Scientific reports

Integrated genomics identifies convergence of ankylosing spondylitis with global immune mediated disease pathways.

PMID 25980808


Ankylosing spondylitis(AS), a highly heritable complex inflammatory arthritis. Although, a handful of non-HLA risk loci have been identified, capturing the unexplained genetic contribution to AS pathogenesis remains a challenge attributed to additive, pleiotropic and epistatic-interactions at the molecular level. Here, we developed multiple integrated genomic approaches to quantify molecular convergence of non-HLA loci with global immune mediated diseases. We show that non-HLA genes are significantly sensitive to deleterious mutation accumulation in the general population compared with tolerant genes. Human developmental proteomics (prenatal to adult) analysis revealed that proteins encoded by non-HLA AS risk loci are 2-fold more expressed in adult hematopoietic cells.Enrichment analysis revealed AS risk genes overlap with a significant number of immune related pathways (p < 0.0001 to 9.8 × 0(-12)). Protein-protein interaction analysis revealed non-shared AS risk genes are highly clustered seeds that significantly converge (empirical; p < 0.01 to 1.6 × 10(-4)) into networks of global immune mediated disease risk loci. We have also provided initial evidence for the involvement of STAT2/3 in AS pathogenesis. Collectively, these findings highlight molecular insight on non-HLA AS risk loci that are not exclusively connected with overlapping immune mediated diseases; rather a component of common pathophysiological pathways with other immune mediated diseases. This information will be pivotal to fully explain AS pathogenesis and identify new therapeutic targets.