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Genetic loci for Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen-1 are associated with risk of multiple sclerosis


Zhou, Y and Zhu, G and Charlesworth, JC and Simpson Jr, S and Rubicz, R and Goring, HHH and Patsopoulos, NA and Laverty, C and Wu, F and Henders, A and Ellis, JJ and van der Mei, I and Montgomery, GW and Blangero, J and Curran, JE and Johnson, MP and Martin, NG and Nyholt, DR and Taylor, BV, ANZgene consortium, Genetic loci for Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen-1 are associated with risk of multiple sclerosis, Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 22, (13) pp. 1655-1664. ISSN 1352-4585 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 the authors

DOI: doi:10.1177/1352458515626598


BACKGROUND: Infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with an increased risk of multiple sclerosis (MS).

OBJECTIVE: We sought genetic loci influencing EBV nuclear antigen-1 (EBNA-1) IgG titers and hypothesized that they may play a role in MS risk.

METHODS: We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of anti-EBNA-1 IgG titers in 3599 individuals from an unselected twin family cohort, followed by a meta-analysis with data from an independent EBNA-1 GWAS. We then examined the shared polygenic risk between the EBNA-1 GWAS (effective sample size (Neff) = 5555) and a large MS GWAS (Neff = 15,231).

RESULTS: We identified one locus of strong association within the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) region, of which the most significantly associated genotyped single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) was rs2516049 (p = 4.11  10-9). A meta-analysis including data from another EBNA-1 GWAS in a cohort of Mexican-American families confirmed that rs2516049 remained the most significantly associated SNP (p = 3.32  10-20). By examining the shared polygenic risk, we show that the genetic risk for elevated anti-EBNA-1 titers is positively correlated with the development of MS, and that elevated EBNA-1 titers are not an epiphenomena secondary to MS. In the joint meta-analysis of EBNA-1 titers and MS, loci at 1p22.1, 3p24.1, 3q13.33, and 10p15.1 reached genome-wide significance (p < 5  10-8).

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that apart from the confirmed HLA region, the association of anti-EBNA-1 IgG titer with MS risk is also mediated through non-HLA genes, and that studies aimed at identifying genetic loci influencing EBNA immune response provides a novel opportunity to identify new and characterize existing genetic risk factors for MS.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Epstein-Barr virus, EBNA-1, multiple sclerosis, GWAS, polygenic risk, non-HLA
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Neurosciences
Research Field:Central nervous system
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Zhou, Y (Mr Yuan Zhou)
UTAS Author:Charlesworth, JC (Dr Jac Charlesworth)
UTAS Author:Simpson Jr, S (Dr Steve Simpson JR)
UTAS Author:Wu, F (Dr Feitong Wu)
UTAS Author:van der Mei, I (Professor Ingrid van der Mei)
UTAS Author:Taylor, BV (Professor Bruce Taylor)
ID Code:109552
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:25
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2016-06-22
Last Modified:2022-08-30

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