Targeted deep sequencing identifies rare loss-of-function variants in IFNGR1 for risk of atopic dermatitis complicated by eczema herpeticum

Li Gao, Lianghua Bin, Nicholas M. Rafaels, Lili Huang, Joseph Potee, Ingo Ruczinski, Terri H. Beaty, Amy S. Paller, Lynda C. Schneider, Rich Gallo, Jon M. Hanifin, Lisa A. Beck, Raif S. Geha, Rasika A. Mathias, Kathleen C. Barnes, Donald Y.M. Leung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Background A subset of atopic dermatitis is associated with increased susceptibility to eczema herpeticum (ADEH+). We previously reported that common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the IFN-γ (IFNG) and IFN-γ receptor 1 (IFNGR1) genes were associated with the ADEH+ phenotype. Objective We sought to interrogate the role of rare variants in interferon pathway genes for the risk of ADEH+. Methods We performed targeted sequencing of interferon pathway genes (IFNG, IFNGR1, IFNAR1, and IL12RB1) in 228 European American patients with AD selected according to their eczema herpeticum status, and severity was measured by using the Eczema Area and Severity Index. Replication genotyping was performed in independent samples of 219 European American and 333 African American subjects. Functional investigation of loss-of-function variants was conducted by using site-directed mutagenesis. Results We identified 494 single nucleotide variants encompassing 105 kb of sequence, including 145 common, 349 (70.6%) rare (minor allele frequency <5%), and 86 (17.4%) novel variants, of which 2.8% were coding synonymous, 93.3% were noncoding (64.6% intronic), and 3.8% were missense. We identified 6 rare IFNGR1 missense variants, including 3 damaging variants (Val14Met [V14M], Val61Ile, and Tyr397Cys [Y397C]) conferring a higher risk for ADEH+ (P =.031). Variants V14M and Y397C were confirmed to be deleterious, leading to partial IFNGR1 deficiency. Seven common IFNGR1 SNPs, along with common protective haplotypes (2-7 SNPs), conferred a reduced risk of ADEH+ (P =.015-.002 and P =.0015-.0004, respectively), and both SNP and haplotype associations were replicated in an independent African American sample (P =.004-.0001 and P =.001-.0001, respectively). Conclusion Our results provide evidence that both genetic variants in the gene encoding IFNGR1 are implicated in susceptibility to the ADEH+ phenotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1591-1600
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • IFNGR1
  • atopic dermatitis
  • eczema herpeticum
  • genetic variants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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