The SOST gene encodes sclerostin, a C-terminal cysteine knot-like domain containing key negative regulator of osteoblastic bone formation that inhibits LRP5/6-mediated canonical Wnt signaling. Numerous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the SOST locus are firmly associated with bone mineral density (BMD) and fracture in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and candidate gene association studies. However, the validation and mechanistic elucidation of causal genetic variants, especially for SNPs located beyond the promoter-proximal region, remain largely unresolved. By employing computational and experimental approaches, here we identify four SNPs rs1230399, rs7220711, rs1107748 and rs75901553 as functional variants which display allelic variation in SOST gene expression. The osteoporosis associated SNP rs1230399 in the SOST distal upstream regulatory region shows FOXA1 binding activity with subsequent transinactivation in a T allele-specific manner. The BMD GWAS lead SNPs rs7220711 and rs1107748 both reside in the 52-kb regulatory element deletion 35-kb downstream of the SOST gene which leads to Van Buchem disease. The rs7220711-A has a higher affinity for the transcriptional repressors MAFF or MAFK homodimers than rs7220711-G, while rs1107748 confers C allele specific transcriptional enhancer activity via a CTCF binding element. The variant rs75901553 C>T located in a conserved site of the SOST 3′ UTR abolishes a target binding site for miR-98-5p which is negatively responsive to parathyroid hormone or 17β-estradiol in osteoblastic cell lines. Our findings uncover the biological consequences of four independent genetic variants in the SOST region and their important roles in SOST expression via diverse mechanisms, providing new insights into the genetics and molecular pathogenesis of osteoporosis.
Bone – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 2018
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