Fine mapping of the MAPT locus using quantitative trait analysis identifies possible causal variants in alzheimer's disease
School of Biomedical and Sports Science
National Genome Network (NGFN). German Ministry for Education and Research.
Further funding information available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.mp.4001935
In addition to senile plaques, neurofibrillary tangles are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology, suggesting a clear involvement of the microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) in AD. Recent findings, suggesting that the H1c haplotype is associated with increased risk, now also implicate MAPT genetically. In this study, we aim to clarify this association by a fine mapping approach using both a traditional phenotypic association analysis and a quantitative trait (QT) analysis using cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tau protein levels in the German population. Here, we report that both methodologies identify that the H1c haplotype may play important role in AD (AD risk, P=0.007, uncorrected; CSF tau levels, P=0.027, uncorrected). Further, the use of a sliding window approach in the QT analysis allowed for the narrowing down of the region where a probable causal variant may be located. The data suggest that this may lie at or within close proximity to the rs242557 single nucleotide polymorphism as association with CSF tau levels seems to be primarily driven by rs242557 in a gene dosage-dependent manner (trend model: P=0.002, uncorrected). These findings provide functional evidence to support the genetic association of MAPT with AD.