Rare variants, autoimmune disease, and arthritis

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Purpose of review

We review select studies of newly discovered rare variants in autoimmune diseases with a focus on newly described monogenic disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus.

Recent findings

Two new monogenic syndromes of inflammatory arthritis were discovered using whole exome sequencing: the coatomer subunit alpha syndrome because of rare mutations in coatomer subunit alpha and haploinsufficiency of A20 resulting from rare mutations in TNFAIP3. Targeted exon sequencing identified rare variants in IL2RA and IL2RB associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Rare variants in TREX1 and other genes associated with monogenic interferonopathies are also associated with systemic lupus erythematosus.


Rare genetic variants contribute to the heritability of autoimmunity and provide key insight into both novel and previously implicated immunological pathways that are disrupted in autoimmune diseases.

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