A multi-ancestry GWAS of Fuchs corneal dystrophy highlights the contributions of laminins, collagen, and endothelial cell regulation

VA Million Veteran Program

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) is a leading indication for corneal transplantation, but its molecular etiology remains poorly understood. We performed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of FECD in the Million Veteran Program followed by multi-ancestry meta-analysis with the previous largest FECD GWAS, for a total of 3970 cases and 333,794 controls. We confirm the previous four loci, and identify eight novel loci: SSBP3, THSD7A, LAMB1, PIDD1, RORA, HS3ST3B1, LAMA5, and COL18A1. We further confirm the TCF4 locus in GWAS for admixed African and Hispanic/Latino ancestries and show an enrichment of European-ancestry haplotypes at TCF4 in FECD cases. Among the novel associations are low frequency missense variants in laminin genes LAMA5 and LAMB1 which, together with previously reported LAMC1, form laminin-511 (LM511). AlphaFold 2 protein modeling, validated through homology, suggests that mutations at LAMA5 and LAMB1 may destabilize LM511 by altering inter-domain interactions or extracellular matrix binding. Finally, phenome-wide association scans and colocalization analyses suggest that the TCF4 CTG18.1 trinucleotide repeat expansion leads to dysregulation of ion transport in the corneal endothelium and has pleiotropic effects on renal function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418
Number of pages1
JournalCommunications Biology
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 6 Apr 2024
Externally publishedYes

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