PloS one

Pooled Sequencing of Candidate Genes Implicates Rare Variants in the Development of Asthma Following Severe RSV Bronchiolitis in Infancy.

PMID 26587832


Severe infection with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) during infancy is strongly associated with the development of asthma. To identify genetic variation that contributes to asthma following severe RSV bronchiolitis during infancy, we sequenced the coding exons of 131 asthma candidate genes in 182 European and African American children with severe RSV bronchiolitis in infancy using anonymous pools for variant discovery, and then directly genotyped a set of 190 nonsynonymous variants. Association testing was performed for physician-diagnosed asthma before the 7th birthday (asthma) using genotypes from 6,500 individuals from the Exome Sequencing Project (ESP) as controls to gain statistical power. In addition, among patients with severe RSV bronchiolitis during infancy, we examined genetic associations with asthma, active asthma, persistent wheeze, and bronchial hyperreactivity (methacholine PC20) at age 6 years. We identified four rare nonsynonymous variants that were significantly associated with asthma following severe RSV bronchiolitis, including single variants in ADRB2, FLG and NCAM1 in European Americans (p = 4.6x10-4, 1.9x10-13 and 5.0x10-5, respectively), and NOS1 in African Americans (p = 2.3x10-11). One of the variants was a highly functional nonsynonymous variant in ADRB2 (rs1800888), which was also nominally associated with asthma (p = 0.027) and active asthma (p = 0.013) among European Americans with severe RSV bronchiolitis without including the ESP. Our results suggest that rare nonsynonymous variants contribute to the development of asthma following severe RSV bronchiolitis in infancy, notably in ADRB2. Additional studies are required to explore the role of rare variants in the etiology of asthma and asthma-related traits following severe RSV bronchiolitis.