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Characterising the genetic basis of immune response variation to identify causal mechanisms underlying disease susceptibility

Abstract : Over the last 10 years, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified hundreds of susceptibility loci for autoimmune diseases. However, despite increasing power for the detection of both common and rare coding variants affecting disease susceptibility, a large fraction of disease heritability has remained unexplained. In addition, a majority of the identified loci are located in noncoding regions, and translation of disease-associated loci into new biological insights on the etiology of immune disorders has been lagging. This highlights the need for a better understanding of noncoding variation and new strategies to identify causal genes at disease loci. In this review, I will first detail the molecular basis of gene expression and review the various mechanisms that contribute to alter gene activity at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional level. I will then review the findings from 10 years of functional genomics studies regarding the genetics on gene expression, in particular in the context of infection. Finally, I will discuss the extent to which genetic variants that modulate gene expression at transcriptional and post-transcriptional level contribute to disease susceptibility and present strategies to leverage this information for the identification of causal mechanisms at disease loci in the era of whole genome sequencing.
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Maxime Rotival. Characterising the genetic basis of immune response variation to identify causal mechanisms underlying disease susceptibility. Hla, 2019, 94 (3), pp.275-284. ⟨10.1111/tan.13598⟩. ⟨pasteur-02868915⟩

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