Population-based studies have revealed 2–10% measles vaccine failure rate even after two vaccine doses. While the mechanisms behind this remain unknown, we hypothesized that host genetic factors are likely to be involved. We performed a genome-wide association study of measles specific neutralizing antibody and IFNγ ELISPOT response in a combined sample of 2872 subjects. We identified two distinct chromosome 1 regions (previously associated with MMR-related febrile seizures), associated with vaccine-induced measles neutralizing antibody titers. The 1q32 region contained 20 significant SNPs in/around the measles virus receptor-encoding CD46 gene, including the intronic rs2724384 (p value = 2.64 × 10−09) and rs2724374 (p value = 3.16 × 10−09) SNPs. The 1q31.1 region contained nine significant SNPs in/around IFI44L, including the intronic rs1333973 (p value = 1.41 × 10−10) and the missense rs273259 (His73Arg, p value = 2.87 × 10−10) SNPs. Analysis of differential exon usage with mRNA-Seq data and RT-PCR suggests the involvement of rs2724374 minor G allele in the CD46 STP region exon B skipping, resulting in shorter CD46 isoforms. Our study reveals common CD46 and IFI44L SNPs associated with measles-specific humoral immunity, and highlights the importance of alternative splicing/virus cellular receptor isoform usage as a mechanism explaining inter-individual variation in immune response after live measles vaccine.
ASJC Scopus subject areas