Tensin 1 (TNS1) is a modifier gene for low body mass index (BMI) in homozygous [F508del]CFTR patients

Nathan I. Walton, Xijun Zhang, Anthony R. Soltis, Joshua Starr, Clifton L. Dalgard, Matthew D. Wilkerson, Douglas Conrad, Harvey B. Pollard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-limiting autosomal recessive genetic disease caused by variants in the CFTR gene, most commonly by the [F508del] variant. Although CF is a classical Mendelian disease, genetic variants in several modifier genes have been associated with variation of the clinical phenotype for pulmonary and gastrointestinal function and urogenital development. We hypothesized that whole genome sequencing of a well-phenotyped CF populations might identify novel variants in known, or hitherto unknown, modifier genes. Whole genome sequencing was performed on the Illumina HiSeq X platform for 98 clinically diagnosed cystic fibrosis patient samples from the Adult CF Clinic at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). We compared protein-coding, non-silent variants genome wide between CFTR [F508del] homozygotes vs CFTR compound heterozygotes. Based on a single variant score test, we found 3 SNPs in common variants (MAF >5%) that occurred at significantly different rates between homozygous [F508del]CFTR and compound heterozygous [F508del]CFTR patients. The 3 SNPs were all located in one gene on chromosome 2: Tensin 1 (TNS1: rs3796028; rs2571445: and rs918949). We observed significantly lower BMIs in homozygous [F508del]CFTR patients who were also homozygous for Tensin 1 rs918949 (T/T) (p = 0.023) or rs2571445 (G/G) (p = 0.02) variants. The Tensin 1 gene is thus a potential modifier gene for low BMI in CF patients homozygous for the [F508del]CFTR variant.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14886
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • BMI
  • TNS1
  • cystic fibrosis
  • whole genome sequencing


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