OBJECTIVE—This study examined how differences in the BMI distribution of type 2 diabetic case subjects affected genome-wide patterns of type 2 diabetes association and considered the implications for the etiological heterogeneity of type 2 diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—We reanalyzed data from the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium genome-wide association scan (1,924 case subjects, 2,938 control subjects: 393,453 single-nucleotide polymorphisms [SNPs]) after stratifying case subjects (into “obese” and “nonobese”) according to median BMI (30.2 kg/m2). Replication of signals in which alternative case-ascertainment strategies generated marked effect size heterogeneity in type 2 diabetes association signal was sought in additional samples.
RESULTS—In the “obese-type 2 diabetes” scan, FTO variants had the strongest type 2 diabetes effect (rs8050136: relative risk [RR] 1.49 [95% CI 1.34–1.66], P = 1.3 × 10−13), with only weak evidence for TCF7L2 (rs7901695 RR 1.21 [1.09–1.35], P = 0.001). This situation was reversed in the “nonobese” scan, with FTO association undetectable (RR 1.07 [0.97–1.19], P = 0.19) and TCF7L2 predominant (RR 1.53 [1.37–1.71], P = 1.3 × 10−14). These patterns, confirmed by replication, generated strong combined evidence for between-stratum effect size heterogeneity (FTO: PDIFF = 1.4 × 10−7; TCF7L2: PDIFF = 4.0 × 10−6). Other signals displaying evidence of effect size heterogeneity in the genome-wide analyses (on chromosomes 3, 12, 15, and 18) did not replicate. Analysis of the current list of type 2 diabetes susceptibility variants revealed nominal evidence for effect size heterogeneity for the SLC30A8 locus alone (RRobese 1.08 [1.01–1.15]; RRnonobese 1.18 [1.10–1.27]: PDIFF = 0.04).
CONCLUSIONS—This study demonstrates the impact of differences in case ascertainment on the power to detect and replicate genetic associations in genome-wide association studies. These data reinforce the notion that there is substantial etiological heterogeneity within type 2 diabetes.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have emerged as a powerful approach for identifying susceptibility loci associated with polygenetic diseases such as type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). However, it is still a daunting task to prioritize single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from GWAS for further replication in different population. Several recent studies have shown that genetic variation often affects gene-expression at proximal (cis) as well as distal (trans) genomic locations by different mechanisms such as altering rate of transcription or splicing or transcript stability.
To prioritize SNPs from GWAS, we combined results from two GWAS related to T2DM, the Diabetes Genetics Initiative (DGI) and the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC), with genome-wide expression data from pancreas, adipose tissue, liver and skeletal muscle of individuals with or without T2DM or animal models thereof to identify T2DM susceptibility loci.
We identified 1,170 SNPs associated with T2DM with P < 0.05 in both GWAS and 243 genes that were located in the vicinity of these SNPs. Out of these 243 genes, we identified 115 differentially expressed in publicly available gene expression profiling data. Notably five of them, IGF2BP2, KCNJ11, NOTCH2, TCF7L2 and TSPAN8, have subsequently been shown to be associated with T2DM in different populations. To provide further validation of our approach, we reversed the approach and started with 26 known SNPs associated with T2DM and related traits. We could show that 12 (57%) (HHEX, HNF1B, IGF2BP2, IRS1, KCNJ11, KCNQ1, NOTCH2, PPARG, TCF7L2, THADA, TSPAN8 and WFS1) out of 21 genes located in vicinity of these SNPs were showing aberrant expression in T2DM from the gene expression profiling studies.
Utilizing of gene expression profiling data from different tissues of individuals with or without T2DM or animal models thereof is a powerful tool for prioritizing SNPs from WGAS for further replication studies.
In the presence of epistasis multilocus association tests of human complex traits can provide powerful methods to detect susceptibility variants. We undertook multilocus analyses in 1924 type 2 diabetes cases and 2938 controls from the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC). We performed a two-dimensional genome-wide association (GWA) scan using joint two-locus tests of association including main and epistatic effects in 70,236 markers tagging common variants. We found two-locus association at 79 SNP-pairs at a Bonferroni-corrected P-value = 0.05 (uncorrected P-value = 2.14 × 10−11). The 79 pair-wise results always contained rs11196205 in TCF7L2 paired with 79 variants including confirmed variants in FTO, TSPAN8, and CDKAL1, which are associated in the absence of epistasis. However, the majority (82%) of the 79 variants did not have compelling single-locus association signals (P-value = 5 × 10−4). Analyses conditional on the single-locus effects at TCF7L2 established that the joint two-locus results could be attributed to single-locus association at TCF7L2 alone. Interaction analyses among the peak 80 regions and among 23 previously established diabetes candidate genes identified five SNP-pairs with case-control and case-only epistatic signals. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of systematic scans in GWA data, but confirm that single-locus association can underlie and obscure multilocus findings.
Epistasis; simultaneous search; joint effects; genome-wide association
The two genome-wide association studies published by us and by the Wellcome Trust Case-Control Consortium (WTCCC) revealed a number of novel loci but neither had the statistical power to elucidate all of the genetic components of type 1 diabetes risk, a task for which larger effective sample sizes are needed.
We analyzed data from two sources: 1) The previously published second stage of our study, with a total sample size of the two stages consisting of 1,046 Canadian case-parent trios and 538 multiplex families with 929 affected offspring from the Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium (T1DGC); 2) The RR2 project of the T1DGC, which genotyped 4,417 individuals from 1,062 non-overlapping families, including 2,059 affected individuals (mostly sibling pairs) for the 1,536 markers with the highest statistical significance for type 1 diabetes in the WTCCC results.
One locus, mapping to an LD block at chr15q14, reached statistical significance by combining results from two markers (rs17574546 and rs7171171) in perfect linkage disequilibrium (LD) with each other (r2=1). We obtained a joint p value of 1.3 ×10−6, which exceeds by an order of magnitude the conservative threshold of 3.26×10−5 obtained by correcting for the 1,536 SNPs tested in our study. Meta-analysis with the original WTCCC genome-wide data produced a p value of 5.83×10−9.
A novel type 1 diabetes locus was discovered. It involves RASGRP1, a gene known to play a crucial role in thymocyte differentiation and TCR signaling by activating the Ras signaling pathway.
Etiology; Genetic susceptibility; Type 1 diabetes; RASGRP1
With the exception of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and STAT4, no other rheumatoid arthritis (RA) linkage peak has been successfully fine-mapped to date. This apparent failure to identify association under peaks of linkage could be ascribed to the examination of common variation, when linkage is likely to be driven by rare variants. The purpose of this study was to investigate the overlap between genome-wide rare variant RA association signals observed in the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) study and 11 replicating RA linkage peaks, defined as regions with evidence for linkage in >1 study.
The WTCCC data set contained 40,482 variants with minor allele frequency of ≤0.05 in 1,860 RA patients and 2,938 controls. Genotypes of all rare variants within a given gene region were collapsed into a single locus and a global P value was calculated per gene.
The distribution of rare variant signals (association P ≤ 10−5) was found to differ significantly between regions with and without linkage evidence (P = 2 × 10−17 by Fisher’s exact test). No significant difference was observed after data from the MHC region were removed or when the effect of the HLA–DRB1 locus was accounted for.
The results suggest that rare variant association signals are significantly overrepresented under linkage peaks in RA, but the effect is driven by the MHC. This is the first study to examine the overlap between linkage peaks and rare variant association signals genome-wide in a complex disease.
Psychiatric phenotypes are currently defined according to sets of
descriptive criteria. Although many of these phenotypes are heritable, it
would be useful to know whether any of the various diagnostic categories in
current use identify cases that are particularly helpful for
To use genome-wide genetic association data to explore the relative genetic
utility of seven different descriptive operational diagnostic categories
relevant to bipolar illness within a large UK case–control bipolar
We analysed our previously published Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium
(WTCCC) bipolar disorder genome-wide association data-set, comprising 1868
individuals with bipolar disorder and 2938 controls genotyped for 276 122
single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that met stringent criteria for
genotype quality. For each SNP we performed a test of association (bipolar
disorder group v. control group) and used the number of associated
independent SNPs statistically significant at P<0.00001 as a
metric for the overall genetic signal in the sample. We next compared this
metric with that obtained using each of seven diagnostic subsets of the group
with bipolar disorder: Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDC): bipolar I disorder;
manic disorder; bipolar II disorder; schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type;
DSM–IV: bipolar I disorder; bipolar II disorder; schizoaffective
disorder, bipolar type.
The RDC schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type (v. controls) stood
out from the other diagnostic subsets as having a significant excess of
independent association signals (P<0.003) compared with that
expected in samples of the same size selected randomly from the total bipolar
disorder group data-set. The strongest association in this subset of
participants with bipolar disorder was at rs4818065 (P =
2.42×10–7). Biological systems implicated included
gamma amniobutyric acid (GABA)A receptors. Genes having at least
one associated polymorphism at P<10–4 included
B3GALTS, A2BP1, GABRB1, AUTS2, BSN, PTPRG, GIRK2 and
Our findings show that individuals with broadly defined bipolar
schizoaffective features have either a particularly strong genetic
contribution or that, as a group, are genetically more homogeneous than the
other phenotypes tested. The results point to the importance of using
diagnostic approaches that recognise this group of individuals. Our approach
can be applied to similar data-sets for other psychiatric and non-psychiatric
Modern genotyping platforms permit a systematic search for inherited components of complex diseases. We performed a joint analysis of two genomewide association studies of coronary artery disease.
We first identified chromosomal loci that were strongly associated with coronary artery disease in the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) study (which involved 1926 case subjects with coronary artery disease and 2938 controls) and looked for replication in the German MI [Myocardial Infarction] Family Study (which involved 875 case subjects with myocardial infarction and 1644 controls). Data on other single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that were significantly associated with coronary artery disease in either study (P<0.001) were then combined to identify additional loci with a high probability of true association. Genotyping in both studies was performed with the use of the GeneChip Human Mapping 500K Array Set (Affymetrix).
Of thousands of chromosomal loci studied, the same locus had the strongest association with coronary artery disease in both the WTCCC and the German studies: chromosome 9p21.3 (SNP, rs1333049) (P=1.80×10−14 and P=3.40×10−6, respectively). Overall, the WTCCC study revealed nine loci that were strongly associated with coronary artery disease (P<1.2×10−5 and less than a 50% chance of being falsely positive). In addition to chromosome 9p21.3, two of these loci were successfully replicated (adjusted P<0.05) in the German study: chromosome 6q25.1 (rs6922269) and chromosome 2q36.3 (rs2943634). The combined analysis of the two studies identified four additional loci significantly associated with coronary artery disease (P<1.3×10−6) and a high probability (>80%) of a true association: chromosomes 1p13.3 (rs599839), 1q41 (rs17465637), 10q11.21 (rs501120), and 15q22.33 (rs17228212).
We identified several genetic loci that, individually and in aggregate, substantially affect the risk of development of coronary artery disease.
The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II genes HLA-DRB1, -DQA1 and -DQB1 are the strongest genetic factors for type 1 diabetes (T1D). Additional loci in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) are difficult to identify due to the region’s high gene density and complex linkage disequilibrium (LD). To facilitate the association analysis, two novel algorithms were implemented in this study: one for phasing the multi-allelic HLA genotypes in trio families, and one for partitioning the HLA strata in conditional testing. Screening and replication were performed on two large and independent datasets: the Wellcome Trust Case–Control Consortium (WTCCC) dataset of 2,000 cases and 1,504 controls, and the T1D Genetics Consortium (T1DGC) dataset of 2,300 nuclear families. After imputation, the two datasets have 1,941 common SNPs in the MHC, of which 22 were successfully tested and replicated based on the statistical testing stratifying on the detailed DRB1 and DQB1 genotypes. Further conditional tests using the combined dataset confirmed eight novel SNP associations around 31.3 Mb on chromosome 6 (rs3094663, p = 1.66 × 10−11 and rs2523619, p = 2.77 × 10−10 conditional on the DR/DQ genotypes). A subsequent LD analysis established TCF19, POU5F1, CCHCR1 and PSORS1C1 as potential causal genes for the observed association.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00439-010-0908-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at multiple loci that are significantly associated with coronary artery disease (CAD) risk. In this study, we sought to determine and compare the predictive capabilities of 9p21.3 alone and a panel of SNPs identified and replicated through GWAS for CAD.
Methods and Results
We used the Ottawa Heart Genomics Study (OHGS) (3323 cases, 2319 control subjects) and the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) (1926 cases, 2938 control subjects) data sets. We compared the ability of allele counting, logistic regression, and support vector machines. Two sets of SNPs, 9p21.3 alone and a set of 12 SNPs identified by GWAS and through a model-fitting procedure, were considered. Performance was assessed by measuring area under the curve (AUC) for OHGS using 10-fold cross-validation and WTCCC as a replication set. AUC for logistic regression using OHGS increased significantly from 0.555 to 0.608 (P=3.59×10–14) for 9p21.3 versus the 12 SNPs, respectively. This difference remained when traditional risk factors were considered in a subgroup of OHGS (1388 cases, 2038 control subjects), with AUC increasing from 0.804 to 0.809 (P=0.037). The added predictive value over and above the traditional risk factors was not significant for 9p21.3 (AUC 0.801 versus 0.804, P=0.097) but was for the 12 SNPs (AUC 0.801 versus 0.809, P=0.0073). Performance was similar between OHGS and WTCCC. Logistic regression outperformed both support vector machines and allele counting.
Using the collective of 12 SNPs confers significantly greater predictive capabilities for CAD than 9p21.3, whether traditional risks are or are not considered. More accurate models probably will evolve as additional CAD-associated SNPs are identified.
coronary disease; genetics; risk factors
Although they have demonstrated success in searching for common variants for complex diseases, Genome-Wide Association (GWA) studies are less successful in detecting rare genetic variants because of the poor statistical power of most of current methods. We developed a two-stage method that can apply to GWA studies for detecting rare variants. Here we report the results of applying this two-stage method to the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) dataset that include 7 complex diseases: Bipolar disorder, Cardiovascular disease, Hypertension, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s disease, Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. We identified 24 genes or regions that reach genome wide significance. 8 of them are novel and were not reported in the WTCCC study. The cumulative risk (or protective) haplotype frequency for each of the 8 genes or regions is small, being at most 11%. For each of the novel genes, the risk (or protective) haplotype set cannot be tagged by the common SNPs available in chips (r2<0.32). The gene identified in hypertension was further replicated in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS), and is also significantly associated with Type 2 Diabetes. Our analysis suggests that searching for rare genetic variants is feasible in current genome-wide association studies and candidate gene studies, and the results can severe as guides to future resequencing studies to identify the underlying rare functional variants.
It has been postulated that multiple-marker methods may have added ability, over single-marker methods, to detect genetic variants associated with disease. The Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) provided the first successful large genome-wide association studies (GWAS) which included single-marker association analyses for seven common complex diseases. Of those signals detected, only one was associated with coronary artery disease (CAD), and none were identified for hypertension (HTN). Our objective was to find additional genetic associations and pathways for cardiovascular disease by examining the WTCCC data for variants associated with CAD and HTN using two-marker testing methods. We applied two-marker association testing to the WTCCC dataset, which includes ~2,000 affected individuals with each disorder, and a shared pool of ~3,000 controls, all genotyped using Affymetrix GeneChip 500 K arrays. For CAD, we detected single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) pairs in three genes showing genome-wide significance: HFE2, STK32B, and DIPC2. The most notable SNP pairs in a non-protein-coding region were at 9p21, a known major CAD-associated region. For HTN, we detected SNP pairs in five genes: GPR39, XRCC4, MYO6, ZFAT, and MACROD2. Four further associated SNP pair regions were at least 70 kb from any known gene. We have shown that novel, multiple-marker, statistical methods can be of use in finding variants in GWAS. We describe many new, associated variants for both CAD and HTN and describe their known genetic mechanisms.
Expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL), or genetic variants associated with changes in gene expression, have the potential to assist in interpreting results of genome-wide association studies (GWAS). eQTLs also have varying degrees of tissue specificity. By correlating the statistical significance of eQTLs mapped in various tissue types to their odds ratios reported in a large GWAS by the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC), we discovered that there is a significant association between diseases studied genetically and their relevant tissues. This suggests that eQTL data sets can be used to determine tissues that play a role in the pathogenesis of a disease, thereby highlighting these tissue types for further post-GWAS functional studies.
In addition to the HLA-locus, six genetic risk factors for primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) have been identified in recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS). To identify additional loci, we carried out a GWAS using 1,840 cases from the UK PBC Consortium and 5,163 UK population controls as part of the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 3 (WTCCC3). Twenty-eight loci were followed up in an additional UK cohort of 620 PBC cases and 2,514 population controls. We identified 12 novel risk loci (P<5×10−8) and replicated all previously associated loci. Three further novel loci were identified by meta-analysis of data from our study and previously published GWAS results. New candidate genes include STAT4, DENND1B, CD80, IL7R, CXCR5, TNFRSF1A, CLEC16A, and NFKB1. This study has considerably expanded our knowledge of the genetic architecture of PBC.
The P-value approach has been employed to prioritizing genome-wide association (GWA) scan signals, with a genome-wide significance defined by a prior P-value threshold, although this is not ideal. A rationale put forward is that the association signals rather should be expected to give less support for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are rare (with associated low-power tests) than for common SNPs with equivalent P-values, unless investigators believe, a priori, that rare causative variants contribute to the disease and have more pronounced effects.
Using data from a GWA scan for type 2 diabetes (1924 cases, 2938 controls, 393 453 SNPs), we compared P-values with four alternative signal measures: likelihood ratio (LR), Bayes factor (BF; with a specified prior distribution for true effects), ‘frequentist factor’ (FF; reflecting the ratio between estimated—post-data— ‘power’ and P-value) and probability of pronounced effect size (PrPES).
The 19 common SNPs [minor allele frequency (MAF) among the controls >29%] yielding strong P-value signals (P<5×10−7) were also top ranked by the other approaches. There was a strong similarity between the P-values, LR and BF signals, in terms of ranking SNPs. In contrast, FF and PrPES signals down-weighted rare SNPs (control MAF<10%) with low P-values.
For prioritization of signals that do not achieve compelling levels of evidence for association, the main driving force behind observed differences between the various association signals appears to be SNP MAF. The statistical power afforded by follow-up samples for establishing replication should be taken into account when tailoring the signal selection strategy.
Bayes factor; effect size; likelihood ratio; single nucleotide polymorphism; statistical power; statistics
Several large, rare chromosomal copy number variants (CNVs) have recently been shown to increase risk for schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders including autism, ADHD, learning difficulties and epilepsy.
We wanted to examine the frequencies of these schizophrenia-associated variants in a large sample of individuals with non-psychiatric illnesses to better understand the robustness and specificity of the association with schizophrenia.
We used Affymetrix 500K microarray data from 10,259 individuals from the UK Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) who are affected with six non-psychiatric disorders (coronary artery disease, Crohn's disease, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, types 1 and 2 diabetes) to establish the frequencies of nine CNV loci strongly implicated in schizophrenia, and compared them with the previous findings.
Deletions at 1q21.1, 3q29, 15q11.2, 15q13.1 and 22q11.2 (VCFS region), and duplications at 16p11.2 were found significantly more often in schizophrenia cases, compared with the WTCCC reference set. Deletions at 17p12 and 17q12, were also more common in schizophrenia cases but not significantly so, while duplications at 16p13.1 were found at nearly the same rate as in previous schizophrenia samples. The frequencies of CNVs in the WTCCC non-psychiatric controls at three of the loci (15q11.2, 16p13.1 and 17p12) were significantly higher than those reported in previous control populations.
The evidence for association with schizophrenia is compelling for six rare CNV loci, while the remaining three require further replication in large studies. Risk at these loci extends to other neurodevelopmental disorders but their involvement in common non-psychiatric disorders should also be investigated.
CNV; Schizophrenia; WTCCC
Mitochondrial ATP production is important in the regulation of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Genetic factors may modulate the capacity of the β-cells to secrete insulin and thereby contribute to the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The aim of this study was to identify genetic loci in or adjacent to nuclear-encoded genes of the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) pathway that are associated with insulin secretion in vivo.
Design and methods
To find polymorphisms associated with glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, data from a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 1467 non-diabetic individuals, including the Diabetes Genetic Initiative (DGI), was examined. A total of 413 single nucleotide polymorphisms with a minor allele frequency ≥0.05 located in or adjacent to 76 OXPHOS genes were included in the DGI GWAS. A more extensive population-based study of 4323 non-diabetics, the PPP-Botnia, was used as a replication cohort. Insulinogenic index during an oral glucose tolerance test was used as a surrogate marker of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Multivariate linear regression analyses were used to test genotype–phenotype associations.
Two common variants were identified in the DGI, where the major C-allele of rs606164, adjacent to NADH dehydrogenase (ubiquinone) 1 subunit C2 (NDUFC2), and the minor G-allele of rs1323070, adjacent to cytochrome c oxidase subunit VIIa polypeptide 2 (COX7A2), showed nominal associations with decreased glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (P=0.0009, respective P=0.003). These associations were replicated in PPP-Botnia (P=0.002 and P=0.05).
Our study shows that genetic variation near genes involved in OXPHOS may influence glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in vivo.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an archetypal, common, complex autoimmune disease with both genetic and environmental contributions to disease aetiology. Two novel RA susceptibility loci have been reported from recent genome-wide and candidate gene association studies. We, therefore, investigated the evidence for association of the STAT4 and TRAF1/C5 loci with RA using imputed data from the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC). No evidence for association of variants mapping to the TRAF1/C5 gene was detected in the 1860 RA cases and 2930 control samples tested in that study. Variants mapping to the STAT4 gene did show evidence for association (rs7574865, P = 0.04). Given the association of the TRAF1/C5 locus in two previous large case–control series from populations of European descent and the evidence for association of the STAT4 locus in the WTCCC study, single nucleotide polymorphisms mapping to these loci were tested for association with RA in an independent UK series comprising DNA from >3000 cases with disease and >3000 controls and a combined analysis including the WTCCC data was undertaken. We confirm association of the STAT4 and the TRAF1/C5 loci with RA bringing to 5 the number of confirmed susceptibility loci. The effect sizes are less than those reported previously but are likely to be a more accurate reflection of the true effect size given the larger size of the cohort investigated in the current study.
The Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) primary genome-wide association (GWA) scan1 on seven diseases, including the multifactorial, autoimmune disease, type 1 diabetes (T1D), shows significant association (P < 5 × 10−7 between T1D and six chromosome regions: 12q24, 12q13, 16p13, 18p11, 12p13 and 4q27. Here, we attempted to validate these and six other top findings in 4,000 individuals with T1D, 5,000 controls and 2,997 family trios that were independent of the WTCCC study. We confirmed unequivocally the associations of 12q24, 12q13, 16p13 and 18p11 (Pfollow-up ≤ 1.35 × 10−9; Poverall ≤ 1.15 × 10−14), leaving eight regions with small effects or false-positive associations with T1D. We also obtained evidence for chromosome 18q22 (Poverall = 1.38 × 10−8) from a genome-wide association study of nonsynonymous SNPs. Several regions, including 18q22 and 18p11, showed association with autoimmune thyroid disease. This study increases the number of T1D loci with compelling evidence from six to at least ten.
Most pathway and gene-set enrichment methods prioritize genes by their main effect and do not account for variation due to interactions in the pathway. A portion of the presumed missing heritability in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) may be accounted for through gene–gene interactions and additive genetic variability. In this study, we prioritize genes for pathway enrichment in GWAS of bipolar disorder (BD) by aggregating gene–gene interaction information with main effect associations through a machine learning (evaporative cooling) feature selection and epistasis network centrality analysis. We validate this approach in a two-stage (discovery/replication) pathway analysis of GWAS of BD. The discovery cohort comes from the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) GWAS of BD, and the replication cohort comes from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) GWAS of BD in European Ancestry individuals. Epistasis network centrality yields replicated enrichment of Cadherin signaling pathway, whose genes have been hypothesized to have an important role in BD pathophysiology but have not demonstrated enrichment in previous analysis. Other enriched pathways include Wnt signaling, circadian rhythm pathway, axon guidance and neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction. In addition to pathway enrichment, the collective network approach elevates the importance of ANK3, DGKH and ODZ4 for BD susceptibility in the WTCCC GWAS, despite their weak single-locus effect in the data. These results provide evidence that numerous small interactions among common alleles may contribute to the diathesis for BD and demonstrate the importance of including information from the network of gene–gene interactions as well as main effects when prioritizing genes for pathway analysis.
eigenvector centrality; epistasis network; evaporative cooling machine learning feature selection; pathway enrichment analysis; regression-based genetic association interaction network (reGAIN); SNPrank
The advent of genome-wide association (GWA) studies has revolutionized the detection of disease loci and provided abundant evidence for previously undetected disease loci that can be pooled together in meta-analysis studies or used to design followup studies. A total of 1715 SNPs from the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium GWA study of type I diabetes (T1D) were selected and a follow-up study was conducted in 1410 affected sib-pair families assembled by the Type I Diabetes Genetics Consortium. In addition to the support for previously identified loci (PTPN22/1p13; ERBB3/12q13; SH2B3/12q24; CLEC16A/16p13; UBASH3A/21q22), evidence supporting two new and distinct chromosome locations associated with T1D was observed: FHOD3/18q12 (rs2644261, P=5.9×10−4) and Xp22 (rs5979785, P=6.8×10−3; http://www.T1DBase.org). There was independent support for both SNPs in a GWA meta-analysis of 7514 cases and 9045 controls (P values=5.0×10−3 and 6.7×10−6, respectively). The chromosome 18q12 region contains four genes, none of which are obvious functional candidate genes. In contrast, the Xp22 SNP is located 30 kb centromeric of the functional candidate genes TLR8 and TLR7 genes. Both TLR8 and TLR7 are functional candidate genes owing to their key roles as pathogen recognition receptors and, in the case of TLR7, overexpression has been associated directly with murine autoimmune disease.
genome-wide association; type I diabetes; follow-up study; T1DGC
Genome-wide association studies have identified a large number of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that individually predispose to diseases. However, many genetic risk factors remain unaccounted for. Proteins coded by genes interact in the cell, and it is most likely that certain variants mainly affect the phenotype in combination with other variants, termed epistasis. An exhaustive search for epistatic effects is computationally demanding, as several billions of SNP pairs exist for typical genotyping chips. In this study, the experimental knowledge on biological networks is used to narrow the search for two-locus epistasis. We provide evidence that this approach is computationally feasible and statistically powerful. By applying this method to the Wellcome Trust Case–Control Consortium data sets, we report four significant cases of epistasis between unlinked loci, in susceptibility to Crohn's disease, bipolar disorder, hypertension and rheumatoid arthritis.
association studies; genome-wide scan; epistasis; biological network
We applied a recently developed multilocus association testing method (localized haplotype clustering) to Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium data (14,000 cases of seven common diseases and 3,000 shared controls genotyped on the Affymetrix 500K array). After rigorous data quality filtering, we identified three disease-associated loci with strong statistical support from localized haplotype cluster tests but with only marginal significance in single marker tests. These loci are chromosomes 10p15.1 with type 1 diabetes (p = 5.1 × 10-9), 12q15 with type 2 diabetes (p = 1.9 × 10-7) and 15q26.2 with hypertension (p = 2.8 × 10-8). We also detected the association of chromosome 9p21.3 with type 2 diabetes (p = 2.8 × 10-8), although this locus did not pass our stringent genotype quality filters. The association of 10p15.1 with type 1 diabetes and 9p21.3 with type 2 diabetes have both been replicated in other studies using independent data sets. Overall, localized haplotype cluster analysis had better success detecting disease associated variants than a previous single-marker analysis of imputed HapMap SNPs. We found that stringent application of quality score thresholds to genotype data substantially reduced false-positive results arising from genotype error. In addition, we demonstrate that it is possible to simultaneously phase 16,000 individuals genotyped on genome-wide data (450K markers) using the Beagle software package.
Genome-wide association studies; whole genome association studies; genetic association testing; multilocus analysis; localized haplotype clustering; BEAGLE
To identify susceptibility alleles associated with rheumatoid arthritis, we genotyped 397 individuals with rheumatoid arthritis for 116,204 SNPs and carried out an association analysis in comparison to publicly available genotype data for 1,211 related individuals from the Framingham Heart Study1. After evaluating and adjusting for technical and population biases, we identified a SNP at 6q23 (rs10499194, ∼150 kb from TNFAIP3 and OLIG3) that was reproducibly associated with rheumatoid arthritis both in the genome-wide association (GWA) scan and in 5,541 additional case-control samples (P = 10−3, GWA scan; P < 10−6, replication; P = 10−9, combined). In a concurrent study, the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) has reported strong association of rheumatoid arthritis susceptibility to a different SNP located 3.8 kb from rs10499194 (rs6920220; P = 5 × 10−6 in WTCCC)2. We show that these two SNP associations are statistically independent, are each reproducible in the comparison of our data and WTCCC data, and define risk and protective haplotypes for rheumatoid arthritis at 6q23.
A strong association between ERAP1 and ankylosing spondylitis (AS) was recently identified by the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium and the Australo-Anglo-American Spondylitis Consortium (WTCCC-TASC) study. ERAP1 is highly polymorphic with strong linkage disequilibrium evident across the gene. We therefore conducted a series of experiments to try to identify the primary genetic association(s) with ERAP1. We replicated the original associations in an independent set of 730 patients and 1021 controls, resequenced ERAP1 to define the full extent of coding polymorphisms and tested all variants in additional association studies. The genetic association with ERAP1 was independently confirmed; the strongest association was with rs30187 in the replication set (P = 3.4 × 10−3). When the data were combined with the original WTCCC-TASC study the strongest association was with rs27044 (P = 1.1 × 10−9). We identified 33 sequence polymorphisms in ERAP1, including three novel and eight known non-synonymous polymorphisms. We report several new associations between AS and polymorphisms distributed across ERAP1 from the extended case–control study, the most significant of which was with rs27434 (P = 4.7 × 10−7). Regression analysis failed to identify a primary association clearly; we therefore used data from HapMap to impute genotypes for an additional 205 non-coding SNPs located within and adjacent to ERAP1. A number of highly significant associations (P < 5 × 10−9) were identified in regulatory sequences which are good candidates for causing susceptibility to AS, possibly by regulating ERAP1 expression.
Given that genome wide association studies (GWAS) of psychiatric disorders have identified only a small number of convincingly associated variants, there is interest in seeking additional evidence for associated variants using tests of gene-gene interaction. Comprehensive pair-wise SNP-SNP interaction analysis is computationally intensive and the penalty for multiple testing is severe given the number of interactions possible. Aiming to minimize these statistical and computational burdens, we have explored approaches to prioritise SNPs for interaction analyses.
Primary interaction analyses were performed using the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium Bipolar Disorder GWAS (1868 cases, 2938 controls). Replication analyses were performed using the Genetic Association Information Network BD dataset (1001 cases, 1033 controls). SNPs were prioritized for interaction analysis that showed evidence for association that surpassed a number of nominally significant thresholds, are within genome-wide significant genes, or are within genes that are functionally related.
For no set of prioritized SNPs did we obtain evidence to support the hypothesis that the selection strategy identified pairs of variants that were enriched for true (statistical) interactions.
SNPs prioritized according to a number of criteria do not have a raised prior probability for significant interaction that is detectable in samples of this size. As is now widely accepted for single SNP analysis, we argue the use of significance levels reflecting only the number of tests performed does not offer an appropriate degree of protection against the potential for GWAS studies to generate an enormous number of false positive interactions.
GWAS; SNP; epistasis; association; interaction; gene