Genetic analyses identify GSDMB associated with asthma severity, exacerbations, and antiviral pathways

NHLBI Severe Asthma Research Program (SARP)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Background: The Chr17q12-21.2 region is the strongest and most consistently associated region with asthma susceptibility. The functional genes or single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are not obvious due to linkage disequilibrium. Objectives: We sought to comprehensively investigate whole-genome sequence and RNA sequence from human bronchial epithelial cells to dissect functional genes/SNPs for asthma severity in the Severe Asthma Research Program. Methods: Expression quantitative trait loci analysis (n = 114), correlation analysis (n = 156) of gene expression and asthma phenotypes, and pathway analysis were performed in bronchial epithelial cells and replicated. Genetic association for asthma severity (426 severe vs 531 nonsevere asthma) and longitudinal asthma exacerbations (n = 273) was performed. Results: Multiple SNPs in gasdermin B (GSDMB) associated with asthma severity (odds ratio, >1.25) and longitudinal asthma exacerbations (P < .05). Expression quantitative trait loci analyses identified multiple SNPs associated with expression levels of post-GPI attachment to proteins 3, GSDMB, or gasdermin A (3.1 × 10−9 < P < 1.8 × 10−4). Higher expression levels of GSDMB correlated with asthma and greater number of exacerbations (P < .05). Expression levels of GSDMB correlated with genes involved in IFN signaling, MHC class I antigen presentation, and immune system pathways (false-discovery rate–adjusted P < .05). rs1031458 and rs3902920 in GSDMB colocalized with IFN regulatory factor binding sites and associated with GSDMB expression, asthma severity, and asthma exacerbations (P < .05). Conclusions: By using a unique set of gene expression data from lung cells obtained using bronchoscopy from comprehensively characterized subjects with asthma, we show that SNPs in GSDMB associated with asthma severity, exacerbations, and GSDMB expression levels. Furthermore, its expression levels correlated with asthma exacerbations and antiviral pathways. Thus, GSDMB is a functional gene for both asthma susceptibility and severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)894-909
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Antiviral pathways
  • PGAP3
  • RNAseq
  • asthma exacerbations
  • asthma severity
  • eQTL
  • genetics
  • whole-genome sequence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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