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1.  Osbpl8 Deficiency in Mouse Causes an Elevation of High-Density Lipoproteins and Gender-Specific Alterations of Lipid Metabolism 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58856.
OSBP-related protein 8 (ORP8) encoded by Osbpl8 is an endoplasmic reticulum sterol sensor implicated in cellular lipid metabolism. We generated an Osbpl8−/− (KO) C57Bl/6 mouse strain. Wild-type and Osbpl8KO animals at the age of 13-weeks were fed for 5 weeks either chow or high-fat diet, and their plasma lipids/lipoproteins and hepatic lipids were analyzed. The chow-fed Osbpl8KO male mice showed a marked elevation of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (+79%) and phospholipids (+35%), while only minor increase of apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) was detected. In chow-fed female KO mice a less prominent increase of HDL cholesterol (+27%) was observed, while on western diet the HDL increment was prominent in both genders. The HDL increase was accompanied by an elevated level of HDL-associated apolipoprotein E in male, but not female KO animals. No differences between genotypes were observed in lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) or hepatic lipase (HL) activity, or in the fractional catabolic rate of fluorescently labeled mouse HDL injected in chow-diet fed animals. The Osbpl8KO mice of both genders displayed reduced phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP) activity, but only on chow diet. These findings are consistent with a model in which Osbpl8 deficiency results in altered biosynthesis of HDL. Consistent with this hypothesis, ORP8 depleted mouse hepatocytes secreted an increased amount of nascent HDL into the culture medium. In addition to the HDL phenotype, distinct gender-specific alterations in lipid metabolism were detected: Female KO animals on chow diet showed reduced lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity and increased plasma triglycerides, while the male KO mice displayed elevated plasma cholesterol biosynthetic markers cholestenol, desmosterol, and lathosterol. Moreover, modest gender-specific alterations in the hepatic expression of lipid homeostatic genes were observed. In conclusion, we report the first viable OsbplKO mouse model, demonstrating a HDL elevating effect of Osbpl8 knock-out and additional gender- and/or diet-dependent impacts on lipid metabolism.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058856
PMCID: PMC3598917  PMID: 23554939
2.  An Integration of Genome-Wide Association Study and Gene Expression Profiling to Prioritize the Discovery of Novel Susceptibility Loci for Osteoporosis-Related Traits 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(6):e1000977.
Osteoporosis is a complex disorder and commonly leads to fractures in elderly persons. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have become an unbiased approach to identify variations in the genome that potentially affect health. However, the genetic variants identified so far only explain a small proportion of the heritability for complex traits. Due to the modest genetic effect size and inadequate power, true association signals may not be revealed based on a stringent genome-wide significance threshold. Here, we take advantage of SNP and transcript arrays and integrate GWAS and expression signature profiling relevant to the skeletal system in cellular and animal models to prioritize the discovery of novel candidate genes for osteoporosis-related traits, including bone mineral density (BMD) at the lumbar spine (LS) and femoral neck (FN), as well as geometric indices of the hip (femoral neck-shaft angle, NSA; femoral neck length, NL; and narrow-neck width, NW). A two-stage meta-analysis of GWAS from 7,633 Caucasian women and 3,657 men, revealed three novel loci associated with osteoporosis-related traits, including chromosome 1p13.2 (RAP1A, p = 3.6×10−8), 2q11.2 (TBC1D8), and 18q11.2 (OSBPL1A), and confirmed a previously reported region near TNFRSF11B/OPG gene. We also prioritized 16 suggestive genome-wide significant candidate genes based on their potential involvement in skeletal metabolism. Among them, 3 candidate genes were associated with BMD in women. Notably, 2 out of these 3 genes (GPR177, p = 2.6×10−13; SOX6, p = 6.4×10−10) associated with BMD in women have been successfully replicated in a large-scale meta-analysis of BMD, but none of the non-prioritized candidates (associated with BMD) did. Our results support the concept of our prioritization strategy. In the absence of direct biological support for identified genes, we highlighted the efficiency of subsequent functional characterization using publicly available expression profiling relevant to the skeletal system in cellular or whole animal models to prioritize candidate genes for further functional validation.
Author Summary
BMD and hip geometry are two major predictors of osteoporotic fractures, the most severe consequence of osteoporosis in elderly persons. We performed sex-specific genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for BMD at the lumbar spine and femor neck skeletal sites as well as hip geometric indices (NSA, NL, and NW) in the Framingham Osteoporosis Study and then replicated the top findings in two independent studies. Three novel loci were significant: in women, including chromosome 1p13.2 (RAP1A) for NW; in men, 2q11.2 (TBC1D8) for NSA and 18q11.2 (OSBPL1A) for NW. We confirmed a previously reported region on 8q24.12 (TNFRSF11B/OPG) for lumbar spine BMD in women. In addition, we integrated GWAS signals with eQTL in several tissues and publicly available expression signature profiling in cellular and whole-animal models, and prioritized 16 candidate genes/loci based on their potential involvement in skeletal metabolism. Among three prioritized loci (GPR177, SOX6, and CASR genes) associated with BMD in women, GPR177 and SOX6 have been successfully replicated later in a large-scale meta-analysis, but none of the non-prioritized candidates (associated with BMD) did. Our results support the concept of using expression profiling to support the candidacy of suggestive GWAS signals that may contain important genes of interest.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000977
PMCID: PMC2883588  PMID: 20548944
3.  Genome-wide association analysis of total cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels using the Framingham Heart Study data 
BMC Medical Genetics  2010;11:55.
Background
Cholesterol concentrations in blood are related to cardiovascular diseases. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of cholesterol levels identified a number of single-locus effects on total cholesterol (TC) and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels. Here, we report single-locus and epistasis SNP effects on TC and HDL-C using the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) data.
Results
Single-locus effects and pairwise epistasis effects of 432,096 SNP markers were tested for their significance on log-transformed TC and HDL-C levels. Twenty nine additive SNP effects reached single-locus genome-wide significance (p < 7.2 × 10-8) and no dominance effect reached genome-wide significance. Two new gene regions were detected, the RAB3GAP1-R3HDM1-LCT-MCM6 region of chr02 for TC identified by six new SNPs, and the OSBPL8-ZDHHC17 region (chr12) for HDL-C identified by one new SNP. The remaining 22 single-locus SNP effects confirmed previously reported genes or gene regions. For TC, three SNPs identified two gene regions that were tightly linked with previously reported genes associated with TC, including rs599839 that was 10 bases downstream PSRC1 and 3.498 kb downstream CELSR2, rs4970834 in CELSR2, and rs4245791 in ABCG8 that slightly overlapped with ABCG5. For HDL-C, LPL was confirmed by 12 SNPs 8-45 kb downstream, CETP by two SNPs 0.5-11 kb upstream, and the LIPG-ACAA2 region by five SNPs inside this region. Two epistasis effects on TC and thirteen epistasis effects on HDL-C reached the significance of "suggestive linkage". The most significant epistasis effect (p = 5.72 × 10-13) was close to reaching "significant linkage" and was a dominance × dominance effect of HDL-C between LMBRD1 (chr06) and the LRIG3 region (chr12), and this pair of gene regions had six other D × D effects with "suggestive linkage".
Conclusions
Genome-wide association analysis of the FHS data detected two new gene regions with genome-wide significance, detected epistatic SNP effects on TC and HDL-C with the significance of suggestive linkage in seven pairs of gene regions, and confirmed some previously reported gene regions associated with TC and HDL-C.
doi:10.1186/1471-2350-11-55
PMCID: PMC2867786  PMID: 20370913
4.  The Two Variants of Oxysterol Binding Protein-related Protein-1 Display Different Tissue Expression Patterns, Have Different Intracellular Localization, and Are Functionally Distinct 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2003;14(3):903-915.
Oxysterol binding protein (OSBP) homologs comprise a family of 12 proteins in humans (Jaworski et al., 2001; Lehto et al., 2001). Two variants of OSBP-related protein (ORP) 1 have been identified: a short one that consists of the carboxy-terminal ligand binding domain only (ORP1S, 437 aa) and a longer N-terminally extended form (ORP1L, 950 aa) encompassing three ankyrin repeats and a pleckstrin homology domain (PHD). We now report that the two mRNAs show marked differences in tissue expression. ORP1S predominates in skeletal muscle and heart, whereas ORP1L is the most abundant form in brain and lung. On differentiation of primary human monocytes into macrophages, both ORP1S and ORP1L mRNAs were induced, the up-regulation of ORP1L being >100-fold. The intracellular localization of the two ORP1 variants was found to be different. Whereas ORP1S is largely cytosolic, the ORP1L variant localizes to late endosomes. A significant amount of ORP1S but only little ORP1L was found in the nucleus. The ORP1L ankyrin repeat region (aa 1–237) was found to localize to late endosomes such as the full-length protein. This localization was even more pronounced for a fragment that additionally includes the PHD (aa 1–408). The amino-terminal region of ORP1L consisting of the ankyrin repeat and PHDs is therefore likely to be responsible for the targeting of ORP1L to late endosomes. Interestingly, overexpression of ORP1L was found to enhance the LXRα-mediated transactivation of a reporter gene, whereas ORP1S failed to influence this process. The results suggest that the two forms of ORP1 are functionally distinct and that ORP1L is involved in control of cellular lipid metabolism.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E02-08-0459
PMCID: PMC151568  PMID: 12631712
5.  Genome Wide Association Study Identifies 20 Novel Promising Genes Associated with Milk Fatty Acid Traits in Chinese Holstein 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96186.
Detecting genes associated with milk fat composition could provide valuable insights into the complex genetic networks of genes underling variation in fatty acids synthesis and point towards opportunities for changing milk fat composition via selective breeding. In this study, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) for 22 milk fatty acids in 784 Chinese Holstein cows with the PLINK software. Genotypes were obtained with the Illumina BovineSNP50 Bead chip and a total of 40,604 informative, high-quality single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were used. Totally, 83 genome-wide significant SNPs and 314 suggestive significant SNPs associated with 18 milk fatty acid traits were detected. Chromosome regions that affect milk fatty acid traits were mainly observed on BTA1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 26 and 27. Of these, 146 SNPs were associated with more than one milk fatty acid trait; most of studied fatty acid traits were significant associated with multiple SNPs, especially C18:0 (105 SNPs), C18 index (93 SNPs), and C14 index (84 SNPs); Several SNPs are close to or within the DGAT1, SCD1 and FASN genes which are well-known to affect milk composition traits of dairy cattle. Combined with the previously reported QTL regions and the biological functions of the genes, 20 novel promising candidates for C10:0, C12:0, C14:0, C14:1, C14 index, C18:0, C18:1n9c, C18 index, SFA, UFA and SFA/UFA were found, which composed of HTR1B, CPM, PRKG1, MINPP1, LIPJ, LIPK, EHHADH, MOGAT1, ECHS1, STAT1, SORBS1, NFKB2, AGPAT3, CHUK, OSBPL8, PRLR, IGF1R, ACSL3, GHR and OXCT1. Our findings provide a groundwork for unraveling the key genes and causal mutations affecting milk fatty acid traits in dairy cattle.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096186
PMCID: PMC4032272  PMID: 24858810
6.  OSBP-Related Protein 8 (ORP8) Regulates Plasma and Liver Tissue Lipid Levels and Interacts with the Nucleoporin Nup62 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e21078.
We earlier identified OSBP-related protein 8 (ORP8) as an endoplasmic reticulum oxysterol-binding protein implicated in cellular lipid homeostasis. We now investigated its action in hepatic cells in vivo and in vitro. Adenoviral overexpression of ORP8 in mouse liver induced a decrease of cholesterol, phospholipids, and triglycerides in serum (−34%, −26%, −37%, respectively) and liver tissue (−40%, −12%, −24%), coinciding with reduction of nuclear (n)SREBP-1 and -2 and mRNA levels of their target genes. Consistently, excess ORP8 reduced nSREBPs in HuH7 cells, and ORP8 overexpression or silencing by RNA interference moderately suppressed or induced the expression of SREBP-1 and SREBP-2 target genes, respectively. In accordance, cholesterol biosynthesis was reduced by ORP8 overexpression and enhanced by ORP8 silencing in [3H]acetate pulse-labeling experiments. ORP8, previously shown to bind 25-hydroxycholesterol, was now shown to bind also cholesterol in vitro. Yeast two-hybrid, bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC), and co-immunoprecipitation analyses revealed the nuclear pore component Nup62 as an interaction partner of ORP8. Co-localization of ORP8 and Nup62 at the nuclear envelope was demonstrated by BiFC and confocal immunofluorescence microscopy. Furthermore, the impact of overexpressed ORP8 on nSREBPs and their target mRNAs was inhibited in cells depleted of Nup62. Our results reveal that ORP8 has the capacity to modulate lipid homeostasis and SREBP activity, probably through an indirect mechanism, and provide clues of an entirely new mode of ORP action.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021078
PMCID: PMC3115989  PMID: 21698267
7.  Genome-wide association study of alcohol dependence implicates a region on chromosome 11 
Background:
Alcohol dependence is a complex disease, and although linkage and candidate gene studies have identified several genes associated with the risk for alcoholism, these explain only a portion of the risk.
Methods:
We carried out a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on a case-control sample drawn from the families in the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism. The cases all met diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association Fourth Edition (DSM-IV); controls all consumed alcohol but were not dependent on alcohol or illicit drugs. To prioritize among the strongest candidates, we genotyped most of the top 199 SNPs (p ≤ 2.1 × 10−4) in a sample of alcohol dependent families and performed pedigree-based association analysis. We also examined whether the genes harboring the top SNPs were expressed in human brain or were differentially expressed in the presence of ethanol in lymphoblastoid cells.
Results:
Although no single SNP met genome-wide criteria for significance, there were several clusters of SNPs that provided mutual support. Combining evidence from the case-control study, the followup in families, and gene expression provided strongest support for the association of a cluster of genes on chromosome 11 (SLC22A18, PHLDA2, NAP1L4, SNORA54, CARS, and OSBPL5) with alcohol dependence. Several SNPs nominated as candidates in earlier GWAS studies replicated in ours, including CPE, DNASE2B, SLC10A2,ARL6IP5, ID4, GATA4, SYNE1 and ADCY3.
Conclusions:
We have identified several promising associations that warrant further examination in independent samples.
doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2010.01156.x
PMCID: PMC2884073  PMID: 20201924
alcohol dependence; genome-wide association study; case-control study; family study; gene expression
8.  OSBP-Related Proteins (ORPs) in Human Adipose Depots and Cultured Adipocytes: Evidence for Impacts on the Adipocyte Phenotype 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45352.
Oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP) homologues, ORPs, are implicated in lipid homeostatic control, vesicle transport, and cell signaling. We analyzed here the quantity of ORP mRNAs in human subcutaneous (s.c.) and visceral adipose depots, as well as in the Simpson-Golabi-Behmel syndrome (SGBS) adipocyte cell model. All of the ORP mRNAs were present in the s.c and visceral adipose tissues, and the two depots shared an almost identical ORP mRNA expression pattern. SGBS adipocytes displayed a similar pattern, suggesting that the adipose tissue ORP expression pattern mainly derives from adipocytes. During SGBS cell adipogenic differentiation, ORP2, ORP3, ORP4, ORP7, and ORP8 mRNAs were down-regulated, while ORP11 was induced. To assess the impacts of ORPs on adipocyte differentiation, ORP3 and ORP8, proteins down-regulated during adipogenesis, were overexpressed in differentiating SGBS adipocytes, while ORP11, a protein induced during adipogenesis, was silenced. ORP8 overexpression resulted in reduced expression of the aP2 mRNA, while down-regulation of adiponectin and aP2 was observed in ORP11 silenced cells. Furthermore, ORP8 overexpression or silencing of ORP11 markedly decreased cellular triglyceride storage. These data identify the patterns of ORP expression in human adipose depots and SGBS adipocytes, and provide the first evidence for a functional impact of ORPs on the adipocyte phenotype.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045352
PMCID: PMC3448648  PMID: 23028956
9.  Oxysterol Binding Protein–related Protein 9 (ORP9) Is a Cholesterol Transfer Protein That Regulates Golgi Structure and Function 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2009;20(5):1388-1399.
Oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP) and OSBP-related proteins (ORPs) constitute a large gene family that differentially localize to organellar membranes, reflecting a functional role in sterol signaling and/or transport. OSBP partitions between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and Golgi apparatus where it imparts sterol-dependent regulation of ceramide transport and sphingomyelin synthesis. ORP9L also is localized to the ER–Golgi, but its role in secretion and lipid transport is unknown. Here we demonstrate that ORP9L partitioning between the trans-Golgi/trans-Golgi network (TGN), and the ER is mediated by a phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate (PI-4P)-specific PH domain and VAMP-associated protein (VAP), respectively. In vitro, both OSBP and ORP9L mediated PI-4P–dependent cholesterol transport between liposomes, suggesting their primary in vivo function is sterol transfer between the Golgi and ER. Depletion of ORP9L by RNAi caused Golgi fragmentation, inhibition of vesicular somatitus virus glycoprotein transport from the ER and accumulation of cholesterol in endosomes/lysosomes. Complete cessation of protein transport and cell growth inhibition was achieved by inducible overexpression of ORP9S, a dominant negative variant lacking the PH domain. We conclude that ORP9 maintains the integrity of the early secretory pathway by mediating transport of sterols between the ER and trans-Golgi/TGN.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E08-09-0905
PMCID: PMC2649274  PMID: 19129476
10.  A nonsynonymous SNP within PCDH15 is associated with lipid traits in familial combined hyperlipidemia 
Human Genetics  2009;127(1):83-89.
Familial combined hyperlipidemia (FCHL) is a common lipid disorder characterized by the presence of multiple lipoprotein phenotypes that increase the risk of premature coronary heart disease. In a previous study, we identified an intragenic microsatellite marker within the protocadherin 15 (PCDH15) gene to be associated with high triglycerides (TGs) in Finnish dyslipidemic families. In this study we analyzed all four known nonsynonymous SNPs within PCDH15 in 1,268 individuals from Finnish and Dutch multigenerational families with FCHL. Association analyses of quantitative traits for SNPs were performed using the QTDT test. The nonsynonymous SNP rs10825269 resulted in a P = 0.0006 for the quantitative TG trait. Additional evidence for association was observed with the same SNP for apolipoprotein B levels (apo-B) (P = 0.0001) and total cholesterol (TC) levels (P = 0.001). None of the other three SNPs tested showed a significant association with any lipid-related trait. We investigated the expression of PCDH15 in different human tissues and observed that PCDH15 is expressed in several tissues including liver and pancreas. In addition, we measured the plasma lipid levels in mice with loss-of-function mutations in Pcdh15 (Pcdh15av-Tg and Pcdh15av-3J) to investigate possible abnormalities in their lipid profile. We observed a significant difference in plasma TG and TC concentrations for the Pcdh15av-3J carriers when compared with the wild type (P = 0.013 and P = 0.044, respectively). Our study suggests that PCDH15 is associated with lipid abnormalities.
doi:10.1007/s00439-009-0749-z
PMCID: PMC2793376  PMID: 19816713
11.  Characterization of the oxysterol-binding protein gene family in the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti 
Insect molecular biology  2011;20(4):541-552.
The oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP) and related proteins (ORPs) are sterol-binding proteins that may be involved in cellular sterol transportation, sterol metabolism and signal transduction pathways. Four ORP genes were cloned from Aedes aegypti. Based on amino acid sequence homology to human proteins, they are AeOSBP, AeORP1, AeORP8 and AeORP9. Splicing variants of AeOSBP and AeORP8 were identified. The temporal and spatial transcription patterns of members of the AeOSBP gene family through developmental stages and the gonotrophic cycle were profiled. AeORP1 transcription seemed to be head tissue-specific, whereas AeOSBP and AeORP9 expressions were induced by a blood meal. Furthermore, over-expression of AeORPs facilitated [3H]-cholesterol uptake in Aedes aegypti cultured Aag-2 cells.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2583.2011.01087.x
PMCID: PMC3139008  PMID: 21699592
Oxysterol-binding protein; cholesterol; gene expression; sterol transport
12.  Multivesicular Body Formation Requires OSBP–Related Proteins and Cholesterol 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(8):e1001055.
In eukaryotes, different subcellular organelles have distinct cholesterol concentrations, which is thought to be critical for biological functions. Oxysterol-binding protein-related proteins (ORPs) have been assumed to mediate nonvesicular cholesterol trafficking in cells; however, their in vivo functions and therefore the biological significance of cholesterol in each organelle are not fully understood. Here, by generating deletion mutants of ORPs in Caenorhabditis elegans, we show that ORPs are required for the formation and function of multivesicular bodies (MVBs). In an RNAi enhancer screen using obr quadruple mutants (obr-1; -2; -3; -4), we found that MVB–related genes show strong genetic interactions with the obr genes. In obr quadruple mutants, late endosomes/lysosomes are enlarged and membrane protein degradation is retarded, although endocytosed soluble proteins are normally delivered to lysosomes and degraded. We also found that the cholesterol content of late endosomes/lysosomes is reduced in the mutants. In wild-type worms, cholesterol restriction induces the formation of enlarged late endosomes/lysosomes, as observed in obr quadruple mutants, and increases embryonic lethality upon knockdown of MVB–related genes. Finally, we show that knockdown of ORP1L, a mammalian ORP family member, induces the formation of enlarged MVBs in HeLa cells. Our in vivo findings suggest that the proper cholesterol level of late endosomes/lysosomes generated by ORPs is required for normal MVB formation and MVB–mediated membrane protein degradation.
Author Summary
The multivesicular body (MVB) sorting pathway provides a mechanism for the lysosomal degradation of membrane proteins, such as growth factor receptors. The formation of MVBs is unique in that the curvature is directed toward the lumen of the compartment rather than the cytosol. During MVB formation, the curvature-inducing proteins, such as clathrins, could not be involved in the inward invagination of the endosomal membrane. Under these circumstances, lipids have been assumed to play a role in the membrane invagination step by creating local membrane environments; however, the lipids involved in this step have not been fully elucidated. Here we demonstrate that cholesterol, an essential membrane component in animals, is critical for MVB formation and function. We found that disruption of OSBP–related proteins (ORPs), which have been proposed to function in cellular cholesterol distribution and metabolism, reduces the cholesterol content in late endosomes/lysosomes, leading to impaired MVB function. MVB sorting pathway is known to be involved in many processes, including growth factor receptor down-regulation, exosome secretion, antigen presentation, the budding of enveloped viruses, and cytokinesis. Our findings provide a novel link between cholesterol and these biologically important functions.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1001055
PMCID: PMC2916882  PMID: 20700434
13.  Comparative Gene Expression Profiling in Human Cumulus Cells according to Ovarian Gonadotropin Treatments 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:354582.
In in vitro fertilization cycles, both HP-hMG and rFSH gonadotropin treatments are widely used to control human follicle development. The objectives of this study are (i) to characterize and compare gene expression profiles in cumulus cells (CCs) of periovulatory follicles obtained from patients stimulated with HP-hMG or rFSH in a GnRH antagonist cycle and (ii) to examine their relationship with in vitro embryo development, using Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 microarrays. Genes that were upregulated in HP-hMG-treated CCs are involved in lipid metabolism (GM2A) and cell-to-cell interactions (GJA5). Conversely, genes upregulated in rFSH-treated CCs are implicated in cell assembly and organization (COL1A1 and COL3A1). Interestingly, some genes specific to each gonadotropin treatment (NPY1R and GM2A for HP-hMG; GREM1 and OSBPL6 for rFSH) were associated with day 3 embryo quality and blastocyst grade at day 5, while others (STC2 and PTX3) were related to in vitro embryo quality in both gonadotropin treatments. These genes may prove valuable as biomarkers of in vitro embryo quality.
doi:10.1155/2013/354582
PMCID: PMC3786475  PMID: 24151596
14.  Inhibition of HCV Replication by Oxysterol-Binding Protein-Related Protein 4 (ORP4) through Interaction with HCV NS5B and Alteration of Lipid Droplet Formation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75648.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA replication involves complex interactions among the 3’x RNA element within the HCV 3’ untranslated region, viral and host proteins. However, many of the host proteins remain unknown. In this study, we devised an RNA affinity chromatography /2D/MASS proteomics strategy and identified nine putative 3’ X-associated host proteins; among them is oxysterol-binding protein-related protein 4 (ORP4), a cytoplasmic receptor for oxysterols. We determined the relationship between ORP4 expression and HCV replication. A very low level of constitutive ORP4 expression was detected in hepatocytes. Ectopically expressed ORP4 was detected in the endoplasmic reticulum and inhibited luciferase reporter gene expression in HCV subgenomic replicon cells and HCV core expression in JFH-1-infected cells. Expression of ORP4S, an ORP4 variant that lacked the N-terminal pleckstrin-homology domain but contained the C-terminal oxysterol-binding domain also inhibited HCV replication, pointing to an important role of the oxysterol-binding domain in ORP4-mediated inhibition of HCV replication. ORP4 was found to associate with HCV NS5B and its expression led to inhibition of the NS5B activity. ORP4 expression had little effect on intracellular lipid synthesis and secretion, but it induced lipid droplet formation in the context of HCV replication. Taken together, these results demonstrate that ORP4 is a negative regulator of HCV replication, likely via interaction with HCV NS5B in the replication complex and regulation of intracellular lipid homeostasis. This work supports the important role of lipids and their metabolism in HCV replication and pathogenesis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075648
PMCID: PMC3775767  PMID: 24069433
15.  Tumor-specific usage of alternative transcription start sites in colorectal cancer identified by genome-wide exon array analysis 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:505.
Background
Approximately half of all human genes use alternative transcription start sites (TSSs) to control mRNA levels and broaden the transcriptional output in healthy tissues. Aberrant expression patterns promoting carcinogenesis, however, may arise from alternative promoter usage.
Results
By profiling 108 colorectal samples using exon arrays, we identified nine genes (TCF12, OSBPL1A, TRAK1, ANK3, CHEK1, UGP2, LMO7, ACSL5, and SCIN) showing tumor-specific alternative TSS usage in both adenoma and cancer samples relative to normal mucosa. Analysis of independent exon array data sets corroborated these findings. Additionally, we confirmed the observed patterns for selected mRNAs using quantitative real-time reverse-transcription PCR. Interestingly, for some of the genes, the tumor-specific TSS usage was not restricted to colorectal cancer. A comprehensive survey of the nine genes in lung, bladder, liver, prostate, gastric, and brain cancer revealed significantly altered mRNA isoform ratios for CHEK1, OSBPL1A, and TCF12 in a subset of these cancer types.
To identify the mechanism responsible for the shift in alternative TSS usage, we antagonized the Wnt-signaling pathway in DLD1 and Ls174T colorectal cancer cell lines, which remarkably led to a shift in the preferred TSS for both OSBPL1A and TRAK1. This indicated a regulatory role of the Wnt pathway in selecting TSS, possibly also involving TP53 and SOX9, as their transcription binding sites were enriched in the promoters of the tumor preferred isoforms together with their mRNA levels being increased in tumor samples.
Finally, to evaluate the prognostic impact of the altered TSS usage, immunohistochemistry was used to show deregulation of the total protein levels of both TCF12 and OSBPL1A, corresponding to the mRNA levels observed. Furthermore, the level of nuclear TCF12 had a significant correlation to progression free survival in a cohort of 248 stage II colorectal cancer samples.
Conclusions
Alternative TSS usage in colorectal adenoma and cancer samples has been shown for nine genes, and OSBPL1A and TRAK1 were found to be regulated in vitro by Wnt signaling. TCF12 protein expression was upregulated in cancer samples and correlated with progression free survival.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-505
PMCID: PMC3208247  PMID: 21999571
16.  The Oxysterol-binding Protein Homologue ORP1L Interacts with Rab7 and Alters Functional Properties of Late Endocytic Compartments 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2005;16(12):5480-5492.
ORP1L is a member of the human oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP) family. ORP1L localizes to late endosomes (LEs)/lysosomes, colocalizing with the GTPases Rab7 and Rab9 and lysosome-associated membrane protein-1. We demonstrate that ORP1L interacts physically with Rab7, preferentially with its GTP-bound form, and provide evidence that ORP1L stabilizes GTP-bound Rab7 on LEs/lysosomes. The Rab7-binding determinant is mapped to the ankyrin repeat (ANK) region of ORP1L. The pleckstrin homology domain (PHD) of ORP1L binds phosphoinositides with low affinity and specificity. ORP1L ANK- and ANK+PHD fragments induce perinuclear clustering of LE/lysosomes. This is dependent on an intact microtubule network and a functional dynein/dynactin motor complex. The dominant inhibitory Rab7 mutant T22N reverses the LE clustering, suggesting that the effect is dependent on active Rab7. Transport of fluorescent dextran to LEs is inhibited by overexpression of ORP1L. Overexpression of ORP1L, and in particular the N-terminal fragments of ORP1L, inhibits vacuolation of LE caused by Helicobacter pylori toxin VacA, a process also involving Rab7. The present study demonstrates that ORP1L binds to Rab7, modifies its functional cycle, and can interfere with LE/lysosome organization and endocytic membrane trafficking. This is the first report of a direct connection between the OSBP-related protein family and the Rab GTPases.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E05-03-0189
PMCID: PMC1289395  PMID: 16176980
17.  Bone Mineral Density-Associated Polymorphisms Are Associated with Obesity-Related Traits in Korean Adults in a Sex-Dependent Manner 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e53013.
Obesity and osteoporosis share common physiological factors, including the presence of atherosclerosis, a risk factor for cardiometabolic disease, as well as a common progenitor that differentiates into both adipocytes and osteoblasts. Among the 23 polymorphisms associated with bone mineral density (BMD) in recent genome-wide association studies (GWASs), an Osterix polymorphism has been identified and associated with childhood obesity in girls. Therefore, we focused on elucidating polymorphisms associated with adulthood obesity in a sex-dependent manner among the previously published BMD-associated polymorphisms from GWASs. We performed 2 screenings of 18 BMD-associated polymorphisms for obesity-related traits in 2,362 adults aged >20 years. We excluded 13 polymorphisms showing deviations from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium or no association with obesity-related traits (body mass index, waist circumference (WC), and waist-to-hip ratio). Among 5 selected polymorphisms (rs9594738 of RANKL, rs17066364 of NUFIP1, rs7227401 of OSBPL1A, and rs1856057 and rs2982573 of ESR1) analyzed, 2 polymorphisms (rs9594738 and rs17066364) were associated with obesity-related traits. We found sex-dependent associations such that the 4 polymorphisms (excluding rs9594738 of RANKL) were associated with abdominal traits such as WC and waist-to-hip ratio only in men. In addition, when the combined genetic risk score (GRS) for WC increase was calculated with 4 SNPs (rs9594738, rs17066364, rs7227401, and rs1856057) exhibiting similar trends for both sexes, the magnitude of the GRS effect for the WC increase was larger in men than in women (effect size = 0.856 cm, P = 0.0000452 for men; effect size = 0.598 cm, P = 0.00228 for women). In summary, we found 4 polymorphisms, previously related to osteoporosis, to be associated to obesity-related traits in a sex-dependent manner in Korean adults, particularly in men.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053013
PMCID: PMC3531417  PMID: 23300848
18.  DNA methylation differences at growth related genes correlate with birth weight: a molecular signature linked to developmental origins of adult disease? 
BMC Medical Genomics  2012;5:10.
Background
Infant birth weight is a complex quantitative trait associated with both neonatal and long-term health outcomes. Numerous studies have been published in which candidate genes (IGF1, IGF2, IGF2R, IGF binding proteins, PHLDA2 and PLAGL1) have been associated with birth weight, but these studies are difficult to reproduce in man and large cohort studies are needed due to the large inter individual variance in transcription levels. Also, very little of the trait variance is explained. We decided to identify additional candidates without regard for what is known about the genes. We hypothesize that DNA methylation differences between individuals can serve as markers of gene "expression potential" at growth related genes throughout development and that these differences may correlate with birth weight better than single time point measures of gene expression.
Methods
We performed DNA methylation and transcript profiling on cord blood and placenta from newborns. We then used novel computational approaches to identify genes correlated with birth weight.
Results
We identified 23 genes whose methylation levels explain 70-87% of the variance in birth weight. Six of these (ANGPT4, APOE, CDK2, GRB10, OSBPL5 and REG1B) are associated with growth phenotypes in human or mouse models. Gene expression profiling explained a much smaller fraction of variance in birth weight than did DNA methylation. We further show that two genes, the transcriptional repressor MSX1 and the growth factor receptor adaptor protein GRB10, are correlated with transcriptional control of at least seven genes reported to be involved in fetal or placental growth, suggesting that we have identified important networks in growth control. GRB10 methylation is also correlated with genes involved in reactive oxygen species signaling, stress signaling and oxygen sensing and more recent data implicate GRB10 in insulin signaling.
Conclusions
Single time point measurements of gene expression may reflect many factors unrelated to birth weight, while inter-individual differences in DNA methylation may represent a "molecular fossil record" of differences in birth weight-related gene expression. Finding these "unexpected" pathways may tell us something about the long-term association between low birth weight and adult disease, as well as which genes may be susceptible to environmental effects. These findings increase our understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in human development and disease progression.
doi:10.1186/1755-8794-5-10
PMCID: PMC3359247  PMID: 22498030
19.  Glucuronic Acid Epimerase Is Associated with Plasma Triglyceride and High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Levels in Turks 
Annals of human genetics  2011;75(3):398-417.
Summary
We narrowed chromosome 15q21-23 linkage to plasma high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels in atherogenic dyslipidemic Turkish families by fine mapping, then focused on glucuronic acid epimerase (GLCE), a heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG) biosynthesis enzyme. HSPGs participate in lipid metabolism along with apolipoprotein (apo) E. Of 31 SNPs in the GLCE locus, nine analyzed by haplotype were associated with plasma HDL-C and triglyceride levels (permuted p = 0.006 and 0.013, respectively) in families. Of five tagging GLCE SNPs in two cohorts of unrelated subjects, three (rs16952868, rs11631403, rs3865014) were associated with triglyceride and HDL-C levels in males (non-permuted p < 0.05). The association was stronger in APOE 2/3 subjects (apoE2 has reduced binding to HSPGs) and reached multiple-testing significance (p < 0.05) in both males and females (n = 2612). Similar results were obtained in the second cohort (n = 1164). Interestingly, at the GLCE locus, bounded by recombination hotspots, Turks had a minor allele frequency of SNPs resembling Chinese more than European ancestry; adjoining regions on chromosome 15 resembled the European pattern. Studies of glce+/–apoe–/– mice fed a chow or high-fat diet supported a role for GLCE in lipid metabolism. Thus, SNPs in GLCE are associated with triglyceride and HDL-C levels in Turks, and mouse studies support a role for glce in lipid metabolism.
doi:10.1111/j.1469-1809.2011.00644.x
PMCID: PMC3538863  PMID: 21488854
20.  Genome-Wide Association Study of Periodontal Health Measured by Probing Depth in Adults Ages 18−49 years 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2013;4(2):307-314.
The etiology of chronic periodontitis clearly includes a heritable component. Our purpose was to perform a small exploratory genome-wide association study in adults ages 18–49 years to nominate genes associated with periodontal disease−related phenotypes for future consideration. Full-mouth periodontal pocket depth probing was performed on participants (N = 673), with affected status defined as two or more sextants with probing depths of 5.5 mm or greater. Two variations of this phenotype that differed in how missing teeth were treated were used in analysis. More than 1.2 million genetic markers across the genome were genotyped or imputed and tested for genetic association. We identified ten suggestive loci (p-value ≤ 1E-5), including genes/loci that have been previously implicated in chronic periodontitis: LAMA2, HAS2, CDH2, ESR1, and the genomic region on chromosome 14q21-22 between SOS2 and NIN. Moreover, we nominated novel loci not previously implicated in chronic periodontitis or related pathways, including the regions 3p22 near OSBPL10 (a lipid receptor implicated in hyperlipidemia), 4p15 near HSP90AB2P (a heat shock pseudogene), 11p15 near GVINP1 (a GTPase pseudogene), 14q31 near SEL1L (an intracellular transporter), and 18q12 in FHOD3 (an actin cytoskeleton regulator). Replication of these results in additional samples is needed. This is one of the first research efforts to identify genetic polymorphisms associated with chronic periodontitis-related phenotypes by the genome-wide association study approach. Though small, efforts such this are needed in order to nominate novel genes and generate new hypotheses for exploration and testing in future studies.
doi:10.1534/g3.113.008755
PMCID: PMC3931564  PMID: 24347629
GWAS; chronic periodontitis
21.  A role for oxysterol-binding protein–related protein 5 in endosomal cholesterol trafficking 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2011;192(1):121-135.
ORP5 works together with Niemann Pick C-1 to facilitate exit of cholesterol from endosomes and lysosomes.
Oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP) and its related proteins (ORPs) constitute a large and evolutionarily conserved family of lipid-binding proteins that target organelle membranes to mediate sterol signaling and/or transport. Here we characterize ORP5, a tail-anchored ORP protein that localizes to the endoplasmic reticulum. Knocking down ORP5 causes cholesterol accumulation in late endosomes and lysosomes, which is reminiscent of the cholesterol trafficking defect in Niemann Pick C (NPC) fibroblasts. Cholesterol appears to accumulate in the limiting membranes of endosomal compartments in ORP5-depleted cells, whereas depletion of NPC1 or both ORP5 and NPC1 results in luminal accumulation of cholesterol. Moreover, trans-Golgi resident proteins mislocalize to endosomal compartments upon ORP5 depletion, which depends on a functional NPC1. Our results establish the first link between NPC1 and a cytoplasmic sterol carrier, and suggest that ORP5 may cooperate with NPC1 to mediate the exit of cholesterol from endosomes/lysosomes.
doi:10.1083/jcb.201004142
PMCID: PMC3019559  PMID: 21220512
22.  The Diverse Functions of Oxysterol-Binding Proteins 
Oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP)-related proteins (ORPs) are lipid-binding proteins that are conserved from yeast to humans. They are implicated in many cellular processes including signaling, vesicular trafficking, lipid metabolism, and nonvesicular sterol transport. All ORPs contain an OSBP-related domain (ORD) that has a hydrophobic pocket that binds a single sterol. ORDs also contain additional membrane binding surfaces, some of which bind phosphoinositides and may regulate sterol binding. Studies in yeast suggest that ORPs function as sterol transporters, perhaps in regions where organelle membranes are closely apposed. Yeast ORPs also participate in vesicular trafficking, although their role is unclear. In mammalian cells, some ORPs function as sterol sensors that regulate the assembly of protein complexes in response to changes in cholesterol levels. This review will summarize recent advances in our understanding of how ORPs bind lipids and membranes and how they function in diverse cellular processes.
doi:10.1146/annurev.cellbio.042308.113334
PMCID: PMC3478074  PMID: 19575662
cholesterol; sterol; phosphoinositides; signaling; lipid transport; membranes; membrane contact sites; lipid transport proteins
23.  Natural products reveal cancer cell dependence on oxysterol-binding proteins 
Nature chemical biology  2011;7(9):639-647.
Cephalostatin 1, OSW-1, ritterazine B and schweinfurthin A are natural products that potently, and in some cases selectively, inhibit the growth of cultured human cancer cell lines. The cellular targets of these small molecules have yet to be identified. We have discovered that these molecules target oxysterol binding protein (OSBP) and its closest paralog, OSBP-related protein 4L (ORP4L)—proteins not known to be involved in cancer cell survival. OSBP and the ORPs constitute an evolutionarily conserved protein superfamily, members of which have been implicated in signal transduction, lipid transport and lipid metabolism. The functions of OSBP and the ORPs, however, remain largely enigmatic. Based on our findings, we have named the aforementioned natural products ORPphilins. Here we used ORPphilins to reveal new cellular activities of OSBP. The ORPphilins are powerful probes of OSBP and ORP4L that will be useful in uncovering their cellular functions and their roles in human diseases.
doi:10.1038/nchembio.625
PMCID: PMC3158287  PMID: 21822274
24.  Genetic Association and Interaction Analysis of USF1 and APOA5 on Lipid Levels and Atherosclerosis 
Objective
USF1 is a ubiquitous transcription factor governing the expression of numerous genes of lipid and glucose metabolism. APOA5 is a well-established candidate gene regulating triglyceride (TG) levels and has been identified as a downstream target of upstream stimulatory factor. No detailed studies about the effect of APOA5 on atherosclerotic lesion formation have been conducted, nor has its potential interaction with USF1 been examined.
Methods and Results
We analyzed allelic variants of USF1 and APOA5 in families (n=516) ascertained for atherogenic dyslipidemia and in an autopsy series of middle-aged men (n=300) with precise quantitative measurements of atherosclerotic lesions. The impact of previously associated APOA5 variants on TGs was observed in the dyslipidemic families, and variant rs3135506 was associated with size of fibrotic aortic lesions in the autopsy series. The USF1 variant rs2516839, associated previously with atherosclerotic lesions, showed an effect on TGs in members of the dyslipidemic families with documented coronary artery disease. We provide preliminary evidence of gene-gene interaction between these variants in an autopsy series with a fibrotic lesion area in the abdominal aorta (P=0.0028), with TGs in dyslipidemic coronary artery disease subjects (P=0.03), and with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P=0.008) in a large population cohort of coronary artery disease patients (n=1065) in which the interaction for TGs was not replicated.
Conclusion
Our findings in these unique samples reinforce the roles of APOA5 and USF1 variants on cardiovascular phenotypes and suggest that both genes contribute to lipid levels and aortic atherosclerosis individually and possibly through epistatic effects.
doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.109.188912
PMCID: PMC3224996  PMID: 19910639
genes; USF1; APOA5; lipids; atherosclerosis; epistasis
25.  Genetic Variation at the Proprotein Convertase Subtilisin/Kexin Type 5 Gene Modulates HDL Cholesterol Levels 
Background
A low level of plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. HDL particles are modulated by a variety of lipases, including endothelial lipase (EL), a phospholipase present on vascular endothelial cells. The proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 5 (PCSK5) gene product is known to directly inactivate EL, and, indirectly, cleave and activate angiopoetin-like protein 3, a natural inhibitor of EL. We therefore investigated the effect of human PCSK5 genetic variants on plasma HDL-C levels.
Methods and Results
Haplotypes at the PCSK5 locus were examined in nine multi-generational families that included 60 individuals with HDL-C<10th percentile. Segregation with low HDL-C in one family was found. Sequencing of the PCSK5 gene in 12 probands with HDL-C<5th percentile identified seven novel variants. Using a two-stage design, we first genotyped these single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) along with 163 tagSNPs and 12 additional SNPs (n=182 total) in 457 individuals with documented coronary artery disease. We identified nine SNPs associated with HDL-C (P<0.05), with the strongest results for rs11144782 and rs11144766 (P=0.002 and P=0.005 respectively). The SNP rs11144782 was also associated with very low-density lipoprotein (P=0.039), triglycerides (P=0.049) and total apolipoprotein B levels (P=0.022). In stage 2, we replicated the association of rs11144766 with HDL-C (P=0.014) in an independent sample of Finnish low HDL-C families. In a combined analysis of both stages (n=883), region-wide significance of rs11144766 and low HDL-C was observed (unadjusted P=1.86×10−4 and Bonferroni adjusted P=0.031).
Conclusions
We conclude that variability at the PCSK5 locus influences HDL-C levels, possibly through the inactivation of EL activity and consequently, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk.
doi:10.1161/CIRCGENETICS.109.877811
PMCID: PMC2901678  PMID: 20031622
cholesterol; coronary disease; genetics; lipids; lipoproteins

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