Biological sex and host genetics influence HIV pathogenesis. Females have a higher likelihood of spontaneous viral control and lower set point viral load (spVL). No prior studies have assessed sex-specific genetics of HIV. To address this, we performed a sex-stratified genome-wide association study using data from the ICGH. Although it is the largest collection of genomic data in HIV, this multiethnic sample of 9,705 people is 81.3% male. We sought to identify sex-specific genetic variants and genes associated with HIV spVL and control. We confirmed associations in the HLA and CCR5 regions in males and HLA in females. Gene-based analyses detected associations between HIV spVL and PET100, PCP2, XAB2, and STXBP2 only in males. We detected variants with a significant sex-differential effect on spVL in SDC3 and PUM1 (rs10914268) and PSORS1C2 (rs1265159) and on HIV control in SUB1 (rs687659), AL158151.3, PTPA, and IER5L (rs4387067). Those variants have epigenetic and genetic interactions with relevant genes with both cis and trans effects. In summary, we identified sex-shared associations at the single-variant level, sex-specific associations at the gene-based level, and genetic variants with significant differential effects between the sexes.
Candelaria Vergara, Jeffrey F. Tuff, International Collaboration for the Genomics of HIV (ICGH), Jacques Fellay, Priya Duggal, Eileen P. Scully, Paul J. McLaren