Genome-wide association analysis identifies variation in vitamin D receptor and other host factors influencing the gut microbiota.

Title of publication: 

Genome-wide association analysis identifies variation in vitamin D receptor and other host factors influencing the gut microbiota.

Authors: 

Wang J, Thingholm LB, Skiecevičienė J, Rausch P, Kummen M, Hov JR, Degenhardt F, Heinsen FA, Rühlemann MC, Szymczak S, Holm K, Esko T, Sun J, Pricop-Jeckstadt M, Al-Dury S, Bohov P, Bethune J, Sommer F, Ellinghaus D, Berge RK, Hübenthal M, Koch M, Schwarz K, Rimbach G, Hübbe P, Pan WH, Sheibani-Tezerji R, Häsler R, Rosenstiel P, D'Amato M, Cloppenborg-Schmidt K, Künzel S, Laudes M, Marschall HU, Lieb W, Nöthlings U, Karlsen TH, Baines JF, Franke A.

Year of Publication: 

2016

medium resp. publishing house / place: 

Nat Genet.

edition / issue: 

Nov;48(11)

Pages: 

1396-1406

related to project: 

Human gut microbiota is an important determinant for health and disease, and recent studies emphasize the numerous factors shaping its diversity. Here we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of the gut microbiota using two cohorts from northern Germany totaling 1,812 individuals. Comprehensively controlling for diet and non-genetic parameters, we identify genome-wide significant associations for overall microbial variation and individual taxa at multiple genetic loci, including the VDR gene (encoding vitamin D receptor). We observe significant shifts in the microbiota of Vdr-/- mice relative to control mice and correlations between the microbiota and serum measurements of selected bile and fatty acids in humans, including known ligands and downstream metabolites of VDR. Genome-wide significant (P < 5 × 10-8) associations at multiple additional loci identify other important points of host-microbe intersection, notably several disease susceptibility genes and sterol metabolism pathway components. Non-genetic and genetic factors each account for approximately 10% of the variation in gut microbiota, whereby individual effects are relatively small.