A missense variant in SHARPIN mediates Alzheimer's disease-specific brain damages

Transl Psychiatry. 2021 Nov 16;11(1):590. doi: 10.1038/s41398-021-01680-5.


Established genetic risk factors for Alzheimer's disease (AD) account for only a portion of AD heritability. The aim of this study was to identify novel associations between genetic variants and AD-specific brain atrophy. We conducted genome-wide association studies for brain magnetic resonance imaging measures of hippocampal volume and entorhinal cortical thickness in 2643 Koreans meeting the clinical criteria for AD (n = 209), mild cognitive impairment (n = 1449) or normal cognition (n = 985). A missense variant, rs77359862 (R274W), in the SHANK-associated RH Domain Interactor (SHARPIN) gene was associated with entorhinal cortical thickness (p = 5.0 × 10-9) and hippocampal volume (p = 5.1 × 10-12). It revealed an increased risk of developing AD in the mediation analyses. This variant was also associated with amyloid-β accumulation (p = 0.03) and measures of memory (p = 1.0 × 10-4) and executive function (p = 0.04). We also found significant association of other SHARPIN variants with hippocampal volume in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (rs3417062, p = 4.1 × 10-6) and AddNeuroMed (rs138412600, p = 5.9 × 10-5) cohorts. Further, molecular dynamics simulations and co-immunoprecipitation indicated that the variant significantly reduced the binding of linear ubiquitination assembly complex proteins, SHPARIN and HOIL-1 Interacting Protein (HOIP), altering the downstream NF-κB signaling pathway. These findings suggest that SHARPIN plays an important role in the pathogenesis of AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease* / diagnostic imaging
  • Alzheimer Disease* / genetics
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / genetics
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Ubiquitins


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • SHARPIN protein, human
  • Ubiquitins
  • sharpin