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A sex-stratified genome-wide association study of tuberculosis using a multi-ethnic genotyping array

By Haiko Schurz, Craig J Kinnear, Christopher R. Gignoux, Genevieve Wojcik, Paul D van Helden, Gerard Tromp, Brenna Henn, Eileen G. Hoal, Marlo Möller

Posted 31 Aug 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/405571 (published DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2018.00678)

Tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is a complex disease with a known human genetic component. Males seem to be more affected than females and in most countries the TB notification rate is twice as high in males as in females. While socio-economic status, behaviour and sex hormones influence the male bias they do not fully account for it. Males have only one copy of the X chromosome, while diploid females are subject to X chromosome inactivation. In addition, the X chromosome codes for many immune-related genes, supporting the hypothesis that X-linked genes could contribute to TB susceptibility in a sex-biased manner. We report the first TB susceptibility genome-wide association study (GWAS) with a specific focus on sex-stratified autosomal analysis and the X chromosome. Individuals from an admixed South African population were genotyped using the Illumina Multi Ethnic Genotyping Array, specifically designed as a suitable platform for diverse and admixed populations. Association testing was done on the autosome and X chromosome in a sex stratified and combined manner. SNP association testing was not statistically significant using a stringent cut-off for significance but revealed likely candidate genes that warrant further investigation. A genome wide interaction analysis detected 16 significant interactions. Finally, the results highlight the importance of sex-stratified analysis as strong sex-specific effects were identified on both the autosome and X chromosome.

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