UMass Chan Medical School Faculty Publications

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Department of Microbiology and Physiological Systems; Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology

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Article Preprint


Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins | Bacterial Infections and Mycoses | Immunity | Immunology of Infectious Disease | Immunopathology | Infectious Disease | Microbiology


Rationale: The major human genes regulating M. tuberculosis (Mtb)-induced immune responses and tuberculosis (TB) susceptibility are poorly understood. Although IL-12 and IL-10 are critical for TB pathogenesis, the genetic factors that regulate their expression are unknown. CNBP, REL, and BHLHE40 are master regulators of IL-12 and IL-10 signaling.

Objectives: To determine whether common human genetic variation in CNBP, REL and BHLHE40 is associated with IL-12 and IL-10 expression, adaptive immune responses to mycobacteria, and susceptibility to TB.

Methods and Main Measurements: We characterized the association between common variants in CNBP, REL, and BHLHE40 and innate immune responses in dendritic cells and monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM), BCG-specific T cell responses, and susceptibility to pediatric and adult TB.

Results: SNP BHLHE40 rs4496464 was associated with increased BHLHE40 expression in MDMs and increased IL-10 from both peripheral blood dendritic cells and MDMs after LPS and TB whole cell lysate stimulation. SNP BHLHE40 rs11130215, in linkage disequilibrium with rs4496464, was associated with increased BCG-specific IL2+CD4+ T cell responses and decreased risk for pediatric TB in South Africa. SNPs REL rs842634 and CNBP rs11709852 were associated with increased IL-12 production from dendritic cells, and SNP REL rs842618, in linkage disequilibrium with rs842634, was associated with increased risk for TB meningitis.

Conclusions: Genetic variation in CNBP, REL, and BHLHE40 is associated with IL-12 and IL-10 cytokine response and TB clinical outcomes. Common human genetic regulation of well-defined intermediate cellular traits provides insights into mechanisms of TB pathogenesis.


Infectious Diseases, CNBP, REL, BHLHE40, dendritic cells, genetics, M. tuberculosis

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medRxiv 2021.03.03.21252797; doi: Link to preprint on medRxiv.


This article is a preprint. Preprints are preliminary reports of work that have not been certified by peer review.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.