A regulatory variant at 19p13.3 is associated with primary biliary cholangitis risk and ARID3A expression

Nat Commun. 2023 Mar 28;14(1):1732. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-37213-5.


Genome-wide association studies have identified 19p13.3 locus associated with primary biliary cholangitis (PBC). Here we aim to identify causative variant(s) and initiate efforts to define the mechanism by which the 19p13.3 locus variant(s) contributes to the pathogenesis of PBC. A genome-wide meta-analysis of 1931 PBC subjects and 7852 controls in two Han Chinese cohorts confirms the strong association between 19p13.3 locus and PBC. By integrating functional annotations, luciferase reporter assay and allele-specific chromatin immunoprecipitation, we prioritize rs2238574, an AT-Rich Interaction Domain 3A (ARID3A) intronic variant, as a potential causal variant at 19p13.3 locus. The risk allele of rs2238574 shows higher binding affinity of transcription factors, leading to an increased enhancer activity in myeloid cells. Genome-editing demonstrates the regulatory effect of rs2238574 on ARID3A expression through allele-specific enhancer activity. Furthermore, knock-down of ARID3A inhibits myeloid differentiation and activation pathway, and overexpression of the gene has the opposite effect. Finally, we find ARID3A expression and rs2238574 genotypes linked to disease severity in PBC. Our work provides several lines of evidence that a non-coding variant regulates ARID3A expression, presenting a mechanistic basis for association of 19p13.3 locus with the susceptibility to PBC.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary* / genetics
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary* / pathology
  • Transcription Factors / genetics


  • Transcription Factors
  • ARID3A protein, human
  • DNA-Binding Proteins