Bipolar disorder (BD) is a serious mental illness with substantial common variant heritability. However, the role of rare coding variation in BD is not well established. We examined the protein-coding (exonic) sequences of 3,987 unrelated individuals with BD and 5,322 controls of predominantly European ancestry across four cohorts from the Bipolar Sequencing Consortium (BSC). We assessed the burden of rare, protein-altering, single nucleotide variants classified as pathogenic or likely pathogenic (P-LP) both exome-wide and within several groups of genes with phenotypic or biologic plausibility in BD. While we observed an increased burden of rare coding P-LP variants within 165 genes identified as BD GWAS regions in 3,987 BD cases (meta-analysis OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.3–2.8, one-sided p = 6.0 × 10−4), this enrichment did not replicate in an additional 9,929 BD cases and 14,018 controls (OR = 0.9, one-side p = 0.70). Although BD shares common variant heritability with schizophrenia, in the BSC sample we did not observe a significant enrichment of P-LP variants in SCZ GWAS genes, in two classes of neuronal synaptic genes (RBFOX2 and FMRP) associated with SCZ or in loss-of-function intolerant genes. In this study, the largest analysis of exonic variation in BD, individuals with BD do not carry a replicable enrichment of rare P-LP variants across the exome or in any of several groups of genes with biologic plausibility. Moreover, despite a strong shared susceptibility between BD and SCZ through common genetic variation, we do not observe an association between BD risk and rare P-LP coding variants in genes known to modulate risk for SCZ.
- Bipolar disorder