Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory arthritis of the spine exhibiting a strong genetic background. The mechanistic and functional understanding of the AS-associated genomic loci, identified with Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS), remains challenging. Chromosome conformation capture (3C) and derivatives are recent techniques which are of great help in elucidating the spatial genome organization and of enormous support in uncover a mechanistic explanation for disease-associated genetic variants. The perturbation of three-dimensional (3D) genome hierarchy may lead to a plethora of human diseases, including rheumatological disorders. Here we illustrate the latest approaches and related findings on the field of genome organization, highlighting how the instability of 3D genome conformation may be among the causes of rheumatological disease phenotypes. We suggest a new perspective on the inclusive potential of a 3C approach to inform GWAS results in rheumatic diseases. 3D genome organization may ultimately lead to a more precise and comprehensive functional interpretation of AS association, which is the starting point for emerging and more specific therapies.
Frontiers in Genetics