Cell Type Specificity of Intralocus Interactions Reveals Oligodendrocyte Intrinsic Mechanisms For Multiple Sclerosis
37 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2019 Sneak Peek Status: Review CompleteMore...
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease characterized by attack on oligodendrocytes within the central nervous system (CNS). Despite widespread use of immunomodulatory therapies, patients face progressive disability due to failure of myelin regeneration and loss of neurons, suggesting additional cellular pathologies. Here, we describe a general approach for identifying specific cell types in which a disease allele exerts a pathogenic effect. Applying this approach to MS risk loci, we pinpoint likely pathogenic cell types for 70%. In addition to T cell loci, we unexpectedly identified myeloid and CNS-specific risk loci, including two sites that dysregulate transcriptional pause release in oligodendrocytes. Functional studies demonstrated inhibition of transcriptional elongation is a dominant pathway blocking oligodendrocyte maturation. Furthermore, pause release factors are frequently dysregulated in MS brain tissue and are associated with white matter microstructure. These data implicate cell-intrinsic aberrations outside of the immune system and suggest new avenues for therapeutic development.
Keywords: genetics, Multiple sclerosis, oligodendrocytes, GWAS, dissecting risk loci, computational methods, statistical genetics
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