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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Rare TREM2 variants associated with Alzheimer's disease display reduced cell surface expression

  • Author(s): Sirkis, DW
  • Bonham, LW
  • Aparicio, RE
  • Geier, EG
  • Ramos, EM
  • Wang, Q
  • Karydas, A
  • Miller, ZA
  • Miller, BL
  • Coppola, G
  • Yokoyama, JS
  • et al.

Rare variation in TREM2 has been associated with greater risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD). TREM2 encodes a cell surface receptor expressed on microglia and related cells, and the R47H variant associated with AD appears to affect the ability of TREM2 to bind extracellular ligands. In addition, other rare TREM2 mutations causing early-onset neurodegeneration are thought to impair cell surface expression. Using a sequence kernel association (SKAT) analysis in two independent AD cohorts, we found significant enrichment of rare TREM2 variants not previously characterized at the protein level. Heterologous expression of the identified variants showed that novel variants S31F and R47C displayed significantly reduced cell surface expression. In addition, we identified rare variant R136Q in a patient with language-predominant AD that also showed impaired surface expression. The results suggest rare TREM2 variants enriched in AD may be associated with altered TREM2 function and that AD risk may be conferred, in part, from altered TREM2 surface expression.

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