A chromosome 5q31.1 locus associates with tuberculin skin test reactivity in HIV-positive individuals from tuberculosis hyper-endemic regions in east Africa

Rafal S. Sobota, Vanderbilt University
Catherine M. Stein, Case Western Unviersity
Nuri Kodaman, Vanderbilt University
Isaac Maro, Tokyo Medical and Dental University

Genetics & Heredity


One in three people has been infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), and the risk for MTB infection in HIV-infected individuals is even higher. We hypothesized that HIV-positive individuals living in tuberculosis-endemic regions who do not get infected by Mycobacterium tuberculosis are genetically resistant. Using an "experiment of nature" design that proved successful in our previous work, we performed a genome-wide association study of tuberculin skin test positivity using 469 HIV-positive patients from prospective study cohorts of tuberculosis from Tanzania and Uganda to identify genetic loci associated with MTB infection in the context of HIV-infection. Among these individuals, 244 tested were tuberculin skin test (TST) positive either at enrollment or during the >8 year follow up, while 225 were not. We identified a genome-wide significant association between a dominant model of rs877356 and binary TST status in the combined cohort (Odds ratio = 0.2671, p = 1.22x10(-8)). Association was replicated with similar significance when examining TST induration as a continuous trait. The variant lies in the 5q31.1 region, 57kb downstream from IL9. Two-locus analyses of association of variants near rs877356 showed a haplotype comprised of rs877356 and an IL9 missense variant, rs2069885, had the most significant association (p = 1.59x10(-12)). We also replicated previously linked loci on chromosomes 2, 5, and 11. IL9 is a cytokine produced by mast cells and T(H)2 cells during inflammatory responses, providing a possible link between airway inflammation and protection from MTB infection. Our results indicate that studying uninfected, HIV-positive participants with extensive exposure increases the power to detect associations in complex infectious disease.