Background & Aims: Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) is a chronic and cholestatic liver disease that eventually leads to cirrhosis and hepatic failure. We recently identified several susceptibility genes included NFKB1 and MANBA for PBC in the Japanese population by genome-wide association study. However, the primary functional variants in the NFKB1/MANBA region and the molecular mechanism for conferring disease susceptibility to PBC have not yet been clarified. Methods: We performed high-density association mapping based on a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) imputation analysis, using data from a whole-genome sequence reference panel of 1070 Japanese individuals and the previous genome-wide association study (1389 PBC patients, 1508 healthy controls). Among SNPs (P < 5.0 × 10 -7 ) in the NFKB1/MANBA region, putative primary functional variants and the molecular mechanism for conferring disease susceptibility to PBC were identified by in silico/in vitro functional analysis. Results: Among the SNPs in the NFKB1/MANBA region, rs17032850 and rs227361, which changed the binding of transcription factors lymphoid enhancer-binding factor 1 (LEF-1) and retinoid X receptor α (RXRα), respectively, were identified as putative primary functional variants that regulate gene expression. In addition, expression-quantitative trait locus data and gene editing using a clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/Cas9 system supported the potential role of rs17032850 and rs227361 in regulating NFKB1 and MANBA expression, respectively. Conclusions: We identified independent putative primary functional variants in NFKB1/MANBA and showed the distinct molecular mechanism by which each putative primary functional variant conferred susceptibility to PBC. Our approach was useful to dissect the pathogenesis not only of PBC, but also other digestive diseases in which NFKB1/MANBA has been reported as a susceptibility locus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas