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Replication study confirms the association between UBAC2 and Behçet's disease in two independent Chinese sets of patients and controls

Shengping Hou12, Qinmeng Shu12, Zhengxuan Jiang12, Yuanyuan Chen12, Fuzhen Li23, Feilan Chen12, Aize Kijlstra4 and Peizeng Yang12*

Author Affiliations

1 The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Youyi Road 1, Chongqing, 400016, P. R. China

2 Chongqing Eye Institute, Chongqing Key Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Chongqing, PR China

3 Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, PR China

4 Eye Research Institute Maastricht, Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2012, 14:R70  doi:10.1186/ar3789

Published: 29 March 2012



The purpose of this study was to replicate genetic factors associated with the susceptibility to Behçet's disease (BD). We conducted a two-stage candidate genes association and functional study, involving 477 BD patients and 1,334 normal controls of Chinese Han descent.


The genotyping of five candidate genes/loci, including LOC100129342, KIAA1529, CPVL, UBASH3B and UBAC2, were performed using TaqMan single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) assays. Real-time PCR and luciferase reporter assay were performed to test the function of the identified promoter polymorphism. The main outcome measures were genotype frequencies and expression levels in BD patients.


The first-stage study results showed that UBAC2 (rs9513584, Pc = 0.018, OR = 1.4), but not LOC100129342, KIAA1529, CPVL, UBASH3B was associated with the susceptibility to BD in Chinese Han. The fine-mapping association study of UBAC2 identified six risk SNPs for BD in the Chinese cohort; three of them were verified in validation study (rs3825427, first-stage Pc = 2.2 × 10-3, second-stage Pc = 9.3 × 10-3, combined Pc = 6.9 × 10-6; rs9517668, first-stage Pc = 1.7 × 10-3, second-stage Pc = 0.03, combined Pc = 3.3 × 10-4; rs9517701, first-stage Pc = 5.1 × 10-3, second-stage Pc = 9.0 × 10-3, combined Pc = 2.9 × 10-5; respectively). Functional analysis showed that the risk T allele of the promoter polymorphism rs3825427 had a significantly lower promoter activity than the non-risk G allele (P = 0.002) and a decreased expression of UBAC2 transcript variant 1 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and skin of normal controls carrying the risk T allele than that in individuals with the G allele (P = 0.045, P = 0.025; respectively). The mRNA expression of UBAC2 transcript variant 1 was significantly decreased in PBMCs and skin of BD patients as compared with controls (P = 0.025; P = 0.047, respectively). The mRNA expression of UBAC2 transcript variant 2 was significantly increased in skin of BD patients as compared with controls (P = 0.004).


This study replicates a predisposition gene to BD, UBAC2, and suggests that UBAC2 may be involved in the development of BD through its transcriptional modulation.