17q21.31 sub-haplotypes underlying H1-associated risk for Parkinson’s disease are associated with LRRC37A/2 expression in astrocytes

International Parkinson's Disease Genomics Consortium (IPDGC)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is genetically associated with the H1 haplotype of the MAPT 17q.21.31 locus, although the causal gene and variants underlying this association have not been identified. Methods: To better understand the genetic contribution of this region to PD and to identify novel mechanisms conferring risk for the disease, we fine-mapped the 17q21.31 locus by constructing discrete haplotype blocks from genetic data. We used digital PCR to assess copy number variation associated with PD-associated blocks, and used human brain postmortem RNA-seq data to identify candidate genes that were then further investigated using in vitro models and human brain tissue. Results: We identified three novel H1 sub-haplotype blocks across the 17q21.31 locus associated with PD risk. Protective sub-haplotypes were associated with increased LRRC37A/2 copy number and expression in human brain tissue. We found that LRRC37A/2 is a membrane-associated protein that plays a role in cellular migration, chemotaxis and astroglial inflammation. In human substantia nigra, LRRC37A/2 was primarily expressed in astrocytes, interacted directly with soluble α-synuclein, and co-localized with Lewy bodies in PD brain tissue. Conclusion: These data indicate that a novel candidate gene, LRRC37A/2, contributes to the association between the 17q21.31 locus and PD via its interaction with α-synuclein and its effects on astrocytic function and inflammatory response. These data are the first to associate the genetic association at the 17q21.31 locus with PD pathology, and highlight the importance of variation at the 17q21.31 locus in the regulation of multiple genes other than MAPT and KANSL1, as well as its relevance to non-neuronal cell types.

Original languageEnglish
Article number48
JournalMolecular neurodegeneration
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • 17q21.31
  • Astrocytes
  • Copy number variation
  • LRRC37A
  • Parkinson’s disease

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