medRxiv. 2023 Sep 29:2023.09.28.23296244. doi: 10.1101/2023.09.28.23296244. Preprint.
We meta-analyzed array data imputed with the TOPMed reference panel and whole-genome sequence (WGS) datasets and performed the largest, rare variant (minor allele frequency as low as 5×10 -5 ) GWAS meta-analysis of type 2 diabetes (T2D) comprising 51,256 cases and 370,487 controls. We identified 52 novel variants at genome-wide significance ( p <5 × 10 -8 ), including 8 novel variants that were either rare or ancestry-specific. Among them, we identified a rare missense variant in HNF4A p.Arg114Trp (OR=8.2, 95% confidence interval [CI]=4.6-14.0, p = 1.08×10 -13 ), previously reported as a variant implicated in Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY) with incomplete penetrance. We demonstrated that the diabetes risk in carriers of this variant was modulated by a T2D common variant polygenic risk score (cvPRS) (carriers in the top PRS tertile [OR=18.3, 95%CI=7.2-46.9, p =1.2×10 -9 ] vs carriers in the bottom PRS tertile [OR=2.6, 95% CI=0.97-7.09, p = 0.06]. Association results identified eight variants of intermediate penetrance (OR>5) in monogenic diabetes (MD), which in aggregate as a rare variant PRS were associated with T2D in an independent WGS dataset (OR=4.7, 95% CI=1.86-11.77], p = 0.001). Our data also provided support evidence for 21% of the variants reported in ClinVar in these MD genes as benign based on lack of association with T2D. Our work provides a framework for using rare variant imputation and WGS analyses in large-scale population-based association studies to identify large-effect rare variants and provide evidence for informing variant pathogenicity.