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Genome-wide association and functional analyses identify CASC20 and KIF26B as target loci in heterotopic ossification

By Konstantinos Hatzikotoulas, George AE Pickering, Matthew J Clark, Favour Felix-Ilemhenbhio, Klaudia Kocsy, Jonathan Simpson, Scott J MacInnes, Mine Koprulu, Lorraine Southam, Ilaria Bellantuono, Kajus Baid┼żajevas, David A. Young, Alison Gartland, Eleftheria Zeggini, Endre Kiss-Toth, J Mark Wilkinson

Posted 21 Nov 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/845958

Heterotopic ossification (HO) is bone formation that occurs after trauma within tissues that do not normally have the property of ossification, resulting in pain and disability. The genetic architecture of HO remains unclear. In the first genome-wide association studies of this disease, we identify the human-only long non-coding RNA-encoding gene CASC20 as a robust, replicating susceptibility locus for HO and KIF26B as a potential severity locus. We find that both CASC20 and KIF26B are expressed in human bone. Both CASC20 and KIF26B expression is upregulated upon BMP2 induced osteogenic differentiation in primary human mesenchymal stem cells, followed by RUNX2 and OSTERIX upregulation and mineralised nodule formation. A CRISPR-Cas9 mediated knockout of Kif26b inhibits BMP2-induced Runx2, Sp7/Osterix, Col1A1, Alp, and Bglap/Osteocalcin expression in a murine myocyte model of osteogenic trans-differentiation, and prevents mineralised nodule formation. These studies provide the first insights into the heritable biology of common, complex HO.

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