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Same role but different actors: genetic regulation of post-translational modification of two distinct proteins

By Arianna Landini, Irena Trbojević-Akmačić, Pau Navarro, Yakov A. Tsepilov, Sodbo Z. Sharapov, Frano Vučković, Ozren Polašek, Caroline Hayward, Tea Petrovic, Marija Vilaj, Yurii S. Aulchenko, Gordan Lauc, James F Wilson, Lucija Klaric

Posted 04 May 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.05.04.442584

Post-translational modifications (PTMs) diversify protein functions and dynamically coordinate their signalling networks, influencing most aspects of cell physiology. Nevertheless, their genetic regulation or influence on complex traits is not fully understood. Here, we compare for the first time the genetic regulation of the same PTM of two proteins - glycosylation of transferrin and immunoglobulin G (IgG). By performing genome-wide association analysis of transferrin glycosylation, we identified 10 significantly associated loci, all novel. Comparing these with IgG glycosylation-associated genes, we note protein-specific associations with genes encoding glycosylation enzymes (transferrin - MGAT5, ST3GAL4, B3GAT1; IgG - MGAT3, ST6GAL1) as well as shared associations (FUT6, FUT8). Colocalisation analyses of the latter suggest that different causal variants in the FUT genes regulate fucosylation of the two proteins. We propose that they affect the binding of different transcription factors in different tissues, with fucosylation of IgG being regulated by IKZF1 in B-cells and of transferrin by HNF1A in liver.

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