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author:("botella, Lora")
1.  Assessment of Complement C4 Gene Copy Number Using the Paralog Ratio Test 
Human mutation  2010;31(7):866-874.
The complement C4 locus is in the class III region of the MHC, and exhibits copy number variation. Complement C4 null alleles have shown association with a number of diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). However, most studies to date have used protein immunophenotyping and not direct interrogation of the genome to determine C4 null allele status. Moreover, a lack of accurate C4 gene copy number (GCN) estimation and tight linkage disequilibrium across the disease-associated MHC haplotypes has confounded attempts to establish whether or not these associations are causal. We have therefore developed a high through-put paralog ratio test (PRT) in association with two restriction enzyme digest variant ratio tests (REDVRs) to determine total C4 GCN, C4A GCN, and C4B GCN. In the densely genotyped CEU cohort we show that this method is accurate and reproducible when compared to gold standard Southern blot copy number estimation with a discrepancy rate of 9%. We find a broad range of C4 GCNs in the CEU and the 1958 British Birth Cohort populations under study. In addition, SNP-C4 CNV analyses show only moderate levels of correlation and therefore do not support the use of SNP genotypes as proxies for complement C4 GCN.
doi:10.1002/humu.21259
PMCID: PMC3567757  PMID: 20506482
complement C4; CNV; lupus; paralog ratio test
2.  Determination of the Loss of Function Complement C4 Exon 29 CT Insertion Using a Novel Paralog-Specific Assay in Healthy UK and Spanish Populations 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e22128.
Genetic variants resulting in non-expression of complement C4A and C4B genes are common in healthy European populations and have shown association with a number of diseases, most notably the autoimmune disease, systemic lupus erythematosus. The most frequent cause of a C4 “null” allele, following that of C4 gene copy number variation (CNV), is a non-sense mutation arising from a 2 bp CT insertion into codon 1232 of exon 29. Previous attempts to accurately genotype this polymorphism have not been amenable to high-throughput typing, and have been confounded by failure to account for CNV at this locus, as well as by inability to distinguish between paralogs. We have developed a novel, high-throughput, paralog-specific assay to detect the presence and copy number of this polymorphism. We have genotyped healthy cohorts from the United Kingdom (UK) and Spain. Overall, 30/719 (4.17%) individuals from the UK cohort and 8/449 (1.78%) individuals from the Spanish cohort harboured the CT insertion in a C4A gene. A single Spanish individual possessed a C4B CT insertion. There is weak correlation between the C4 CT insertion and flanking MHC polymorphism. Therefore it is important to note that, as with C4 gene CNV, disease-association due to this variant will be missed by current SNP-based genome-wide association strategies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022128
PMCID: PMC3153930  PMID: 21857912
3.  Transancestral mapping of the MHC region in systemic lupus erythematosus identifies new independent and interacting loci at MSH5, HLA-DPB1 and HLA-G 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2012;71(5):777-784.
Objectives
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic multisystem genetically complex autoimmune disease characterised by the production of autoantibodies to nuclear and cellular antigens, tissue inflammation and organ damage. Genome-wide association studies have shown that variants within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region on chromosome 6 confer the greatest genetic risk for SLE in European and Chinese populations. However, the causal variants remain elusive due to tight linkage disequilibrium across disease-associated MHC haplotypes, the highly polymorphic nature of many MHC genes and the heterogeneity of the SLE phenotype.
Methods
A high-density case-control single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) study of the MHC region was undertaken in SLE cohorts of Spanish and Filipino ancestry using a custom Illumina chip in order to fine-map association signals in these haplotypically diverse populations. In addition, comparative analyses were performed between these two datasets and a northern European UK SLE cohort. A total of 1433 cases and 1458 matched controls were examined.
Results
Using this transancestral SNP mapping approach, novel independent loci were identified within the MHC region in UK, Spanish and Filipino patients with SLE with some evidence of interaction. These loci include HLA-DPB1, HLA-G and MSH5 which are independent of each other and HLA-DRB1 alleles. Furthermore, the established SLE-associated HLA-DRB1*15 signal was refined to an interval encompassing HLA-DRB1 and HLA-DQA1. Increased frequencies of MHC region risk alleles and haplotypes were found in the Filipino population compared with Europeans, suggesting that the greater disease burden in non-European SLE may be due in part to this phenomenon.
Conclusion
These data highlight the usefulness of mapping disease susceptibility loci using a transancestral approach, particularly in a region as complex as the MHC, and offer a springboard for further fine-mapping, resequencing and transcriptomic analysis.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2011-200808
PMCID: PMC3329227  PMID: 22233601

Results 1-3 (3)