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Streptococcus pneumoniae is a common nasopharyngeal colonizer, but can also cause life-threatening invasive diseases such as empyema, bacteremia and meningitis. Genetic variation of host and pathogen is known to play a role in invasive pneumococcal disease, though to what extent is unknown. In a genome-wide association study of human and pathogen we show that human variation explains almost half of variation in susceptibility to pneumococcal meningitis and one-third of variation in severity, and identified variants in CCDC33 associated with susceptibility. Pneumococcal variation explained a large amount of invasive potential, but serotype explained only half of this variation. Newly developed methods identified pneumococcal genes involved in invasiveness including pspC and zmpD, and allowed a human-bacteria interaction analysis, finding associations between pneumococcal lineage and STK32C.

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