Genomic Multiple Sclerosis Risk Variants Modulate the Expression of the ANKRD55- IL6ST Gene Region in Immature Dendritic Cells

Front Immunol. 2022 Jan 17;12:816930. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.816930. eCollection 2021.


Intronic single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the ANKRD55 gene are associated with the risk for multiple sclerosis (MS) and rheumatoid arthritis by genome-wide association studies (GWAS). The risk alleles have been linked to higher expression levels of ANKRD55 and the neighboring IL6ST (gp130) gene in CD4+ T lymphocytes of healthy controls. The biological function of ANKRD55, its role in the immune system, and cellular sources of expression other than lymphocytes remain uncharacterized. Here, we show that monocytes gain capacity to express ANKRD55 during differentiation in immature monocyte-derived dendritic cells (moDCs) in the presence of interleukin (IL)-4/granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). ANKRD55 expression levels are further enhanced by retinoic acid agonist AM580 but downregulated following maturation with interferon (IFN)-γ and lipopolysaccharide (LPS). ANKRD55 was detected in the nucleus of moDC in nuclear speckles. We also analyzed the adjacent IL6ST, IL31RA, and SLC38A9 genes. Of note, in healthy controls, MS risk SNP genotype influenced ANKRD55 and IL6ST expression in immature moDC in opposite directions to that in CD4+ T cells. This effect was stronger for a partially correlated SNP, rs13186299, that is located, similar to the main MS risk SNPs, in an ANKRD55 intron. Upon analysis in MS patients, the main GWAS MS risk SNP rs7731626 was associated with ANKRD55 expression levels in CD4+ T cells. MoDC-specific ANKRD55 and IL6ST mRNA levels showed significant differences according to the clinical form of the disease, but, in contrast to healthy controls, were not influenced by genotype. We also measured serum sgp130 levels, which were found to be higher in homozygotes of the protective allele of rs7731626. Our study characterizes ANKRD55 expression in moDC and indicates monocyte-to-dendritic cell (Mo-DC) differentiation as a process potentially influenced by MS risk SNPs.

Keywords: ANKRD55; IL6ST; autoimmune; multiple sclerosis; sgp130.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Autoimmunity / genetics
  • Benzoates / pharmacology
  • Biomarkers
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Cytokine Receptor gp130 / genetics*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Multiple Sclerosis / etiology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / metabolism*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Tetrahydronaphthalenes / pharmacology


  • ANKRD55 protein, human
  • Benzoates
  • Biomarkers
  • Carrier Proteins
  • IL6ST protein, human
  • Tetrahydronaphthalenes
  • Am 580
  • Cytokine Receptor gp130