Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type-9 (PCSK9) is a posttranslational regulator of the LDL receptor (LDLR). Recent studies have proposed a role for PCSK9 in regulating immune responses. Using RNA-Seq–based variant discovery, we identified a possible psoriasis-susceptibility locus at 1p32.3, located within PCSK9 (rs662145 C > T). This finding was verified in independently acquired genomic and RNA-Seq data sets. Single-cell RNA-Seq (scRNA-Seq) identified keratinocytes as the primary source of PCSK9 in human skin. PCSK9 expression, however, was not uniform across keratinocyte subpopulations. scRNA-Seq and IHC demonstrated an epidermal gradient of PCSK9, with expression being highest in basal and early spinous layer keratinocytes and lowest in granular layer keratinocytes. IL36G expression followed the opposite pattern, with expression highest in granular layer keratinocytes. PCSK9 siRNA knockdown experiments confirmed this inverse relationship between PCSK9 and IL36G expression. Other immune genes were also linked to PCSK9 expression, including IL27RA, IL1RL1, ISG20, and STX3. In both cultured keratinocytes and nonlesional human skin, homozygosity for PCSK9 SNP rs662145 C > T was associated with lower PCSK9 expression and higher IL36G expression, when compared with heterozygous skin or cell lines. Together, these results support PCSK9 as a psoriasis-susceptibility locus and establish a putative link between PCSK9 and inflammatory cytokine expression.
Alexander Merleev, Antonio Ji-Xu, Atrin Toussi, Lam C. Tsoi, Stephanie T. Le, Guillaume Luxardi, Xianying Xing, Rachael Wasikowski, William Liakos, Marie-Charlotte Brüggen, James T. Elder, Iannis E. Adamopoulos, Yoshihiro Izumiya, Annie R. Leal, Qinyuan Li, Nikolay Y. Kuzminykh, Amanda Kirane, Alina I. Marusina, Johann E. Gudjonsson, Emanual Maverakis