Excess of singleton loss-of-function variants in Parkinson's disease contributes to genetic risk

Dheeraj Reddy Bobbili*, Peter Banda, Rejko Krüger, Patrick May

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder with complex genetic architecture. Besides rare mutations in high-risk genes related to monogenic familial forms of PD, multiple variants associated with sporadic PD were discovered via association studies. Methods We studied the whole-exome sequencing data of 340 PD cases and 146 ethnically matched controls from the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) and performed burden analysis for different rare variant classes. Disease prediction models were built based on clinical, non-clinical and genetic features, including both common and rare variants, and two machine learning methods. Results We observed a significant exome-wide burden of singleton loss-of-function variants (corrected p=0.037). Overall, no exome-wide burden of rare amino acid changing variants was detected. Finally, we built a disease prediction model combining singleton loss-of-function variants, a polygenic risk score based on common variants, and family history of PD as features and reached an area under the curve of 0.703 (95% CI 0.698 to 0.708). By incorporating a rare variant feature, our model increased the performance of the state-of-the-art classification model for the PPMI dataset, which reached an area under the curve of 0.639 based on common variants alone. Conclusion The main finding of this study is to highlight the contribution of singleton loss-of-function variants to the complex genetics of PD and that disease risk prediction models combining singleton and common variants can improve models built solely on common variants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617-623
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Medical Genetics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


  • Parkinson-s disease
  • complex traits
  • genetics


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