Vibrio cholerae causes a dehydrating diarrheal illness that can be rapidly fatal in the absence of specific treatment. The organism is an historic scourge and, like similar infectious diseases, may have influenced the evolution of the human genome. We report here the results of the first candidate gene association study of cholera. In a family-based study of 76 pedigrees from Dhaka, Bangladesh, we evaluated the association between cholera and five candidate genes-the cystic fibrosis transmembrane receptor; lactoferrin; long palate, lung and nasal epithelium clone 1 (LPLUNC1); estrogen-related receptor alpha and calcium-activated chloride channel 1. We found a significant association with a marker in the promoter region of LPLUNC1 (rs11906665), a member of a family of evolutionarily conserved innate immunity proteins. An earlier microarray-based study of duodenal biopsies showed significantly increased expression of LPLUNC1 in cholera patients compared with healthy control subjects. Our results suggest that variation in host innate immune responses may influence the outcome of exposure to V. cholerae in an endemic setting.
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