Objective: To identify a causative variant(s) that may contribute to Alzheimer disease (AD) in African Americans (AA) in the ATP-binding cassette, subfamily A (ABC1), member 7 (ABCA7) gene, a known risk factor for late-onset AD.
Methods: Custom capture sequencing was performed on ∼150 kb encompassing ABCA7 in 40 AA cases and 37 AA controls carrying the AA risk allele (rs115550680). Association testing was performed for an ABCA7 deletion identified in large AA data sets (discovery n = 1,068; replication n = 1,749) and whole exome sequencing of Caribbean Hispanic (CH) AD families.
Results: A 44-base pair deletion (rs142076058) was identified in all 77 risk genotype carriers, which shows that the deletion is in high linkage disequilibrium with the risk allele. The deletion was assessed in a large data set (531 cases and 527 controls) and, after adjustments for age, sex, and APOE status, was significantly associated with disease (p = 0.0002, odds ratio [OR] = 2.13 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.42-3.20]). An independent data set replicated the association (447 cases and 880 controls, p = 0.0117, OR = 1.65 [95% CI: 1.12-2.44]), and joint analysis increased the significance (p = 1.414 × 10(-5), OR = 1.81 [95% CI: 1.38-2.37]). The deletion is common in AA cases (15.2%) and AA controls (9.74%), but in only 0.12% of our non-Hispanic white cohort. Whole exome sequencing of multiplex, CH families identified the deletion cosegregating with disease in a large sibship. The deleted allele produces a stable, detectable RNA strand and is predicted to result in a frameshift mutation (p.Arg578Alafs) that could interfere with protein function.
Conclusions: This common ABCA7 deletion could represent an ethnic-specific pathogenic alteration in AD.