Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. Susceptibility to the disease is affected by both environmental and genetic factors. Genetic factors include haplotypes in the histocompatibility complex (MHC) and over 50 non-MHC loci reported by genome-wide association studies. Amongst these, we previously reported polymorphisms in chromosome 12q13-14 with a protective effect in individuals of European descent. This locus spans 288 kb and contains 17 genes, including several candidate genes which have potentially significant pathogenic and therapeutic implications. In this study, we aimed to fine-map this locus. We have implemented a two-phase study: a variant discovery phase where we have used next-generation sequencing and two target-enrichment strategies [long-range polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Nimblegen's solution phase hybridization capture] in pools of 25 samples; and a genotyping phase where we genotyped 712 variants in 3577 healthy controls and 3269 MS patients. This study confirmed the association (rs2069502, P = 9.9 × 10-11, OR= 0.787) and narrowed down the locus of association to an 86.5 kb region. Although the study was unable to pinpoint the key-associated variant, we have identified a 42 (genotyped and imputed) single-nucleotide polymorphism haplotype block likely to harbour the causal variant. No evidence of association at previously reported low-frequency variants in CYP27B1 was observed. As part of the study we compared variant discovery performance using two targetenrichment strategies. We concluded that our pools enriched with Nimblegen's solution phase hybridization capture had better sensitivity to detect true variants than the pools enriched with long-range PCR, whilst specificity was better in the long-range PCR-enriched pools compared with solution phase hybridization capture enriched pools; this result has important implications for the design of future fine-mapping studies.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) (grant number 633275).
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