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Genome-wide association study of cryptosporidiosis in infants implicates PRKCA

By Genevieve L Wojcik, Poonum Korpe, Chelsea Marie, Josyf Mychaleckyj, Beth D. Kirkpatrick, Stephen S. Rich, Patrick Concannon, A S G Faruque, Rashidul Haque, William Petri, Priya Duggal

Posted 25 Oct 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/819052 (published DOI: 10.1128/mBio.03343-19)

Diarrhea is a major cause of both morbidity and mortality worldwide, especially among young children. Cryptosporidiosis is a leading cause of diarrhea in children, particularly in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa where it is responsible for over 200,000 deaths per year. Beyond the initial clinical presentation of diarrhea, it is associated with long term sequelae such as malnutrition and neurocognitive developmental deficits. Risk factors include poverty and overcrowding, yet not all children with these risk factors and exposure are infected, nor do all infected children develop symptomatic disease. One potential risk factor to explain these differences is their human genome. To identify genetic variants associated with symptomatic cryptosporidiosis, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) examining 6.5 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 873 children from three independent cohorts in Dhaka, Bangladesh: the Dhaka Birth Cohort (DBC), the Performance of Rotavirus and Oral Polio Vaccines in Developing Countries (PROVIDE) study, and the Cryptosporidiosis Birth Cohort (CBC). Associations were estimated separately for each cohort under an additive model, adjusting for height-for-age Z-score at 12 months of age, the first two principal components to account for population substructure, and genotyping batch. The strongest meta-analytic association was with rs58296998 (P=3.73x10-8), an intronic SNP and eQTL of PRKCA . Each additional risk allele conferred 2.4 times the odds of cryptosporidiosis in the first year of life. This genetic association suggests a role for protein kinase C alpha in pediatric cryptosporidiosis and warrants further investigation.

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