IFNL4 and IFNL3 associated polymorphisms strongly influence the spontaneous IFN-alpha receptor-1 expression in HCV-infected patients

Licia Bordi, Claudia Caglioti, Anna Rosa Garbuglia, Daniele Lapa, Concetta Castilletti, Chiara Taibi, Maria Rosaria Capobianchi, Eleonora Lalle
PloS One 2015, 10 (2): e0117397
Single-nucleotide polymorphism in IFNL3 gene (rs12979860) predicts spontaneous and therapy-induced HCV clearance. In a previous study from our group PBMC from patients with favourable rs12979860 genotype showed higher levels of IFNAR-1 mRNA. Recently, a dinucleotide polymorphism, ss469415590 (TT or ΔG), has been discovered in the region upstream IFNL3 gene, which is in high linkage disequilibrium with rs12979860. ss469415590[ΔG] is a frameshift variant that creates a novel gene, designed IFNL4, encoding the interferon-lambda 4 protein (IFNL4). The aim of the present study was to extend the analysis of IFNAR-1 mRNA levels to the ss469415590 variants. Our results highlight that the difference of IFNAR-1 mRNA levels between favourable and unfavourable genotype combinations, at both rs12979860 and ss469415590 loci, is stronger than that observed for single polymorphisms at each locus. These findings suggest may represent the biological basis for the observed association between IFNL3 CC and IFNL4 TT/TT genotypes and favourable outcome of either natural HCV infection (clearance vs chronic evolution) or IFN-based therapy.

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