A genome-wide association study of host genetic determinants of the antibody response to Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed

Nicholas M. Pajewski, Sadeep Shrestha, Conrad P. Quinn, Scott D. Parker, Howard Wiener, Brahim Aissani, Brett A. McKinney, Gregory A. Poland, Jeffrey C. Edberg, Robert P. Kimberly, Jianming Tang, Richard A. Kaslow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Several lines of evidence have supported a host genetic contribution to vaccine response, but genome-wide assessments for specific determinants have been sparse. Here we describe a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of protective antigen-specific antibody (AbPA) responses among 726 European-Americans who received Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed (AVA) as part of a clinical trial. After quality control, 736,996 SNPs were tested for association with the AbPA response to 3 or 4 AVA vaccinations given over a 6-month period. No SNP achieved the threshold of genome-wide significance (p=5×10 -8), but suggestive associations (p<1×10 -5) were observed for SNPs in or near the class II region of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), in the promoter region of SPSB1, and adjacent to MEX3C. Multivariable regression modeling suggested that much of the association signal within the MHC corresponded to previously identified HLA DR-DQ haplotypes involving component HLA-DRB1 alleles of *15:01, *01:01, or *01:02. We estimated the proportion of additive genetic variance explained by common SNP variation for the AbPA response after the 6 month vaccination. This analysis indicated a significant, albeit imprecisely estimated, contribution of variation tagged by common polymorphisms (p=0.032). Future studies will be required to replicate these findings in European Americans and to further elucidate the host genetic factors underlying variable immune response to AVA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4778-4784
Number of pages7
Issue number32
StatePublished - Jul 6 2012


  • Anthrax vaccines
  • Bacillus anthracis
  • Bacterial vaccines
  • Genome-wide association study
  • Vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Veterinary
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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