Crohn’s disease (CD) is a debilitating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that arises from chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified over 200 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are associated with a predisposition for developing IBD. For the majority, the causal variant and target genes affected are unknown. Here, we investigated the CD-associated SNP rs6651252 that maps to a gene desert region on chromosome 8. We demonstrate that rs6651252 resides within a Wnt responsive DNA enhancer element (WRE) and that the disease associated allele augments binding of the TCF7L2 transcription factor to this region. Using CRISPR/ Cas9 directed gene editing and epigenetic modulation, we find that the rs6651252 enhancer regulates expression of the c-MYC proto-oncogene (MYC). Furthermore, we found MYC transcript levels are elevated in patient-derived colonic segments harboring the disease-associated allele in comparison to those containing the ancestral allele. These results suggest that Wnt/MYC signaling contributes to CD pathogenesis and that patients harboring the disease-associated allele may benefit from therapies that target MYC or MYC-regulated genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0212850
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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