1. Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Guangxi Key Laboratory for the Prevention and Control of Viral Hepatitis, Nanning, Guangxi 530028, China.
2. Center for Genomic and Personalized Medicine, Guangxi Medical University, 22 ShuangYong Road, Nanning, Guangxi 530021, China.
3. Division of Medicine, UCL Medical School, London, UK.
4. School of Preclinical Medicine, Guangxi Medical University, 22 ShuangYong Road, Nanning, Guangxi 530021, China.
# These authors contributed equally to this work.
Background: The basal core promoter (BCP) double mutations (A1762T and G1764A) of hepatitis B virus (HBV) have been reported to be an aetiological factor of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). What distinguishes the subset of HBV carriers in whom these mutations are selected?
Methods: A genome-wide association study (GWAS) was carried out on 218 asymptomatic HBsAg carriers infected with HBV with BCP double mutations and 191 controls infected with HBV with the wild type BCP. The highest ranking nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were validated with other study subjects, 203 cases and 181 controls. The expression of the gene nearest a SNP found to be significant was examined using RT-PCR.
Results: Forty-five candidate SNPs were identified in the GWAS. Three SNPs were found to be associated with the selection of HBV BCP double mutations in the replication stage, including rs7717457 at 5p13.1, rs670011 at 17q21.2, rs2071611 at 6p22.2. Especially, rs7717457 (P= 4.57×10-5 combined P) reached the potential GWAS significance level. The expression of gene complement component 7 (C7), nearest to SNP rs7717457, differed significantly between the case and control groups (t=2.045, P=0.04), suggesting that SNP rs7717457 was associated with the expression of its nearest gene.
Conclusions: SNP rs7717457 is associated with the selection of HBV BCP double mutations, providing an important clue to understanding the mechanisms of oncogenesis of HBV BCP double mutations.
Keywords: Genome-wide association study (GWAS), hepatitis B virus (HBV), basal core promoter (BCP), mutations, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).