Food allergy is a significant public health concern, especially among children. Previous candidate gene studies suggested a few susceptibility loci for food allergy, but no study investigated the contribution of copy number variations (CNVs) to food allergy on a genome-wide scale. To investigate the genetics of food allergy, we performed CNVassessment using high-resolution genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism arrays. CNV calls from a total of 357 cases with confirmed food allergy and 3980 controls were analyzed within a discovery cohort, followed by a replication analysis composed of 167 cases and 1573 controls. We identified that CNVs in CTNNA3 were significantly associated with food allergy in both the discovery cohort and the replication cohort. Of particular interest, CTNNA3 CNVs hit exons or intron regions rich in histone marker H3K4Me1. CNVs in a second gene (RBFOX1) showed a significant association (p = 7.35 3 1025) with food allergy at the genome-wide level in our meta-analysis of the European ancestry cohorts. The presence of these CNVs was confirmed by quantitative PCR. Furthermore, knockdown of CTNNA3 resulted in upregulation of CD63 and CD203c in mononuclear cells upon PMA stimulation, suggesting a role in sensitization to allergen. We uncovered at least two plausible genes harboring CNV loci that are enriched in pediatric patients with food allergies. The novel gene candidates discovered in this study by genome-wide CNV analysis are compelling drug and diagnostic targets for food allergy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy