Polymorphisms in the gene encoding SORL1, involved in cellular trafficking of APP, have been implicated in late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, by a mechanism thought to affect mRNA expression. To search for regulatory polymorphisms, we have measured allele-specific mRNA expression of SORL1 in human autopsy tissues from the prefrontal cortex of 26 Alzheimer’s patients, and 51 controls, using two synonymous marker SNPs (rs3824968 in exon 34 (11 heterozygous AD subjects and 16 controls), and rs12364988 in exon 6 (8 heterozygous AD subjects)). Significant allelic expression imbalance (AEI), indicative of the presence of cis-acting regulatory factors, was detected in a single control subject, while allelic ratios were near unity for all other subjects. We genotyped 7 SNPs in two haplotype blocks that had previously been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. Since each of these SNPs was heterozygous in several subjects lacking AEI, this study fails to support a regulatory role for SORL1 polymorphisms in mRNA expression.
Alzheimer’s disease; SORL1; Allelic expression imbalance
For a diploid organism such as human, the two alleles of a particular gene can be expressed at different levels due to X chromosome inactivation, gene imprinting, different local promoter activity, or mRNA stability. Recently, imbalanced allelic expression was found to be common in human and can follow Mendelian inheritance. Here we present a method that employs real competitive PCR for allele-specific expression analysis.
A transcribed mutation such as a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) is used as the marker for allele-specific expression analysis. A synthetic mutation created in the competitor is close to a natural mutation site in the cDNA sequence. PCR is used to amplify the two cDNA sequences from the two alleles and the competitor. A base extension reaction with a mixture of ddNTPs/dNTP is used to generate three oligonucleotides for the two cDNAs and the competitor. The three products are identified and their ratios are calculated based on their peak areas in the MALDI-TOF mass spectrum. Several examples are given to illustrate how allele-specific gene expression can be applied in different biological studies.
This technique can quantify the absolute expression level of each individual allele of a gene with high precision and throughput.
allele-specific; gene expression; MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry; PCR; heterozygous
DT-diaphorase, a cytosolic reductase, has been implicated as an activator of chemotherapeutic prodrugs and a detoxifier of certain potentially carcinogenic xenobiotics. A common C to T nucleotide 609 substitution in DT-diaphorase cDNA has been associated with protein instability and reduced catalytic activity. The degree to which the allelic status of the substitution correlates with enzymatic activity was assessed in 45 normal human skin fibroblast strains using a PCR-RFLP assay. Included in this study was the 3437T strain, which is unique in that it is heterozygous for the polymorphism yet contains undetectable enzymatic activity. An allele-specific RT-PCR-RFLP technique attributed this phenomenon to exclusive DT-diaphorase mRNA expression from the variant allele. Overlap in activities was observed between individual strains homozygous for the wild-type allele and heterozygotes, but the former group displayed enzymatic activity that was on average 2-fold higher. Western blot analysis of the two strains in this panel that are homozygous for the variant allele revealed that they express relatively low amounts of DT-diaphorase protein, consistent with the role of the substitution in protein instability. This work confirms that genotypic status is a reliable initial estimate of DT-diaphorase activity. © 2000 Cancer Research Campaign
DT-diaphorase; polymorphism; RT-PCR-RFLP; genotype; activity
Fine mapping of calcineurin (PPP3CA) gene identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and simple sequence repeat polymorphisms that are associated with addiction vulnerability. A trinucleotide repeat marker, located in the 5′ untranslated region (5′UTR) of the PPP3CA mRNA, exhibited significantly different genotype and allele frequencies between abusers and controls in the NIDA African–American sample. The polymorphism showed allelic-specific expression in mRNA extracted from postmortem brain specimens. Novel alternatively spliced isoforms of PPP3CA were identified and their expressions were found altered in brain regions of postmortem Alzheimer's disease patients. These data underscore the importance of calcineurin gene in the molecular mechanism of addiction and Alzheimer's diseases.
phosphatase; SNP association; gene regulation; alternative splicing
Previously, we have shown that alleles of the BM1500 microsatellite, located 3.6 kb downstream of the leptin gene in cattle, were associated with carcass fat measures in a population of 154 unrelated beef bulls. Subsequently, a cytosine (C) to thymine (T) transition that encoded an amino acid change of an arginine to a cysteine was identified in exon 2 of the leptin gene. A PCR-RFLP was designed and allele frequencies in four beef breeds were correlated with levels of carcass fat. The T allele was associated with fatter carcasses and the C allele with leaner carcasses. The frequencies of the SNP alleles among breeds indicated that British breeds have a higher frequency of the T allele whereas the continental breeds have a higher occurrence of the C allele. A ribonuclease protection assay was developed to quantify leptin mRNA in a separate group of animals selected by genotype. Animals homozygous for thymine expressed higher levels of leptin mRNA. This may suggest that the T allele, which adds an extra cysteine to the protein, imparts a partial loss of biological function and hence could be the causative mutation.
leptin; cattle; obese; fat; marbling
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified numerous loci associated with various complex traits for which the underlying susceptibility gene(s) remain unknown. In a GWAS for high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) level, one strongly associated locus contains at least two biologically compelling candidates, methylmalonic aciduria cblB type (MMAB) and mevalonate kinase (MVK). To detect evidence of cis-acting regulation at this locus, we measured relative allelic expression of transcribed SNPs in five genes using human hepatocyte samples heterozygous for the transcribed SNP. If an HDL-C-associated SNP allele differentially regulates mRNA level in cis, samples heterozygous both for a transcribed SNP and an HDL-C-associated SNP should display allelic expression imbalance (AEI) of the transcribed SNP. We designed statistical tests to detect AEI in a comprehensive set of linkage disequilibrium (LD) scenarios between the transcribed SNP and an HDL-C-associated SNP (rs7298565) in phase unknown samples. We observed significant AEI of 22% in MMAB (P = 1.4 × 10−13, transcribed SNP rs11067231), and the allele associated with lower HDL-C level was associated with greater MMAB transcript level. The same rs7298565 allele was also associated with higher MMAB mRNA level (P = 0.0081) and higher MMAB protein level (P = 0.0020). In contrast, MVK, UBE3B, KCTD10 and ACACB did not show significant AEI (P ≥ 0.05). These data suggest MMAB is the most likely gene influencing HDL-C levels at this locus and demonstrate that measuring AEI at loci containing more than one candidate gene can prioritize genes for functional studies.
Allele-specific gene silencing by RNA interference (RNAi) is therapeutically useful for specifically suppressing the expression of alleles associated with disease. To realize such allele-specific RNAi (ASPRNAi), the design and assessment of small interfering RNA (siRNA) duplexes conferring ASP-RNAi is vital, but is also difficult. Here, we show ASP-RNAi against the Swedish- and London-type amyloid precursor protein (APP) variants related to familial Alzheimer′s disease using two reporter alleles encoding the Photinus and Renilla luciferase genes and carrying mutant and wild-type allelic sequences in their 3′-untranslated regions. We examined the effects of siRNA duplexes against the mutant alleles in allele-specific gene silencing and off-target silencing against the wild-type allele under heterozygous conditions, which were generated by cotransfecting the reporter alleles and siRNA duplexes into cultured human cells. Consistently, the siRNA duplexes determined to confer ASP-RNAi also inhibited the expression of the bona fide mutant APP and the production of either amyloid β 40- or 42-peptide in Cos-7 cells expressing both the full-length Swedish- and wild-type APP alleles. The present data suggest that the system with reporter alleles may permit the preclinical assessment of siRNA duplexes conferring ASP-RNAi, and thus contribute to the design and selection of the most suitable of such siRNA duplexes.
RNAi; allele-specific gene silencing; amyloid precursor protein; Swedish mutation; London mutation; reporter allele
Genetic variation in mRNA expression plays a critical role in human phenotypic diversity, but it has proven difficult to detect regulatory polymorphisms - mostly single nucleotide polymorphisms (rSNPs). Additionally, variants in the transcribed region, termed here ‘structural RNA SNPs’ (srSNPs), can affect mRNA processing and turnover. Both rSNPs and srSNPs cause allelic mRNA expression imbalance (AEI) in heterozygous individuals. We have applied a rapid and accurate AEI methodology for testing 42 genes implicated in human diseases and drug response, specifically cardiovascular and CNS diseases, and affecting drug metabolism and transport. Each gene was analyzed in physiologically relevant human autopsy tissues, including brain, heart, liver, intestines, and lymphocytes. Substantial AEI was observed in ∼55% of the surveyed genes. Focusing on cardiovascular candidate genes in human hearts, AEI analysis revealed frequent cis-acting regulatory factors in SOD2 and ACE mRNA expression, having potential clinical significance. SNP scanning to locate regulatory polymorphisms in a number of genes failed to support several previously proposed promoter SNPs discovered with use of reporter gene assays in heterologous tissues, while srSNPs appear more frequent than expected. Computational analysis of mRNA folding indicates that ∼90% of srSNPs affects mRNA folding, and hence potentially function. Our results indicate that both rSNPs and srSNPs represent a still largely untapped reservoir of variants that contribute to human phenotypic diversity.
Motivation: Next-generation sequencing has become an important tool for genome-wide quantification of DNA and RNA. However, a major technical hurdle lies in the need to map short sequence reads back to their correct locations in a reference genome. Here, we investigate the impact of SNP variation on the reliability of read-mapping in the context of detecting allele-specific expression (ASE).
Results: We generated 16 million 35 bp reads from mRNA of each of two HapMap Yoruba individuals. When we mapped these reads to the human genome we found that, at heterozygous SNPs, there was a significant bias toward higher mapping rates of the allele in the reference sequence, compared with the alternative allele. Masking known SNP positions in the genome sequence eliminated the reference bias but, surprisingly, did not lead to more reliable results overall. We find that even after masking, ∼5–10% of SNPs still have an inherent bias toward more effective mapping of one allele. Filtering out inherently biased SNPs removes 40% of the top signals of ASE. The remaining SNPs showing ASE are enriched in genes previously known to harbor cis-regulatory variation or known to show uniparental imprinting. Our results have implications for a variety of applications involving detection of alternate alleles from short-read sequence data.
Availability: Scripts, written in Perl and R, for simulating short reads, masking SNP variation in a reference genome and analyzing the simulation output are available upon request from JFD. Raw short read data were deposited in GEO (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/geo/) under accession number GSE18156.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
To identify the mechanisms underlying the decreased allelic expression of a common CYP2A13 allele (7520C>G) in the human lung; CYP2A13 is expressed selectively in the respiratory tract, and is highly efficient in the metabolic activation of several chemical carcinogens.
The 7520C/G alleles were compared for mRNA stability in cells and relative heterogenous nuclear RNA (hnRNA) levels in human lungs. Promoter region SNPs were identified and analyzed through in vitro reporter gene assays and gel-shift assays, in order to uncover the causative SNPs responsible for the decreased allelic expression.
1) The 7520C>G SNP does not influence CYP2A13 mRNA stability in CYP2A13-transfected human lung or nasal epithelial cells; 2) levels of the 7520G hnRNA were consistently lower (<10%) than the levels of the 7520C hnRNA in lung samples from nine heterozygous individuals; 3) three SNPs (−1479T>C, −3101T>G, and −7756G>A) in linkage disequilibrium with the 7520C>G variation were found to cause altered interaction with DNA-binding proteins and decreases in promoter activity; 4) the suppressive effects of the −1479T>C, −3101T>G, and −7756G>A SNPs on the CYP2A13 promoter were additive, while the negative effects of the −1479T>C SNP were enhanced by methylation of the −1479C.
The decrease in expression of the 7520G allele was due to cumulative suppressive effects of multiple SNPs, with each by itself having a relatively small effect on CYP2A13 transcription.
CYP2A13; Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms; Allelic expression; Transcriptional regulation
The present study represents the first attempt to functionally characterize two common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the 3'untranslated regions (3'UTRs) of estrogen receptor β (ERβ), focusing on the differences between alleles with regard to mRNA stability and translatability. These two ERβ SNPs have been investigated for association with disease in a large number of reports.
Here we examined allelic expression in breast tumor samples from heterozygous individuals. A significant difference in mRNA levels of the two alleles was observed for one of the SNPs. A cell model system was employed to further investigate potential molecular effects of the two SNPs. We used a modified plasmid, containing the ERβ promoter and ERβ 3'UTRs which include the different alleles of investigated SNPs. Quantitative Real-Time PCR was used to determine mRNA levels after inhibition of transcription by actinomycin D, and a luciferase assay was used to determine protein levels. The obtained results suggested that there was no difference in mRNA stability or translatability between the alleles of investigated SNPs.
Our results indicate that observed associations between ERβ 3'UTR SNPs and disease susceptibility are due to linkage disequilibrium with another gene variant, rather than the variant itself being the susceptibility factor.
Elevated expression of the prostaglandin synthase cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is commonly observed in many chronic inflammatory diseases and cancer. However, the mechanisms allowing for pathogenic COX-2 overexpression are largely unknown. The gene for COX-2 (PTGS2) carries a common single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) at position 8473 (T8473C), in exon 10 that is associated with diseases in which COX-2 overexpression is a contributing factor. We demonstrate that the T8473C SNP resides within a region that targets COX-2 mRNA for degradation through microRNA-mediated regulation. miR-542-3p was identified to bind transcripts derived from the 8473T allele and promote mRNA decay. By contrast, the presence of the variant 8473C allele interfered with miR-542-3p binding, allowing for mRNA stabilization, and this effect was rescued using a mutated miR-542-3p at the respective 8473 site. Colon cancer cells and tissue displayed COX-2 mRNA levels that were dependent on T8473C allele dosage, and allele-specific expression of COX-2 was observed to be a contributing factor promoting COX-2 overexpression. These findings provide a novel molecular explanation underlying disease susceptibility associated with COX-2 T8473C SNP, and identify it as a potential marker for identifying cancer patients best served through selective COX-2 inhibition.
COX-2; post-transcriptional regulation; microRNA; SNP; polymorphism
SORL1 has been identified as a major contributor to Late-Onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD). We test whether genetic variability in the 5′of SORL1 gene modulates the risk to develop LOAD via regulation of SORL1-mRNA expression and splicing. Two brain structures, differentially vulnerable to LOAD pathology, were examined in 144 brain samples from 92 neurologically normal individuals. The temporal cortex, which is more susceptible to Alzheimer’s pathology, demonstrated ~2-fold increase in SORL1-mRNAs levels in carriers of the minor alleles at SNPs, rs7945931 and rs2298525, compared to non-carriers. No genetic effect on total-SORL1-mRNA levels was detected in the frontal-cortex. However, rs11600875 minor allele was associated with significantly increased levels of exon-2 skipping, but only in frontal cortex. No correlation of SORL1-mRNAs expression was found between frontal and temporal cortexes. Collectively, indicating the brain-region specificity of the genetic regulation of SORL1 expression. Our results suggest that genetic regulation of SORL1 expression plays a role in disease risk and maybe responsible for the reported LOAD-associations. Further studies to detect the actual pathogenic variant/s are necessary.
SORL1; Alzheimer’s disease; mRNA; splicing; correlation to gene expression
The minor allele of rs11136000 within CLU is strongly associated with reduced Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk. The mechanism underlying this association is unclear. Here, we report that CLU1 and CLU2 are the two primary CLU isoforms in human brain; CLU1 and CLU2 share exons 2–9 but differ in exon 1 and proximal promoters. The expression of both CLU1 and CLU2 was increased in individuals with significant AD neuropathology. However, only CLU1 was associated with the rs11136000 genotype, with the minor “protective” rs11136000T allele being associated with increased CLU1 expression. Since CLU1 and CLU2 are predicted to encode intracellular and secreted proteins, respectively, we compared their expression; for both CLU1 and CLU2 transfected cells, clusterin is present in the secretory pathway, accumulates in the extracellular media, and is similar in size to clusterin in human brain. Overall, we interpret these results as indicating that the AD-protective minor rs11136000T allele is associated with increased CLU1 expression. Since CLU1 and CLU2 appear to produce similar proteins and are increased in AD, the AD-protection afforded by the rs11136000T allele may reflect increased soluble clusterin throughout life.
The gene encoding the dopamine transporter (DAT) has been implicated in CNS disorders, but the responsible polymorphisms remain uncertain. To search for regulatory polymorphisms, we measured allelic DAT mRNA expression in substantia nigra of human autopsy brain tissues, using two marker SNPs (rs6347 in exon 9 and rs27072 in the 3′-UTR). Allelic mRNA expression imbalance (AEI), an indicator of cis-acting regulatory polymorphisms, was observed in all tissues heterozygous for either of the two marker SNPs. SNP scanning of the DAT locus with AEI ratios as the phenotype, followed by in vitro molecular genetics studies, demonstrated that rs27072 C>T affects mRNA expression and translation. Expression of the minor T allele was dynamically regulated in transfected cell cultures, possibly involving microRNA interactions. Both rs6347 and rs3836790 (intron8 5/6 VNTR) also seemed to affect DAT expression, but not the commonly tested 9/10 VNTR in the 3′UTR (rs28363170). All four polymorphisms (rs6347, intron8 5/6 VNTR, rs27072 and 3′UTR 9/10 VNTR) were genotyped in clinical cohorts, representing schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and controls. Only rs27072 was significantly associated with bipolar disorder (OR=2.1, p=0.03). This result was replicated in a second bipolar/control population (OR=1.65, p=0.01), supporting a critical role for DAT regulation in bipolar disorder.
dopamine transporter; bipolar disorder; allelic expression imbalance; SLC6A3; rs27072; Dopamine; Depression; Unipolar/Bipolar; Pharmacogenetics/Pharmacogenomics; Neurogenetics; Allelic expression imbalance; Dopamine transporter; SLC6A3
Measuring allelic RNA expression ratios is a powerful approach for detecting cis-acting regulatory variants, RNA editing, loss of heterozygosity in cancer, copy number variation, and allele-specific epigenetic gene silencing. Whole transcriptome RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) has emerged as a genome-wide tool for identifying allelic expression imbalance (AEI), but numerous factors bias allelic RNA ratio measurements. Here, we compare RNA-Seq allelic ratios measured in nine different human brain regions with a highly sensitive and accurate SNaPshot measure of allelic RNA ratios, identifying factors affecting reliable allelic ratio measurement. Accounting for these factors, we subsequently surveyed the variability of RNA editing across brain regions and across individuals.
We find that RNA-Seq allelic ratios from standard alignment methods correlate poorly with SNaPshot, but applying alternative alignment strategies and correcting for observed biases significantly improves correlations. Deploying these methods on a transcriptome-wide basis in nine brain regions from a single individual, we identified genes with AEI across all regions (SLC1A3, NHP2L1) and many others with region-specific AEI. In dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) tissues from 14 individuals, we found evidence for frequent regulatory variants affecting RNA expression in tens to hundreds of genes, depending on stringency for assigning AEI. Further, we find that the extent and variability of RNA editing is similar across brain regions and across individuals.
These results identify critical factors affecting allelic ratios measured by RNA-Seq and provide a foundation for using this technology to screen allelic RNA expression on a transcriptome-wide basis. Using this technology as a screening tool reveals tens to hundreds of genes harboring frequent functional variants affecting RNA expression in the human brain. With respect to RNA editing, the similarities within and between individuals leads us to conclude that this post-transcriptional process is under heavy regulatory influence to maintain an optimal degree of editing for normal biological function.
RNA-Seq; Whole transcriptome; Allele expression; mRNA expression; Functional genetics; Regulatory polymorphism; eQTL; Read alignment; Next generation sequencing; Bioinformatics
Previous studies in animals and humans have implicated the X-chromosome STS gene in the etiology of attentional difficulties and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This family based association study has fine mapped a region of the STS gene across intron 1 and 2 previously associated with ADHD, in an extended sample of 450 ADHD probands and their parents. Significant association across this region is demonstrated individually with 7 of the 12 genotyped SNPs, as well as an allele specific haplotype of the 12 SNPs. The over transmitted risk allele of rs12861247 was also associated with reduced STS mRNA expression in normal human post-mortem frontal cortex brain tissue compared to the non-risk allele (P = 0.01). These results are consistent with the hypothesis arising from previous literature demonstrating that boys with deletions of the STS gene, and hence no STS protein are at a significantly increased risk of developing ADHD. Furthermore, this study has established the brain tissue transcript of STS, which except from adipose tissue, differs from that seen in all other tissues investigated. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
steroid sulfatase; ADHD; association study; human brain tissue; mRNA
Genomic imprinting characterizes genes with a monoallelic expression, which is dependent on the parental origin of each allele. Approximately 150 imprinted genes are known to date, in humans and mice but, though computational searches have tried to extract intrinsic characteristics of these genes to identify new ones, the existing list is probably far from being comprehensive. We used a high-throughput strategy by diverting the classical use of genotyping microarrays to compare the genotypes of mRNA/cDNA vs. genomic DNA to identify new genes presenting monoallelic expression, starting from human placental material. After filtering of data, we obtained a list of 1,082 putative candidate monoallelic SNPs located in more than one hundred candidate genes. Among these, we found known imprinted genes, such as IPW, GRB10, INPP5F and ZNF597, which contribute to validate the approach. We also explored some likely candidates of our list and identified seven new imprinted genes, including ZFAT, ZFAT-AS1, GLIS3, NTM, MAGI2, ZC3H12Cand LIN28B, four of which encode zinc finger transcription factors. They are, however, not imprinted in the mouse placenta, except for Magi2. We analyzed in more details the ZFAT gene, which is paternally expressed in the placenta (as ZFAT-AS1, a non-coding antisense RNA) but biallelic in other tissues. The ZFAT protein is expressed in endothelial cells, as well as in syncytiotrophoblasts. The expression of this gene is, moreover, downregulated in placentas from complicated pregnancies. With this work we increase by about 10% the number of known imprinted genes in humans.
parental imprinting; placenta; monoallelic expression; zinc finger; gene
We developed a digital RNA allelotyping method for quantitatively interrogating allele-specific gene expression. This method involves ultra-deep sequencing of padlock captured SNPs from the transcriptome. We characterized four cell lines established from two human subjects in the Personal Genome Project. Approximately 11–22% of the heterozygous mRNA-associated SNPs show allele-specific expression in each cell line; and 4.3–8.5% are tissue-specific, suggesting the presence of tissue-specific cis-regulation. When applied to two pairs of sibling human embryonic stem cell lines, the sibling lines were more similar in allele-specific expression than were the genetically unrelated lines. We found that the variation of allelic ratios in gene expression among different cell lines is primarily explained by genetic variations, much more so than by specific tissue types or culturing conditions. Comparison of expressed SNPs on the sense and anti-sense transcripts suggested that allelic ratios are primarily determined by cis-regulatory mechanisms on the sense transcripts.
The imprinted mouse gene Gnas produces the G protein α-subunit GSα and several other gene products by using alternative promoters and first exons. GSα is maternally expressed in some tissues and biallelically expressed in most other tissues, while the gene products NESP55 and XLαs are maternally and paternally expressed, respectively. We investigated the mechanisms of Gnas imprinting. The GSα promoter and first exon are not methylated on either allele. A further upstream region (approximately from positions −3400 to −939 relative to the GSα translational start site) is methylated only on the maternal allele in all adult somatic tissues and in early postimplantation development. Within this region lies a fourth promoter and first exon (exon 1A) that generates paternal-specific mRNAs of unknown function. Exon 1A and GSα mRNAs have similar expression patterns, making competition between their promoters unlikely. Differential methylation in this region is established during gametogenesis, being present in oocytes and absent in spermatozoa, and is maintained in preimplantation E3.5d blastocysts. Therefore, this region is a methylation imprint mark. In contrast, differential methylation of the NESP55 and XLαs promoter regions (Nesp and Gnasxl) is not established during gametogenesis. The methylation imprint mark that we identified may be important for the tissue-specific imprinting of GSα.
Studies in humans and animals suggest a role for NPY in the mediation of behavioral stress responses. Here, we examined whether the NPY promoter variant rs16147:T>C is functional for expression of NPY in a brain region relevant for behavioral control, anxiety and depression, the anterior cingulate cortex. In silico analysis of DNA structural profile changes produced by rs16147 variation suggests allelic differences in protein binding at the rs16147 site. This was confirmed by electrophoretic mobility shift assay, demonstrating that the rs16147 C-allele has strongly reduced affinity for a yet unknown factor compared to the T-allele. Analyzing 107 human post-mortem brain samples we show that allelic variation at rs16147 contributes to regulation of NPY mRNA and peptide levels in this region. Specifically, the C-allele leads to increased gene expression. In agreement with the molecular findings, rs16147:T>C is associated with anxiety and depressive symptoms in 314 young adults via a gene × environment interaction with early childhood adversity, replicating the recent finding of rs16147-C as a risk factor for stress related psychopathology. Our results show the importance of rs16147:T>C for regulation of NPY gene expression and brain function.
NPY; promoter variant; brain; gene expression; stress coping
Imprinted in placenta and liver (IPL) gene has been identified as an imprinted gene in the mouse and human. Its sequence and imprinting status, however, have not been determined in the domestic pigs. In the present study, a 259 base pair-specific sequence for IPL gene of the domestic pig was obtained and a novel SNP, a T/C transition, was identified in IPL exon 1. The C allele of this polymorphism was found to be the predominant allele in Landrace,Yorkshire, and Duroc. The frequency of CC genotype and C allele are different in Duroc as compared with Yorkshire (P = .038 and P = .005, resp.). Variable imprinting status of this gene was observed in different developmental stages. For example, it is imprinted in 1-dayold newborns (expressed from the maternal allele), but imprinting was lost in 180-day-old adult (expressed from both parental alleles). Real-time PCR analysis showed the porcine IPL gene is expressed in all tested eight organ/tissues. The expression level was significantly higher in spleen, duodenum, lung, and bladder of 180-day-old Lantang adult compared to that in 1-day-old newborns Lantang pigs (P < .05). In conclusion, the imprinting of the porcine IPL gene is developmental stage and tissue specific.
The cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA4) is an inhibitory receptor expressed on activated T cells with downregulatory properties. The aim of this study was to analyse whether single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the CTLA4 gene are associated with the diagnosis and disease course of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). In two independent cohorts of DCM patients (n=251 and 223) and healthy controls (n=591), the promoter and all four exons of the CTLA4 gene, including their flanking regions, were genotyped, and the resulting allele and genotype distributions of the identified SNPs were compared between the groups. We confirmed two known SNPs in the promoter region (−318C>T) and in exon 1 (+49A>G;Thr17Ala). The allelic frequencies and genotypic distribution of the promoter SNP were similar for DCM patients compared with controls. However, the G/G genotype of the Thr17Ala variant was significantly more frequent in DCM patients compared with controls (37 out of 251 patients (14.7%) versus 44 out of 591 controls (7.4%), P=0.005). The higher frequency of the G/G genotype was confirmed in an additional DCM cohort (29 out of 223 patients (13.0%), P=0.039), indicating that this SNP functions as a risk factor for DCM. At follow-up after 1 year, the ejection fraction and the end-diastolic diameter of the left ventricle did not differ significantly between DCM patients carrying the G/G genotype versus other genotypes (n=199). Our data indicate that the common CTLA4 variant, Thr17Ala, confers susceptibility for DCM, but does not seem to influence the course of the disease 1 year after diagnosis.
dilated cardiomyopathy; genotyping; CTLA4; T-cell activation; immune regulation
Previous studies have reported the existence of eleven different single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within human PECAM-1 mRNA, several of which have recently been associated with disease. Though SNPs in the PECAM-1 gene have been known for some time, the genetic background on which they exist, and their association into distinct allelic isoforms has not yet been established. To identify the major allelic isoforms of PECAM-1, we determined the nucleotide sequence of individual full-length cloned cDNAs derived from anonymous, unrelated volunteer individuals. Initial sequence analysis of 34 alleles from 17 individuals confirmed the presence of two distinct human PECAM-1 alleles (L98S536R643 and V98N536G643) within the human population. Each of these were found, upon more detailed analysis, to be superimposed on a previously unreported a2479g nucleotide polymorphism within the 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR) that occurred on both allelic isoforms - yielding a total of four major alleles. Multiplex Luminex bead analysis of an additional 259 individuals allowed identification of 117 individuals homozygous for either the L98S536 or V98N536 allele, and sequence analysis around the R643G and a2479g polymorphic sites permitted accurate determination of significant differences in the gene frequencies of LSRa, LSRg, VNGa, and VNGg among Caucasian individuals. Identification of these PECAM-1 allelic isoforms should facilitate future detailed examination of PECAM-1-related disease associations, and may help resolve previously disparate results.
single nucleotide polymorphism; disease association; CD31; PECAM-1
Common genetic variants that regulate gene expression are widely suspected to contribute to the etiology and phenotypic variability of complex diseases. Although high-throughput, microarray-based assays have been developed to measure differences in mRNA expression among independent samples, these assays often lack the sensitivity to detect rare mRNAs and the reproducibility to quantify small changes in mRNA expression. By contrast, PCR-based allelic expression imbalance (AEI) assays, which use a "marker" single nucleotide polymorphism (mSNP) in the mRNA to distinguish expression from pairs of genetic alleles in individual samples, have high sensitivity and accuracy, allowing differences in mRNA expression greater than 1.2-fold to be quantified with high reproducibility. In this paper, we describe the use of an efficient PCR/next-generation DNA sequencing-based assay to analyze allele-specific differences in mRNA expression for candidate neuropsychiatric disorder genes in human brain.
Using our assay, we successfully analyzed AEI for 70 candidate neuropsychiatric disorder genes in 52 independent human brain samples. Among these genes, 62/70 (89%) showed AEI ratios greater than 1 ± 0.2 in at least one sample and 8/70 (11%) showed no AEI. Arranging log2AEI ratios in increasing order from negative-to-positive values revealed highly reproducible distributions of log2AEI ratios that are distinct for each gene/marker SNP combination. Mathematical modeling suggests that these log2AEI distributions can provide important clues concerning the number, location and contributions of cis-acting regulatory variants to mRNA expression.
We have developed a highly sensitive and reproducible method for quantifying AEI of mRNA expressed in human brain. Importantly, this assay allowed quantification of differential mRNA expression for many candidate disease genes entirely missed in previously published microarray-based studies of mRNA expression in human brain. Given the ability of next-generation sequencing technology to generate large numbers of independent sequencing reads, our method should be suitable for analyzing from 100- to 200-candidate genes in 100 samples in a single experiment. We believe that this is the appropriate scale for investigating variation in mRNA expression for defined sets candidate disorder genes, allowing, for example, comprehensive coverage of genes that function within biological pathways implicated in specific disorders. The combination of AEI measurements and mathematical modeling described in this study can assist in identifying SNPs that correlate with mRNA expression. Alleles of these SNPs (individually or as sets) that accurately predict high- or low-mRNA expression should be useful as markers in genetic association studies aimed at linking candidate genes to specific neuropsychiatric disorders.