Genome-wide association study of self-reported food reactions in Japanese identifies shrimp and peach specific loci in the HLA-DR/DQ gene region

Sci Rep. 2018 Jan 18;8(1):1069. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-18241-w.


Food allergy is an increasingly important health problem in the world. Several genome-wide association studies (GWAS) focused on European ancestry samples have identified food allergy-specific loci in the HLA class II region. We conducted GWAS of self-reported reactivity with common foods using the data from 11011 Japanese women and identified shrimp and peach allergy-specific loci in the HLA-DR/DQ gene region tagged by rs74995702 (P = 6.30 × 10-17, OR = 1.91) and rs28359884 (P = 2.3 × 10-12, OR = 1.80), respectively. After HLA imputation using a Japanese population-specific reference, the most strongly associated haplotype was HLA-DRB1*04:05-HLA-DQB1*04:01 for shrimp allergy (P = 3.92 × 10-19, OR = 1.99) and HLA-DRB1*09:01-HLA-DQB1*03:03 for peach allergy (P = 1.15 × 10-7, OR = 1.68). Additionally, both allergies' associated variants were eQTLs for several HLA genes, with HLA-DQA2 the single eQTL gene shared between the two traits. Our study suggests that allergy to certain foods may be related to genetic differences that tag both HLA alleles having particular epitope binding specificities as well as variants modulating expression of particular HLA genes. Investigating this further could increase our understanding of food allergy aetiology and potentially lead to better therapeutic strategies for allergen immunotherapies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alleles*
  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Anostraca / immunology
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Cross Reactions / genetics
  • Cross Reactions / immunology
  • Epitopes / immunology*
  • Female
  • Food Hypersensitivity / diagnosis
  • Food Hypersensitivity / genetics*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genome-Wide Association Study*
  • HLA-DQ Antigens / genetics*
  • HLA-DR Antigens / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Prunus persica / adverse effects
  • Self Report


  • Allergens
  • Epitopes
  • HLA-DQ Antigens
  • HLA-DR Antigens