CRISPR/cas9 mediated knockout of an intergenic variant rs6927172 identified IL-20RA as a new risk gene for multiple autoimmune diseases.


The Institute of Epigenetic Medicine, The First Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, China. [Email]


Genetic variants near the tumor necrosis factor-α-induced protein 3 gene (TNFAIP3) at the chromosomal region 6q23 demonstrated significant associations with multiple autoimmune diseases. The signals of associations have been explained to the TNFAIP3 gene, the most likely causal gene. In this study, we employed CRISPR/cas9 genome-editing tool to generate cell lines with deletions including a candidate causal variant, rs6927172, at 140 kb upstream of the TNFAIP3 gene. Interestingly, we observed alterations of multiple genes including IL-20RA encoding a subunit of the receptor for interleukin 20. Using Electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA), Western blotting, and chromatin conformation capture we characterized the molecular mechanism that the DNA element carrying the variant rs6927172 influences expression of IL-20RA and TNFAIP3 genes. Additionally, we developed a new use of the transcription activator-like effector (TALE) to study the role of the variant in regulating expressions of its target genes. In summary, we generated deletion knockouts that included the candidate causal variant rs6927172 in HEK293T cells provided new evidence and mechanism for IL-20RA gene as a risk factor for multiple autoimmune diseases.

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