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Keywords:

  • EIF2AK3;
  • POLYMORPHISMS;
  • HAPLOTYPE;
  • ER STRESS;
  • BONE MINERAL DENSITY;
  • OSTEOPOROSIS

Abstract

EIF2AK3 is a type I transmembrane protein that functions as an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress sensor to regulate global protein synthesis. Rare mutations in EIF2AK3 cause Wolcott-Rallison syndrome (OMIM 226980), an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by diabetes, epiphyseal dysplasia, osteoporosis, and growth retardation. To investigate the role of common genetic variation in EIF2AK3 as a determinant of bone mineral density (BMD) and osteoporosis, we sequenced all exons and flanking regions, then genotyped six potentially functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in this gene in 997 Amish subjects for association analysis, and attempted replication in 887 Mexican Americans. We found that the minor allele of a nonsynonymous SNP rs13045 had borderline associations with decreased forearm BMD in both discovery and replication cohorts (unadjusted p = 0.036 and β = − 0.007 for the Amish; unadjusted p = 0.031 and β = − 0.008 for Mexican Americans). A meta-analysis indicated this association achieved statistical significance in the combined sample (unadjusted p = 0.003; Bonferroni corrected p = 0.009). Rs13045 and three other potentially functional SNPs, a promoter SNP (rs6547787) and two nonsynonymous SNPs (rs867529 and rs1805165), formed two haplotypes: a low-BMD associated haplotype, denoted haplotype B [minor allele frequency (MAF) = 0.311] and a common haplotype A (MAF = 0.676). There were no differences in mRNA expression in lymphoblastoid cell lines between the two haplotypes. However, after treating lymphoblastoid cell lines with thapsigargin to induce ER stress, cell lines with haplotype B showed increased sensitivity to ER stress (p = 0.014) compared with cell lines with haplotype A. Taken together, our results suggest that common nonsynonymous sequence variants in EIF2AK3 have a modest effect on ER stress response and may contribute to the risk for low BMD through this mechanism. © 2012 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research