Exploring the CLEC16A gene reveals a MS-associated variant with correlation to the relative expression of CLEC16A isoforms in thymus

Genes Immun. 2011 Apr;12(3):191-8. doi: 10.1038/gene.2010.59. Epub 2010 Dec 23.


Genomewide association studies have implicated the CLEC16A gene in several autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS) and type 1 diabetes. However, the most associated single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) varies, and causal variants are still to be defined. In MS, two SNPs in partial linkage disequilibrium with each other, rs6498169 and rs12708716, have been validated at genomewide significance level. To explore the CLEC16A association in MS in more detail, we genotyped 57 SNPs in 807 Norwegian MS patients and 1027 Norwegian controls. Six highly associated SNPs emerged and were then replicated in two large independent sample sets (Norwegian and British), together including 1153 MS trios, 2308 MS patients and 4044 healthy controls. In combined analyses, SNP rs12708716 gave the strongest association signal in MS (P=5.3 x 10⁻⁸, odds ratio 1.18, 95% confidence interval=1.11-1.25), and was found to be superior to the other SNP associations in conditional logistic regression analyses. Expression analysis revealed that rs12708716 genotype was significantly associated with the relative expression levels of two different CLEC16A transcripts in thymus (P=0.004), but not in blood, possibly implying a thymus- or cell-specific splice regulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alleles
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Lectins, C-Type / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Thymus Gland / metabolism*
  • Young Adult


  • CLEC16A protein, human
  • Lectins, C-Type
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • Protein Isoforms