Background: Sarcoidosis (OMIM 181000) is a multi-systemic granulomatous disorder of unknown origin. Despite multiple genome-wide association (GWAS) studies, no major pathogenic pathways have been identified to date. To find out relevant sarcoidosis predisposing genes, we searched for de novo and recessive mutations in 3 young probands with sarcoidosis and their healthy parents using a whole-exome sequencing (WES) methodology.
Methods: From the SARCFAM project based on a national network collecting familial cases of sarcoidosis, we selected three families (trios) in which a child, despite healthy parents, develop the disease before age 15 yr. Each trio was genotyped by WES (Illumina HiSEQ 2500) and we selected the gene variants segregating as 1) new mutations only occurring in affected children and 2) as recessive traits transmitted from each parents. The identified coding variants were compared between the three families. Allelic frequencies and in silico functional results were analyzed using ExAC, SIFT and Polyphenv2 databases. The clinical and genetic studies were registered by the ClinicalTrials.gov - Protocol Registration and Results System (PRS) ( https://clinicaltrials.gov ) receipt under the reference NCT02829853 and has been approved by the ethical committee (CPP LYON SUD EST - 2 - REF IRB 00009118 - September 21, 2016).
Results: We identified 37 genes sharing coding variants occurring either as recessive mutations in at least 2 trios or de novo mutations in one of the three affected children. The genes were classified according to their potential roles in immunity related pathways: 9 to autophagy and intracellular trafficking, 6 to G-proteins regulation, 4 to T-cell activation, 4 to cell cycle and immune synapse, 2 to innate immunity. Ten of the 37 genes were studied in a bibliographic way to evaluate the functional link with sarcoidosis.
Conclusions: Whole exome analysis of case-parent trios is useful for the identification of genes predisposing to complex genetic diseases as sarcoidosis. Our data identified 37 genes that could be putatively linked to a pediatric form of sarcoidosis in three trios. Our in-depth focus on 10 of these 37 genes may suggest that the formation of the characteristic lesion in sarcoidosis, granuloma, results from combined deficits in autophagy and intracellular trafficking (ex: Sec16A, AP5B1 and RREB1), G-proteins regulation (ex: OBSCN, CTTND2 and DNAH11), T-cell activation (ex: IDO2, IGSF3), mitosis and/or immune synapse (ex: SPICE1 and KNL1). The significance of these findings needs to be confirmed by functional tests on selected gene variants.
Keywords: Candidate genes; Sarcoidosis; Whole-exome sequencing (WES).