) for the identified genetic variants and these were then compared by their frequency: rare (MAF < 0.005), uncommon (MAF 0.005–0.02), and common (MAF >0.02). This was compared to the results for 65 randomly selected genes. Results: Patients with SLE are more likely to carry a rare nonsynonymous variant affecting proteins within the eTLR pathway than healthy controls. Furthermore, individuals with SLE are more likely to have multiple rare variants in this pathway. There were no differences in rarity, Combined Annotation Dependent Depletion (CADD) score, or molecular proximity for rare eTLR pathway variants. Conclusions: Rare non-synonymous variants are enriched in patients with SLE in the eTLR pathway. This supports the hypothesis that SLE arises from several rare variants of relatively large effect rather than many common variants of small effect.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1756-1763
    Number of pages8
    JournalLupus
    Volume30
    Issue number11
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

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