Protein-protein interaction analysis highlights additional loci of interest for MS

To date, the strongest genetic association in MS is located within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II region. In this study they carried out a protein-protein interaction analysis of gene products coded in loci recently reported to be MS associated at the genome-wide significance level and in loci suggestive of MS association.

Using a program that looks for significant protein-protein interactions reported in the scientific literature they showed that gene products coded in loci strongly associated with MS risk substantially interact with each other, and with gene products coded in loci suggestive of MS association. Both direct and indirect interactions were significantly higher than what would be expected by chance only. The number of genes involved in the network was 43, of which 23 were located in suggestive regions. They looked at the expression of these genes in different tissue types and found the highest values among immune-mediated cells when compared to non-immune tissues.

Overall, this suggests that at least some of the loci suggestive of MS association interact with and have similar function as those significantly associated. This shows us that more common variants remain to be found to be associated to MS.

Ragnedda G, Disanto G, Giovannoni G

PLoS One. 2012;7(10):e46730. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046730. Epub 2012 Oct 18.

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