Genetic variants associated with susceptibility to meningococcal disease are reported this week in Nature Genetics. Meningococcal disease, caused by infection with the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis, is more common in younger ages and is associated with a high mortality rate when untreated.
Sonia Davila and colleagues report a genome-wide association study for meningococcal disease in 475 cases from the UK with replication in two additional populations from Western and Southern Europe. They identify a genomic region associated with host susceptibility that includes CFH ― a regulator of the alternative complement pathway, part of the innate immune response. CFH binds to the bacterium N. meningitidis and is involved with the host's immune response to infection.