Dried blood (Guthrie card) spots provide an efficient way to collect and store blood specimens. DNA from this source has been utilised for a number of molecular analyses including genome-wide association studies, but only few studies have tested the feasibility of using it for epigenetic applications, particularly at a genome-wide level.
In this study, we demonstrate the successful use of DNA isolated from archived dried blood spots for the Infinium HumanMethylation450 Beadchip, along with DNA from matched frozen buffy coats. We obtained high quality and reproducible genome-wide DNA methylation profiles using both sample types. We also report high correlations (r > 0.9907) between DNA obtained from matched dried blood spots and frozen buffy coats, sufficient to distinguish between unrelated individuals.
We, thus, demonstrate that DNA from archived dried blood spots is suitable for genome-wide DNA methylation profiling.
DNA methylation; Epigenetics; Infinium HumanMethylation450; Dried blood spots; Guthrie cards; Genome-wide DNA methylation
Spots of blood are routinely collected from newborn babies onto filter paper called Guthrie cards and used to screen for metabolic and genetic disorders. The archived dried blood spots are an important and precious resource for genomic research. Whole genome amplification of dried blood spot DNA has been used to provide DNA for genome-wide SNP genotyping. Here we describe a 96 well format procedure to extract DNA from a portion of a dried blood spot that provides sufficient unamplified genomic DNA for genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping. We show that SNP genotyping of the unamplified DNA is more robust than genotyping amplified dried blood spot DNA, is comparable in cost, and can be done with thousands of samples. This procedure can be used for genome-wide association studies and other large-scale genomic analyses that require robust, high-accuracy genotyping of dried blood spot DNA.
The search to identify disease-susceptible genes requires access to biological material from numerous well-characterized subjects. Archived residual dried blood spot (DBS) samples, also known as Guthrie cards, from national newborn screening programs may provide a DNA source for entire populations. Combined with clinical information from medical registries, DBS samples could provide a rich source for productive research. However, the amounts of DNA which can be extracted from these precious samples are minute and may be prohibitive for numerous genotypings. Previously, we demonstrated that DBS DNA can be whole-genome amplified and used for reliable genetic analysis on different platforms, including genome-wide scanning arrays. However, it remains unclear whether this approach is workable on a large sample scale. We examined the robustness of using DBS samples for whole-genome amplification following genome-wide scanning, using arrays from Illumina and Affymetrix.
This study is based on 4,641 DBS samples from the Danish Newborn Screening Biobank, extracted for three separate genome-wide association studies. The amount of amplified DNA was significantly (P < 0.05) affected by the year of storage and storage conditions. Nine (0.2%) DBS samples failed whole-genome amplification. A total of 4,586 (98.8%) samples met our criterion of success of a genetic call-rate above 97%. The three studies used different arrays, with mean genotyping call-rates of 99.385% (Illumina Infinium Human610-Quad), 99.722% (Illumina Infinium HD HumanOmni1-Quad), and 99.206% (Affymetrix Axiom Genome-Wide CEU). We observed a concordance rate of 99.997% in the 38 methodological replications, and 99.999% in the 27 technical replications. Handling variables such as time of storage, storage conditions and type of filter paper were shown too significantly (P < 0.05) affect the genotype call-rates in some of the arrays, although the effect was minimal.
Our study indicates that archived DBS samples from the Danish Newborn Screening Biobank represent a reliable resource of DNA for whole-genome amplification and subsequent genome-wide association studies. With call-rates equivalent to high quality DNA samples, our results point to new opportunities for using the neonatal biobanks available worldwide in the hunt for genetic components of disease.
Multiple investigators have established the feasibility of using buccal brush samples to genotype single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with high-density genome-wide microarrays, but there is currently no consensus on the accuracy of copy number variants (CNVs) inferred from these data. Regardless of the source of DNA, it is more difficult to detect CNVs than to genotype SNPs using these microarrays, and it therefore remains an open question whether buccal brush samples provide enough high-quality DNA for this purpose.
To demonstrate the quality of CNV calls generated from DNA extracted from buccal samples, compared to calls generated from blood samples, we evaluated the concordance of calls from individuals who provided both sample types. The Illumina Human660W-Quad BeadChip was used to determine SNPs and CNVs of 39 Arkansas participants in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS), including 16 mother-infant dyads, who provided both whole blood and buccal brush DNA samples.
We observed a 99.9% concordance rate of SNP calls in the 39 blood–buccal pairs. From the same dataset, we performed a similar analysis of CNVs. Each of the 78 samples was independently segmented into regions of like copy number using the Optimal Segmentation algorithm of Golden Helix SNP & Variation Suite 7.
Across 640,663 loci on 22 autosomal chromosomes, segment-mean log R ratios had an average correlation of 0.899 between blood-buccal pairs of samples from the same individual, while the average correlation between all possible blood-buccal pairs of samples from unrelated individuals was 0.318. An independent analysis using the QuantiSNP algorithm produced average correlations of 0.943 between blood-buccal pairs from the same individual versus 0.332 between samples from unrelated individuals.
Segment-mean log R ratios had an average correlation of 0.539 between mother-offspring dyads of buccal samples, which was not statistically significantly different than the average correlation of 0.526 between mother-offspring dyads of blood samples (p=0.302).
We observed performance from the subject-collected mail-in buccal brush samples comparable to that of blood. These results show that such DNA samples can be used for genome-wide scans of both SNPs and CNVs, and that high rates of CNV concordance were achieved whether using a change-point-based algorithm or one based on a hidden Markov model (HMM).
SNPs, Single nucleotide polymorphisms; CNVs, Copy number variants; NBDPS, National Birth Defects Prevention Study; Buccal brush
Real-time PCR is a sensitive and specific method for the analysis of Plasmodium DNA. However, prior purification of genomic DNA from blood is necessary since PCR inhibitors and quenching of fluorophores from blood prevent efficient amplification and detection of PCR products.
Reagents designed to specifically overcome PCR inhibition and quenching of fluorescence were evaluated for real-time PCR amplification of Plasmodium DNA directly from blood. Whole blood from clinical samples and dried blood spots collected in the field in Colombia were tested.
Amplification and fluorescence detection by real-time PCR were optimal with 40× SYBR® Green dye and 5% blood volume in the PCR reaction. Plasmodium DNA was detected directly from both whole blood and dried blood spots from clinical samples. The sensitivity and specificity ranged from 93-100% compared with PCR performed on purified Plasmodium DNA.
The methodology described facilitates high-throughput testing of blood samples collected in the field by fluorescence-based real-time PCR. This method can be applied to a broad range of clinical studies with the advantages of immediate sample testing, lower experimental costs and time-savings.
Blood samples collected in epidemiological and clinical investigations and then stored, often at room temperature, as blood spots dried on a filter paper have become one of the most popular source of material for further molecular analyses of malaria parasites. The dried blood spots are often archived so that they can be used for further retrospective investigations of parasite prevalence, or as new genetic markers come to the fore. However, the suitability of the template obtained from dried blood spots that have been stored for long periods for DNA amplification is not known.
DNA from 267 archived blood spots collected over a period of 12 years from persons with microscopically confirmed Plasmodium falciparum infection was purified by one of two methods, Chelex and Qiagen columns. These templates were subjected to highly sensitive nested PCR amplification targeting three parasite loci that differ in length and/or copy number.
When a 1.6 kb fragment of the parasites’ small subunit ribosomal RNA was targeted (primary amplification), the efficiency of P. falciparum detection decreased in samples archived for more than six years, reaching very low levels for those stored for more than 10 years. Positive amplification was generally obtained more often with Qiagen-extracted templates. P. falciparum could be detected in 32 of the 40 negative Qiagen-extracted templates when a microsatellite of about 180 bp was targeted. The remaining eight samples gave a positive amplification when a small region of 238 bp of the higher copy number (20 to 200) mitochondrial genome was targeted.
The average length of DNA fragments that can be recovered from dried blood spots decreases with storage time. Recovery of the DNA is somewhat improved, especially in older samples, by the use of a commercial DNA purification column, but targets larger than 1.5 kb are unlikely to be present 10 years after the initial blood collection, when the average length of the DNA fragments present is likely to be around a few hundred bp. In conclusion, the utility of archived dried blood spots for molecular analyses decreases with storage time.
Archival blood spots; Plasmodium falciparum; Polymerase chain reaction
With the exception of APOE ε4 allele, the common genetic risk factors for sporadic Alzheimer's Disease (AD) are unknown.
Methods and Findings
We completed a genome-wide association study on 381 participants in the ADNI (Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative) study. Samples were genotyped using the Illumina Human610-Quad BeadChip. 516,645 unique Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) were included in the analysis following quality control measures. The genotype data and raw genetic data are freely available for download (LONI, http://www.loni.ucla.edu/ADNI/Data/). Two analyses were completed: a standard case-control analysis, and a novel approach using hippocampal atrophy measured on MRI as an objectively defined, quantitative phenotype. A General Linear Model was applied to identify SNPs for which there was an interaction between the genotype and diagnosis on the quantitative trait. The case-control analysis identified APOE and a new risk gene, TOMM40 (translocase of outer mitochondrial membrane 40), at a genome-wide significance level of≤10−6 (10−11 for a haplotype). TOMM40 risk alleles were approximately twice as frequent in AD subjects as controls. The quantitative trait analysis identified 21 genes or chromosomal areas with at least one SNP with a p-value≤10−6, which can be considered potential “new” candidate loci to explore in the etiology of sporadic AD. These candidates included EFNA5, CAND1, MAGI2, ARSB, and PRUNE2, genes involved in the regulation of protein degradation, apoptosis, neuronal loss and neurodevelopment. Thus, we identified common genetic variants associated with the increased risk of developing AD in the ADNI cohort, and present publicly available genome-wide data. Supportive evidence based on case-control studies and biological plausibility by gene annotation is provided. Currently no available sample with both imaging and genetic data is available for replication.
Using hippocampal atrophy as a quantitative phenotype in a genome-wide scan, we have identified candidate risk genes for sporadic Alzheimer's disease that merit further investigation.
Prenatal development and early childhood are critical periods for establishing the tissue-specific epigenome, and may have a profound impact on health and disease in later life. However, epigenomic profiles at birth and in early childhood remain largely unexplored. The focus of this report is to examine the individual variation and longitudinal pattern of genome-wide DNA methylation levels from birth through the first two years of life in 105 Black children (59 males and 46 females) enrolled at the Boston Medical Center. We performed epigenomic mapping of cord blood at birth and venous blood samples from the same set of children within the first two years of life using Illumina Infinium Humanmethylation27 BeadChip. We observed a wide range of inter-individual variations in genome-wide methylation at each time point including lower levels at CpG islands, TSS200, 5′UTR and 1st Exon locations, but significantly higher levels in CpG shores, shelves, TSS1500, gene body and 3′UTR. We identified CpG sites with significant intra-individual longitudinal changes in the first two years of life throughout the genome. Specifically, we identified 159 CpG sites in males and 149 CpG sites in females with significant longitudinal changes defined by both statistical significance and magnitude of changes. These significant CpG sites appeared to be located within genes with important biological functions including immunity and inflammation. Further studies are needed to replicate our findings, including analysis by specific cell types, and link those individual variations and longitudinal changes with specific health outcomes in early childhood and later life.
CpG; DIP test; DNA Methylation; empirical bayes; genome-wide; normal mixture
Previous studies with nonhuman species have shown that animals exposed to early adversity show differential DNA methylation relative to comparison animals. The current study examined differential methylation among 14 children raised since birth in institutional care and 14 comparison children raised by their biological parents. Blood samples were taken from children in middle childhood. Analysis of whole-genome methylation patterns was performed using the Infinium HumanMethylation27 BeadChip assay (Illumina), which contains 27,578 CpG sites, covering approximately 14,000 gene promoters. Group differences were registered, which were characterized primarily by greater methylation in the institutionalized group relative to the comparison group, with most of these differences in genes involved in the control of immune response and cellular signaling systems, including a number of crucial players important for neural communication and brain development and functioning. The findings suggest that patterns of differential methylation seen in nonhuman species with altered maternal care are also characteristic of children who experience early maternal separation.
The use of dried blood spots (DBS) samples in genomic workup has been limited by the relative low amounts of genomic DNA (gDNA) they contain. It remains to be proven that whole genome amplified DNA (wgaDNA) from stored DBS samples, constitutes a reliable alternative to gDNA.
We wanted to compare melting curves and sequencing results from wgaDNA derived from DBS samples with gDNA derived from whole blood.
gDNA was extracted from whole blood obtained from 10 patients with lone atrial fibrillation (mean age 22.3 years). From their newborn DBS samples, stored at -24°C, genomic DNA was extracted and whole-genome amplified in triplicates. Using high resolution melting curve analysis and direct sequencing in both wgaDNA and gDNA samples, all coding regions and adjacent intron regions of the genes SCN5A and KCNA5 were investigated.
Altered melting curves was present in 85 of wgaDNA samples and 81 of gDNA samples. Sequence analysis identified a total of 31 variants in the 10 wgaDNA samples. The same 31 variants were found in the exact same pattern of samples in the gDNA group. There was no false positive or negative sequence variation in the wgaDNA group.
The use of DNA amplified in triplicates from DBS samples is reliable and can be used both for high resolution curve melting analysis as well as direct sequence analysis. DBS samples therefore can serve as an alternative to whole blood in sequence analysis.
The objective of this research was to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and to develop an Illumina Infinium BeadChip that contained over 50,000 SNPs from soybean (Glycine max L. Merr.). A total of 498,921,777 reads 35–45bp in length were obtained from DNA sequence analysis of reduced representation libraries from several soybean accessions which included six cultivated and two wild soybean (G. soja Sieb. et Zucc.) genotypes. These reads were mapped to the soybean whole genome sequence and 209,903 SNPs were identified. After applying several filters, a total of 146,161 of the 209,903 SNPs were determined to be ideal candidates for Illumina Infinium II BeadChip design. To equalize the distance between selected SNPs, increase assay success rate, and minimize the number of SNPs with low minor allele frequency, an iteration algorithm based on a selection index was developed and used to select 60,800 SNPs for Infinium BeadChip design. Of the 60,800 SNPs, 50,701 were targeted to euchromatic regions and 10,000 to heterochromatic regions of the 20 soybean chromosomes. In addition, 99 SNPs were targeted to unanchored sequence scaffolds. Of the 60,800 SNPs, a total of 52,041 passed Illumina’s manufacturing phase to produce the SoySNP50K iSelect BeadChip. Validation of the SoySNP50K chip with 96 landrace genotypes, 96 elite cultivars and 96 wild soybean accessions showed that 47,337 SNPs were polymorphic and generated successful SNP allele calls. In addition, 40,841 of the 47,337 SNPs (86%) had minor allele frequencies ≥10% among the landraces, elite cultivars and the wild soybean accessions. A total of 620 and 42 candidate regions which may be associated with domestication and recent selection were identified, respectively. The SoySNP50K iSelect SNP beadchip will be a powerful tool for characterizing soybean genetic diversity and linkage disequilibrium, and for constructing high resolution linkage maps to improve the soybean whole genome sequence assembly.
Acute Lung Injury (ALI) is a syndrome with high associated mortality characterized by severe hypoxemia and pulmonary infiltrates in patients with critical illness. We conducted the first investigation to use the genome wide association (GWA) approach to identify putative risk variants for ALI. Genome wide genotyping was performed using the Illumina Human Quad 610 BeadChip. We performed a two-stage GWA study followed by a third stage of functional characterization. In the discovery phase (Phase 1), we compared 600 European American trauma-associated ALI cases with 2266 European American population-based controls. We carried forward the top 1% of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at p<0.01 to a replication phase (Phase 2) comprised of a nested case-control design sample of 212 trauma-associated ALI cases and 283 at-risk trauma non-ALI controls from ongoing cohort studies. SNPs that replicated at the 0.05 level in Phase 2 were subject to functional validation (Phase 3) using expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) analyses in stimulated B-lymphoblastoid cell lines (B-LCL) in family trios. 159 SNPs from the discovery phase replicated in Phase 2, including loci with prior evidence for a role in ALI pathogenesis. Functional evaluation of these replicated SNPs revealed rs471931 on 11q13.3 to exert a cis-regulatory effect on mRNA expression in the PPFIA1 gene (p = 0.0021). PPFIA1 encodes liprin alpha, a protein involved in cell adhesion, integrin expression, and cell-matrix interactions. This study supports the feasibility of future multi-center GWA investigations of ALI risk, and identifies PPFIA1 as a potential functional candidate ALI risk gene for future research.
Epigenetic association studies have demonstrated differential promoter methylation in the core circadian genes in breast cancer cases relative to cancer-free controls. The current pilot study aims to investigate whether epigenetic changes affecting breast cancer risk could be caused by circadian disruption through exposure to light at night. Archived DNA samples extracted from whole blood of 117 female subjects from a prospective cohort conducted in Denmark were included in this study. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based method was used for detection of gene-promoter methylation, whereas genome-wide methylation analysis was performed using the Illumina Infinium Methylation Chip. Long-term shiftwork resulted in the same promoter hypomethylation of CLOCK and hypermethylation of CRY2, as was previously observed in breast cancer case-control studies. Genome-wide methylation analysis further discovered widespread methylation alterations in shiftworkers, including changes in many methylation- and cancer-relevant genes. Pathway analysis of the genes with altered methylation patterns revealed several cancer-related pathways. One of the top three networks generated was designated as “DNA replication, recombination, and repair, gene expression, behavior” with ESR1 (estrogen receptor α) featured most prominently in the network, underscoring the potential breast cancer relevance of the genes differentially methylated in long-term shiftworkers. These results, although exploratory, demonstrate the first evidence of the cancer-relevant epigenetic effects of night shiftwork, which warrant further investigation. Considering there are millions of shiftworkers worldwide, understanding the effects of this exposure may lead to novel strategies for cancer prevention and new policies regulating shiftwork.
Cancer; Circadian genes; Genome-wide methylation; Shiftwork
The majority of congenital heart defects (CHDs) are thought to result from the interaction between multiple genetic, epigenetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Epigenetic mechanisms are attractive targets in the study of complex diseases because they may be altered by environmental factors and dietary interventions. We conducted a population based, case-control study of genome-wide maternal DNA methylation to determine if alterations in gene-specific methylation were associated with CHDs. Using the Illumina Infinium Human Methylation27 BeadChip, we assessed maternal gene-specific methylation in over 27,000 CpG sites from DNA isolated from peripheral blood lymphocytes. Our study sample included 180 mothers with non-syndromic CHD-affected pregnancies (cases) and 187 mothers with unaffected pregnancies (controls). Using a multi-factorial statistical model, we observed differential methylation between cases and controls at multiple CpG sites, although no CpG site reached the most stringent level of genome-wide statistical significance. The majority of differentially methylated CpG sites were hypermethylated in cases and located within CpG islands. Gene Set Enrichment Analysis (GSEA) revealed that the genes of interest were enriched in multiple biological processes involved in fetal development. Associations with canonical pathways previously shown to be involved in fetal organogenesis were also observed. We present preliminary evidence that alterations in maternal DNA methylation may be associated with CHDs. Our results suggest that further studies involving maternal epigenetic patterns and CHDs are warranted. Multiple candidate processes and pathways for future study have been identified.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is common and highly heritable with many genes and gene variants associated with AD in one or more studies, including APOE ε2/ε3/ε4. However, the genetic backgrounds for normal cognition, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and AD in terms of changes in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of Aβ1-42, T-tau, and P-tau181P, have not been clearly delineated. We carried out a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in order to better define the genetic backgrounds to these three states in relation to CSF levels.
Subjects were participants in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). The GWAS dataset consisted of 818 participants (mainly Caucasian) genotyped using the Illumina Human Genome 610 Quad BeadChips. This sample included 410 subjects (119 Normal, 115 MCI and 176 AD) with measurements of CSF Aβ1-42, T-tau, and P-tau181P Levels. We used PLINK to find genetic associations with the three CSF biomarker levels. Association of each of the 498,205 SNPs was tested using additive, dominant, and general association models while considering APOE genotype and age. Finally, an effort was made to better identify relevant biochemical pathways for associated genes using the ALIGATOR software.
We found that there were some associations with APOE genotype although CSF levels were about the same for each subject group; CSF Aβ1-42 levels decreased with APOE gene dose for each subject group. T-tau levels tended to be higher among AD cases than among normal subjects. From adjusted result using APOE genotype and age as covariates, no SNP was associated with CSF levels among AD subjects. CYP19A1 'aromatase' (rs2899472), NCAM2, and multiple SNPs located on chromosome 10 near the ARL5B gene demonstrated the strongest associations with Aβ1-42 in normal subjects. Two genes found to be near the top SNPs, CYP19A1 (rs2899472, p = 1.90 × 10-7) and NCAM2 (rs1022442, p = 2.75 × 10-7) have been reported as genetic factors related to the progression of AD from previous studies. In AD subjects, APOE ε2/ε3 and ε2/ε4 genotypes were associated with elevated T-tau levels and ε4/ε4 genotype was associated with elevated T-tau and P-tau181P levels. Pathway analysis detected several biological pathways implicated in Normal with CSF β-amyloid peptide (Aβ1-42).
Our genome-wide association analysis identified several SNPs as important factors for CSF biomarker. We also provide new evidence for additional candidate genetic risk factors from pathway analysis that can be tested in further studies.
Background & Aims
Interferon-alfa (IFN)-related cytopenias are common and may be dose-limiting. We performed a genome wide association study on a well-characterized genotype 1 HCV cohort to identify genetic determinants of peginterferon-α (peg-IFN)-related thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, and leukopenia.
1604/3070 patients in the IDEAL study consented to genetic testing. Trial inclusion criteria included a platelet (Pl) count ≥80 × 109/L and an absolute neutrophil count (ANC) ≥ 1500/mm3. Samples were genotyped using the Illumina Human610-quad BeadChip. The primary analyses focused on the genetic determinants of quantitative change in cell counts (Pl, ANC, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils) at week 4 in patients >80% adherent to therapy (n = 1294).
6 SNPs on chromosome 20 were positively associated with Pl reduction (top SNP rs965469, p = 10−10). These tag SNPs are in high linkage disequilibrium with 2 functional variants in the ITPA gene, rs1127354 and rs7270101, that cause ITPase deficiency and protect against ribavirin (RBV)-induced hemolytic anemia (HA). rs1127354 and rs7270101 showed strong independent associations with Pl reduction (p = 10−12, p = 10−7) and entirely explained the genome-wide significant associations. We believe this is an example of an indirect genetic association due to a reactive thrombocytosis to RBV-induced anemia: Hb decline was inversely correlated with Pl reduction (r = −0.28, p = 10−17) and Hb change largely attenuated the association between the ITPA variants and Pl reduction in regression models. No common genetic variants were associated with pegIFN-induced neutropenia or leucopenia.
Two ITPA variants were associated with thrombocytopenia; this was largely explained by a thrombocytotic response to RBV-induced HA attenuating IFN-related thrombocytopenia. No genetic determinants of pegIFN-induced neutropenia were identified.
GWAS; ITPA; Thrombocytopenia; Hepatitis C; Neutropenia; IL28B
Genome-wide association study (GWAS) has identified more than 30 loci associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D) in Caucasians. However, genomic understanding of T2D in Asians, especially Han Chinese, is still limited.
Methods and Principal Findings
A two-stage GWAS was performed in Han Chinese from Mainland China. The discovery stage included 793 T2D cases and 806 healthy controls genotyped using Illumina Human 660- and 610-Quad BeadChips; and the replication stage included two independent case-control populations (a total of 4445 T2D cases and 4458 controls) genotyped using TaqMan assay. We validated the associations of KCNQ1 (rs163182, p = 2.085×10−17, OR 1.28) and C2CD4A/B (rs1370176, p = 3.677×10−4, OR 1.124; rs1436953, p = 7.753×10−6, OR 1.141; rs7172432, p = 4.001×10−5, OR 1.134) in Han Chinese.
Conclusions and Significance
Our study represents the first GWAS of T2D with both discovery and replication sample sets recruited from Han Chinese men and women residing in Mainland China. We confirmed the associations of KCNQ1 and C2CD4A/B with T2D, with the latter for the first time being examined in Han Chinese. Arguably, eight more independent loci were replicated in our GWAS.
Microarray profiling of gene expression is widely applied in molecular biology and functional genomics. Experimental and technical variations make meta-analysis of different studies challenging. In a total of 3358 samples, all from German population-based cohorts, we investigated the effect of data preprocessing and the variability due to sample processing in whole blood cell and blood monocyte gene expression data, measured on the Illumina HumanHT-12 v3 BeadChip array.
Gene expression signal intensities were similar after applying the log2 or the variance-stabilizing transformation. In all cohorts, the first principal component (PC) explained more than 95% of the total variation. Technical factors substantially influenced signal intensity values, especially the Illumina chip assignment (33–48% of the variance), the RNA amplification batch (12–24%), the RNA isolation batch (16%), and the sample storage time, in particular the time between blood donation and RNA isolation for the whole blood cell samples (2–3%), and the time between RNA isolation and amplification for the monocyte samples (2%). White blood cell composition parameters were the strongest biological factors influencing the expression signal intensities in the whole blood cell samples (3%), followed by sex (1–2%) in both sample types. Known single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were located in 38% of the analyzed probe sequences and 4% of them included common SNPs (minor allele frequency >5%). Out of the tested SNPs, 1.4% significantly modified the probe-specific expression signals (Bonferroni corrected p-value<0.05), but in almost half of these events the signal intensities were even increased despite the occurrence of the mismatch. Thus, the vast majority of SNPs within probes had no significant effect on hybridization efficiency.
In summary, adjustment for a few selected technical factors greatly improved reliability of gene expression analyses. Such adjustments are particularly required for meta-analyses.
As FTA® cards provide an ideal medium for the field collection of DNA we sought to assess the quality of genomic DNA extracted from this source for use on the Illumina BovineSNP50 iSelect BeadChip which requires unbound, relatively intact (fragment sizes ≥ 2 kb), and high-quality DNA. Bovine blood and nasal swab samples collected on FTA cards were extracted using the commercially available GenSolve kit with a minor modification. The call rate and concordance of genotypes from each sample were compared to those obtained from whole blood samples extracted by standard PCI extraction.
An ANOVA analysis indicated no significant difference (P > 0.72) in BovineSNP50 genotype call rate between DNA extracted from FTA cards by the GenSolve kit or extracted from whole blood by PCI. Two sample t-tests demonstrated that the DNA extracted from the FTA cards produced genotype call and concordance rates that were not different to those produced by assaying DNA samples extracted by PCI from whole blood.
We conclude that DNA extracted from FTA cards by the GenSolve kit is of sufficiently high quality to produce results comparable to those obtained from DNA extracted from whole blood when assayed by the Illumina iSelect technology. Additionally, we validate the use of nasal swabs as an alternative to venous blood or buccal samples from animal subjects for reliably producing high quality genotypes on this platform.
Decidual macrophages (dMϕ) of the mother and placental macrophages (Hofbauer cells, HC) of the fetus are deployed at a critical location: the feto-maternal interface. This study was conducted to compare DNA methylome of maternal and fetal monocytes, dMϕ, and HC, and thereby to determine the immunobiological importance of DNA methylation in pregnancy.
Methods of Study
Paired samples were obtained from normal pregnant women at term not in labor and their own neonates. Maternal monocytes (MM) and fetal monocytes (FM) were isolated from peripheral blood of mothers and from fetal cord blood, respectively. dMϕ and HC were obtained from the decidua of fetal membranes and placenta, respectively. DNA methylation profiling was done using the Illumina Infinium Human Methylation27 BeadChip. Quantitative real-time PCR and western blot were performed for validation experiments.
1) Significant differences in DNA methylation were found in each comparison (MM vs. FM, 65 loci; dMϕ vs. HC, 266 loci; MM vs. dMϕ, 199 loci; FM vs. HC, 1,030 loci). 2) Many of the immune response-related genes were hypermethylated in fetal cells (FM and HC) compared to maternal cells (MM and dMϕ). 3) Genes encoding markers of classical macrophage activation were hypermethylated and genes encoding alternative macrophage activation were hypomethylated in dMϕ and HC compared to MM and FM, respectively. 4) mRNA expressions of DNMT1, DNMT3A, and DNMT3B were significantly lower in dMϕ than in HC. 5) 5-azacytidine treatment increased expression of INCA1 in dMϕ.
The findings herein indicate that DNA methylation patterns change during monocyte-macrophage differentiation at the feto-maternal interface. It is also suggested that DNA methylation is an important component of biological machinery conferring an anti-inflammatory phenotype to macrophages at the feto-maternal interface.
Decidua; DNA methylation; DNA methyltransferase; Epigenetics; Epigenome; Hofbauer cell; Placenta; Pregnancy
Two protocols for the extraction of cytomegalovirus (CMV) DNA and two methods for the amplification of CMV DNA in dried blood spots were evaluated for the retrospective diagnosis of congenital CMV infection. During the period from 1996 to 2006, a urine screening program detected 76 congenitally infected neonates. Stored Guthrie cards with blood from 55 cases and 12 controls were tested. Two spots of dried blood were cut from each card and evaluated in two centers. CMV DNA was extracted from a whole single spot. Center 1 used phenol-chloroform extraction and ethanol precipitation followed by a conventional PCR. Center 2 used the NucliSens easyMAG automated DNA/RNA extraction platform (bioMérieux) followed by a real-time PCR. For evaluation of the extraction method, DNA extracted from each blood spot was evaluated by the amplification method used by the collaborating center. The sensitivities were 66% for center 1 and 73% for center 2. None of the controls were positive. A sensitivity as high as 82% could be obtained by combining the most sensitive extraction method (the phenol-chloroform procedure) with the most sensitive PCR method (real-time PCR). The detection rate was not influenced by the duration of storage of the spots. The sensitivity was higher with blood from congenitally infected cases due to a primary maternal CMV infection, regardless of the protocol used. However, the difference reached significance only for the least-sensitive protocol (P = 0.036).
Neonatal blood, obtained from a heel stick and stored dry on paper cards, has been the standard for birth defects screening for 50 years. Such dried blood samples are used, primarily, for analysis of small-molecule analytes. More recently, the DNA complement of such dried blood cards has been used for targeted genetic testing, such as for single nucleotide polymorphism in cystic fibrosis. Expansion of such testing to include polygenic traits, and perhaps whole genome scanning, has been discussed as a formal possibility. However, until now the amount of DNA that might be obtained from such dried blood cards has been limiting, due to inefficient DNA recovery technology.
A new technology is employed for efficient DNA release from a standard neonatal blood card. Using standard Guthrie cards, stored an average of ten years post-collection, about 1/40th of the air-dried neonatal blood specimen (two 3 mm punches) was processed to obtain DNA that was sufficient in mass and quality for direct use in microarray-based whole genome scanning. Using that same DNA release technology, it is also shown that approximately 1/250th of the original purified DNA (about 1 ng) could be subjected to whole genome amplification, thus yielding an additional microgram of amplified DNA product. That amplified DNA product was then used in microarray analysis and yielded statistical concordance of 99% or greater to the primary, unamplified DNA sample.
Together, these data suggest that DNA obtained from less than 10% of a standard neonatal blood specimen, stored dry for several years on a Guthrie card, can support a program of genome-wide neonatal genetic testing.
A child with autism and mild microcephaly was found to have a de novo 3.3 Mb microdeletion on chromosome 1p34.2p34.3. The hypothesis is tested that this microdeletion contains one or more genes that underlie the autism phenotype in this child and in other children with autism spectrum disorders.
To search for submicroscopic chromosomal rearrangements in the child, array comparative genomic hybridisation (aCGH) was performed using a 19 K whole genome human bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) array and the Illumina 610-Quad BeadChip microarray. Ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) was used to construct functional biological networks to identify candidate autism genes. To identify putative functional variants in candidate genes, mutation screening was performed using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based Sanger sequencing in 512 unrelated autism patients and 462 control subjects.
A de novo 3.3 Mb deletion containing ∼43 genes in chromosome 1p34.2p34.3 was identified and subsequently confirmed using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Literature review and bioinformatics analyses identified Regulating Synaptic Membrane Exocytosis 3 (RIMS3) as the most promising autism candidate gene. Mutation screening of this gene in autism patients identified five inherited coding variants, including one (p.E177A) that segregated with the autism phenotype in a sibship, was predicted to be deleterious, and was absent in 1161 controls.
This case report and mutation screening data suggest that RIMS3 is an autism causative or contributory gene. Functional studies of RIMS3 variants such as p.E177A should provide additional insight into the role of synaptic proteins in the pathophysiology of autism.
autism; microcephaly; mental retardation; copy number variants; synapse; molecular genetics; neurosciences; psychiatry
Although pesticides are subject to extensive carcinogenicity testing before regulatory approval, pesticide exposure has repeatedly been associated with various cancers. This suggests that pesticides may cause cancer via non-mutagenicity mechanisms. The present study provides evidence to support the hypothesis that pesticide-induced cancer may be mediated in part by epigenetic mechanisms. We examined whether exposure to 7 commonly used pesticides (i.e., fonofos, parathion, terbufos, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, malathion, and phorate) induces DNA methylation alterations in vitro. We conducted genome-wide DNA methylation analyses on DNA samples obtained from the human hematopoietic K562 cell line exposed to ethanol (control) and several OPs using the Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation27 BeadChip. Bayesian-adjusted t-tests were used to identify differentially methylated gene promoter CpG sites. In this report, we present our results on three pesticides (fonofos, parathion, and terbufos) that clustered together based on principle component analysis and hierarchical clustering. These three pesticides induced similar methylation changes in the promoter regions of 712 genes, while also exhibiting their own OP-specific methylation alterations. Functional analysis of methylation changes specific to each OP, or common to all three OPs, revealed that differential methylation was associated with numerous genes that are involved in carcinogenesis-related processes. Our results provide experimental evidence that pesticides may modify gene promoter DNA methylation levels, suggesting that epigenetic mechanisms may contribute to pesticide-induced carcinogenesis. Further studies in other cell types and human samples are required, as well as determining the impact of these methylation changes on gene expression.
Pesticide exposure; DNA methylation alteration; Carcinogenesis
High-throughput single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-array technologies allow to investigate copy number variants (CNVs) in genome-wide scans and specific calling algorithms have been developed to determine CNV location and copy number. We report the results of a reliability analysis comparing data from 96 pairs of samples processed with CNVpartition, PennCNV, and QuantiSNP for Infinium Illumina Human 1Million probe chip data. We also performed a validity assessment with multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) as a reference standard. The number of CNVs per individual varied according to the calling algorithm. Higher numbers of CNVs were detected in saliva than in blood DNA samples regardless of the algorithm used. All algorithms presented low agreement with mean Kappa Index (KI) <66. PennCNV was the most reliable algorithm (KIw=98.96) when assessing the number of copies. The agreement observed in detecting CNV was higher in blood than in saliva samples. When comparing to MLPA, all algorithms identified poorly known copy aberrations (sensitivity = 0.19–0.28). In contrast, specificity was very high (0.97–0.99). Once a CNV was detected, the number of copies was truly assessed (sensitivity > 0.62). Our results indicate that the current calling algorithms should be improved for high performance CNVanalysis in genome-wide scans. Further refinement is required to assess CNVs as risk factors in complex diseases.
copy number variation; genome-wide association study; specificity; sensitivity; reliability; accuracy; CNVpartition; PennCNV; QuantiSNP