Copy number variations in CTNNA3 and RBFOX1 associate with pediatric food allergy

Jin Li, Irene Fung, Joseph T. Glessner, Rahul Pandey, Zhi Wei, Marina Bakay, Frank D. Mentch, Renata Pellegrino, Tiancheng Wang, Cecilia Kim, Cuiping Hou, Fengxiang Wang, Rosetta M. Chiavacci, Kelly A. Thomas, Jonathan M. Spergel, Hakon Hakonarson, Patrick M.A. Sleiman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1599-1607
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 15 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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