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1.  Differential Effects of MYH9 and APOL1 Risk Variants on FRMD3 Association with Diabetic ESRD in African Americans 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(6):e1002150.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in MYH9 and APOL1 on chromosome 22 (c22) are powerfully associated with non-diabetic end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in African Americans (AAs). Many AAs diagnosed with type 2 diabetic nephropathy (T2DN) have non-diabetic kidney disease, potentially masking detection of DN genes. Therefore, genome-wide association analyses were performed using the Affymetrix SNP Array 6.0 in 966 AA with T2DN and 1,032 non-diabetic, non-nephropathy (NDNN) controls, with and without adjustment for c22 nephropathy risk variants. No associations were seen between FRMD3 SNPs and T2DN before adjusting for c22 variants. However, logistic regression analysis revealed seven FRMD3 SNPs significantly interacting with MYH9—a finding replicated in 640 additional AA T2DN cases and 683 NDNN controls. Contrasting all 1,592 T2DN cases with all 1,671 NDNN controls, FRMD3 SNPs appeared to interact with the MYH9 E1 haplotype (e.g., rs942280 interaction p-value = 9.3E−7 additive; odds ratio [OR] 0.67). FRMD3 alleles were associated with increased risk of T2DN only in subjects lacking two MYH9 E1 risk haplotypes (rs942280 OR = 1.28), not in MYH9 E1 risk allele homozygotes (rs942280 OR = 0.80; homogeneity p-value = 4.3E−4). Effects were weaker stratifying on APOL1. FRMD3 SNPS were associated with T2DN, not type 2 diabetes per se, comparing AAs with T2DN to those with diabetes lacking nephropathy. T2DN-associated FRMD3 SNPs were detectable in AAs only after accounting for MYH9, with differential effects for APOL1. These analyses reveal a role for FRMD3 in AA T2DN susceptibility and accounting for c22 nephropathy risk variants can assist in detecting DN susceptibility genes.
Author Summary
African Americans have high rates of kidney disease attributed to type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, approximately 25% of patients are misclassified and have non-diabetic kidney disease on renal biopsy. The APOL1-MYH9 gene region on chromosome 22 is powerfully associated with non-diabetic kidney diseases in African Americans. Therefore, we tested for interactions between single nucleotide polymorphisms across the genome with APOL1 and MYH9 non-diabetic nephropathy risk variants in African Americans with presumed diabetic nephropathy. Markers in FRMD3, a gene associated with type 1 diabetic nephropathy in Caucasians, appeared to interact with MYH9; however, increased nephropathy risk was seen in diabetic cases lacking two MYH9 risk haplotypes, and protective effects were seen in those with two MYH9 risk haplotypes. Stratified analyses based on the chromosome 22 nephropathy risk haplotypes demonstrated that FRMD3 variants were associated with diabetic nephropathy risk in cases without two MYH9 (or APOL1) risk haplotypes. It appears that African Americans with diabetes and kidney disease who are not chromosome 22 nephropathy risk variant homozygotes are enriched for the presence of diabetic nephropathy and FRMD3 risk alleles. This genetic dissection ultimately allowed for detection of the FRMD3 diabetic nephropathy gene association in a subset of cases enriched for this disorder.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002150
PMCID: PMC3116917  PMID: 21698141
2.  MYH9 and APOL1 Gene Polymorphisms and the Risk of CKD in Patients with Lupus Nephritis from an Admixture Population 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e87716.
MYH9 polymorphisms have been described to be associated with the risk of CKD in non-diabetic nephropathy, HIV nephropathy and FSGS. Predominating in black descendants, MHY9 genetic variants could partially explain the excess risk of CKD associated with African ancestry. However, recent data suggests that APOL1 gene co-segregate with MYH9, and could be the gene truly associated with CKD risk. In this study, we evaluated the role of MYH9 and APOL1 gene polymorphisms in the risk of CKD in Brazilian patients with lupus nephritis (LN). A retrospective analysis of 196 LN patients was done. MYH9 rs4821480, rs2032487, rs4821481 and rs3752462, APOL 1rs73885319, rs16996616, rs60910145, rs71785313, and APOL3 rs11089781 gene polymorphisms were determined. Genetic ancestry was ascertained both by autossomal ancestry and mitochondrial haplogroup. Primary outcome was defined as doubling of serum creatinine (DC) or end stage renal disease (ESRD). Sixty-two patients presented the PO. In our population, MYH9 and APOL1 were not in LD. None APOL polymorphism was associated with the PO, whereas rs3752462 MYH9 polymorphism showed a positive association (HR3.72, 95%CI 1.47–9.38, p = 0.005). When we analyzed the MYH9 E1 haplotype, the GCCT carriers (1 or 2 alelles present in 29.7% in the PO group vs. 18.5% in controls) showed a significant association to the risk of PO, even after adjustments for baseline estimated creatinine clearance and autossomal ancestry (HR 2.0, 95%CI 1.2–3.4, p = 0.01). Our results show that in our population MYH9, but not APOL1, gene polymorphisms confer an increased risk of CKD in LN patients, independently of race.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087716
PMCID: PMC3962338  PMID: 24658608
3.  Genetic variation in APOL1 and MYH9 genes is associated with chronic kidney disease among Nigerians 
Purpose
A region of chromosome 22 which includes APOL1 and MYH9 genes was recently identified as a risk locus for non-diabetic forms of kidney disease, including idiopathic and HIV-associated focal segmental glomerular sclerosis and kidney disease clinically attributed to hypertension among African Americans. The purposes of the current study were, therefore, to examine the frequency of these variants and to determine whether they are associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) among native Africans.
Methods
To investigate the possible evidence of association between variants in these genes and non-diabetic CKD among West Africans, we performed a case/control analysis in a sample of 166 Nigerians without history of European admixture. Our study included a total of 9 variants on APOL1 (n = 4) and MYH9 (n = 5) genes.
Results
We observed significantly strong associations with previously reported APOL1 variants rs73885319 and rs60910145, and their two-allele “G1” haplotype (P < 0.005). We did not observe significant evidence of association between non-diabetic CKD and any of the MYH9 variants or haplotypes after accounting for multiple testing in our sample.
Conclusions
In conclusion, APOL1 risk variants are associated with non-diabetic forms of CKD among Nigerians of Yoruba ethnicity. Further information on APOL1/MYH9 variants may lead to screening programs, which could lead to earlier detection and interventions for non-diabetic kidney disease.
doi:10.1007/s11255-012-0263-4
PMCID: PMC3599169  PMID: 22956460
Chronic kidney disease; APOL1; MYH9; Genetic renal disease
4.  Genetic variation in APOL1 and MYH9 genes is associated with chronic kidney disease among Nigerians 
Purpose
A region of chromosome 22 which includes APOL1 and MYH9 genes was recently identified as a risk locus for non-diabetic forms of kidney disease, including idiopathic and HIV associated focal segmental glomerular sclerosis and kidney disease clinically attributed to hypertension among African Americans. The purpose of the current study was therefore to examine the frequency of these variants and to determine whether they are associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) among native Africans.
Methods
To investigate possible evidence of association between variants in these genes and non-diabetic CKD among West Africans, we performed a case/control analysis in a sample of 166 Nigerians without history of European admixture. Our study included a total of 9 variants on APOL1 (n=4) and MYH9 (n=5) genes.
Results
We observed significantly strong associations with previously reported APOL1 variants rs73885319 and rs60910145 and their two-allele “G1” haplotype (P < 0.005). We did not observe significant evidence of association between non-diabetic CKD and any of the MYH9 variants or haplotypes after accounting for multiple testing in our sample.
Conclusions
In conclusion, APOL1 risk variants are associated with non-diabetic forms of CKD among Nigerians of Yoruba ethnicity. Further information on APOL1/MYH9 variants may lead to screening programs which could lead to earlier detection and interventions for non-diabetic kidney disease.
doi:10.1007/s11255-012-0263-4
PMCID: PMC3599169  PMID: 22956460
chronic kidney disease; APOL1; MYH9; genetic renal disease
5.  The MYH9/APOL1 region and chronic kidney disease in European-Americans 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;20(12):2450-2456.
Polymorphisms in the MYH9 and adjacent APOL1 gene region demonstrate a strong association with non-diabetic kidney disease in African-Americans. However, it is not known to what extent these polymorphisms are present in other ethnic groups. To examine the association of genetic polymorphisms in this region with chronic kidney disease (CKD; estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 ml/min/1.73 m2) in individuals of European ancestry, we examined rs4821480, an MYH9 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) recently identified as associated with kidney disease in African-Americans, in 13 133 participants from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) and Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. In addition, we further interrogated the MYH9/APOL1 gene region using 282 SNPs for association with CKD using age-, sex- and center-adjusted models and performed a meta-analysis of the results from both studies. Because of prior data linking rs4821480 and kidney disease, we used a P-value of <0.05 to test the association with CKD. In the meta-analysis, rs4821480 (minor allele frequency 4.45 and 3.96% in FHS and ARIC, respectively) was associated with higher CKD prevalence in participants free of diabetes (odds ratio 1.44; 95% confidence interval 1.15–1.80; P = 0.001). No other SNPs achieved significance after adjusting for multiple testing. Results utilizing directly genotyped data confirmed the results of the primary analysis. Recently identified APOL1 risk variants were also directly genotyped, but did not account for the observed MYH9 signal. These data suggest that the MYH9 polymorphism rs4821480 is associated with an increased risk of non-diabetic CKD in individuals of European ancestry.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddr118
PMCID: PMC3098737  PMID: 21429915
6.  Polymorphisms in MYH9 are associated with diabetic nephropathy in European Americans 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2011;27(4):1505-1511.
Background.
Polymorphisms in the non-muscle myosin IIA gene (MYH9) are associated with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and non-diabetic end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in African Americans and FSGS in European Americans. We tested for association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in MYH9 with T2DM–ESRD in European Americans; additionally, three APOL1 gene variants were evaluated.
Methods.
Fifteen MYH9 SNPs and two APOL1 SNPs plus a 6-bp deletion were genotyped in 1963 European Americans, 536 cases with T2DM–ESRD and 1427 non-nephropathy controls (467 with T2DM and 960 without diabetes).
Results.
Comparing T2DM–ESRD cases with the 467 T2DM non-nephropathy controls, single variant associations trending toward significance were detected with SNPs rs4821480, rs2032487 and rs4281481 comprising part of the major MYH9 E1 risk haplotype [P-values 0.053–0.055 recessive, odds ratio (OR) 6.08–6.14]. Comparing T2DM–ESRD cases to all 1427 non-nephropathy controls, we confirmed evidence of association in these three SNPs as well as in the fourth E1 SNP (rs3752462) (P-values 0.017–0.035, OR 1.41–3.72). APOL1 G1/G2 nephropathy risk variants were rare in individuals of European American heritage, present in 0.28% of chromosomes in T2DM–ESRD cases and 0.32% of controls.
Conclusions.
MYH9 SNPs rs4821480, rs2032487, rs4281481 and rs3752462 are associated with T2DM–ESRD susceptibility in European Americans. The APOL1 risk variants are not present at appreciable frequency in this cohort with T2DM–ESRD. Therefore, polymorphisms in MYH9 appear to influence nephropathy risk in this sample.
doi:10.1093/ndt/gfr522
PMCID: PMC3315672  PMID: 21968013
APOL1; diabetic nephropathy; end-stage renal disease; MYH9; type 2 diabetes mellitus
7.  Sickle cell trait is not independently associated with susceptibility to end-stage renal disease in African Americans 
Kidney International  2011;80(12):1339-1343.
Conflicting reports exist as to whether sickle cell trait is a risk factor for the progression of nephropathy. In order to determine whether African Americans with sickle cell trait are at increased risk for kidney disease, we assessed the genetic association between sickle cell trait and end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Hemoglobin S, non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 (MYH9), and apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) risk variants were genotyped in 3258 unrelated African Americans: 1085 with non-diabetic ESRD, 996 with type 2 diabetes-associated ESRD, and 1177 controls. Since APOL1 is strongly associated with ESRD in African Americans, interactions between APOL1 and MYH9 risk variants and hemoglobin S were assessed using case-only and case-control centered two-way logistic regression interaction analyses. The sickle cell trait genotype frequencies were 8.7% in non-diabetic ESRD, 7.1% in type 2 diabetes-ESRD, and 7.2% in controls. There was no age-, gender-, and admixture-adjusted significance for sickle cell trait association with non-diabetic ESRD (odds ratio 1.16); type 2 diabetes-ESRD (odds ratio 1.01); or all-cause ESRD (combined non-diabetic and type 2 diabetic-ESRD patients compared to the controls; odds ratio 1.05) in dominant models. In addition, no evidence of APOL1 or MYH9 interactions with sickle cell trait was detected. Hence, sickle cell trait is not associated with diabetic or non-diabetic ESRD in a large sample of African Americans.
doi:10.1038/ki.2011.286
PMCID: PMC3280424  PMID: 21849968
African American; APOL1; diabetes; end-stage kidney disease; hemoglobin S; hypertension
8.  Missense mutations in the APOL1 gene are highly associated with end stage kidney disease risk previously attributed to the MYH9 gene 
Human Genetics  2010;128(3):345-350.
MYH9 has been proposed as a major genetic risk locus for a spectrum of nondiabetic end stage kidney disease (ESKD). We use recently released sequences from the 1000 Genomes Project to identify two western African-specific missense mutations (S342G and I384M) in the neighboring APOL1 gene, and demonstrate that these are more strongly associated with ESKD than previously reported MYH9 variants. The APOL1 gene product, apolipoprotein L-1, has been studied for its roles in trypanosomal lysis, autophagic cell death, lipid metabolism, as well as vascular and other biological activities. We also show that the distribution of these newly identified APOL1 risk variants in African populations is consistent with the pattern of African ancestry ESKD risk previously attributed to MYH9.
Mapping by admixture linkage disequilibrium (MALD) localized an interval on chromosome 22, in a region that includes the MYH9 gene, which was shown to contain African ancestry risk variants associated with certain forms of ESKD (Kao et al. 2008; Kopp et al. 2008). MYH9 encodes nonmuscle myosin heavy chain IIa, a major cytoskeletal nanomotor protein expressed in many cell types, including podocyte cells of the renal glomerulus. Moreover, 39 different coding region mutations in MYH9 have been identified in patients with a group of rare syndromes, collectively termed the Giant Platelet Syndromes, with clear autosomal dominant inheritance, and various clinical manifestations, sometimes also including glomerular pathology and chronic kidney disease (Kopp 2010; Sekine et al. 2010). Accordingly, MYH9 was further explored in these studies as the leading candidate gene responsible for the MALD signal. Dense mapping of MYH9 identified individual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and sets of such SNPs grouped as haplotypes that were found to be highly associated with a large and important group of ESKD risk phenotypes, which as a consequence were designated as MYH9-associated nephropathies (Bostrom and Freedman 2010). These included HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN), primary nonmonogenic forms of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, and hypertension affiliated chronic kidney disease not attributed to other etiologies (Bostrom and Freedman 2010). The MYH9 SNP and haplotype associations observed with these forms of ESKD yielded the largest odds ratios (OR) reported to date for the association of common variants with common disease risk (Winkler et al. 2010). Two specific MYH9 variants (rs5750250 of S-haplotype and rs11912763 of F-haplotype) were designated as most strongly predictive on the basis of Receiver Operating Characteristic analysis (Nelson et al. 2010). These MYH9 association studies were then also extended to earlier stage and related kidney disease phenotypes and to population groups with varying degrees of recent African ancestry admixture (Behar et al. 2010; Freedman et al. 2009a, b; Nelson et al. 2010), and led to the expectation of finding a functional African ancestry causative variant within MYH9. However, despite intensive efforts including re-sequencing of the MYH9 gene no suggested functional mutation has been identified (Nelson et al. 2010; Winkler et al. 2010). This led us to re-examine the interval surrounding MYH9 and to the detection of novel missense mutations with predicted functional effects in the neighboring APOL1 gene, which are significantly more associated with ESKD than all previously reported SNPs in MYH9.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00439-010-0861-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s00439-010-0861-0
PMCID: PMC2921485  PMID: 20635188
9.  Apolipoprotein L1 gene variants associate with hypertension-attributed nephropathy and the rate of kidney function decline in African Americans 
Kidney international  2012;83(1):114-120.
Despite intensive anti-hypertensive therapy there was a high incidence of renal end-points in participants of the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK) cohort. To better understand this, coding variants in the apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) and the non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 (MYH9) genes were evaluated for an association with hypertension-attributed nephropathy and clinical outcomes in a case-control study. Clinical data and DNA were available for 675 AASK participant cases and 618 African American non-nephropathy control individuals. APOL1 G1 and G2, and MYH9 E1 variants along with 44 ancestry informative markers were genotyped with allele frequency differences between cases and controls analyzed by logistic regression multivariable models adjusting for ancestry, age, and gender. In recessive models, APOL1 risk variants were significantly associated with kidney disease in all cases compared to controls with an odds ratio of 2.57. In AASK cases with more advanced disease, such as a baseline urine protein to creatinine ratio over 0.6 g/g or a serum creatinine over 3 mg/dL during follow-up, the association was strengthened with odds ratios of 6.29 and 4.61, respectively. APOL1 risk variants were consistently associated with renal disease progression across medication classes and blood pressure targets. Thus, kidney disease in AASK participants was strongly associated with APOL1 renal risk variants.
doi:10.1038/ki.2012.263
PMCID: PMC3484228  PMID: 22832513
10.  MYH9 and APOL1 are both associated with sickle cell disease nephropathy 
British journal of haematology  2011;155(3):10.1111/j.1365-2141.2011.08832.x.
SUMMARY
Background
Renal failure occurs in 5–18% of sickle cell disease (SCD) patients and is associated with early mortality. At risk SCD patients cannot be identified prior to the appearance of proteinuria and the pathobiology is not well understood. The MYH9 and APOL1 genes have been associated with risk for focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and end-stage renal disease in African Americans.
Methods
We genotyped 26 SNPs in MYH9 and 2 SNPs in APOL1 in 521 unrelated adult (18–83 years) SCD patients screened for proteinuria. Using logistic regression, SNPs were evaluated for association with proteinuria.
Results
Eight MYH9 SNPs and one APOL1 SNP were nominally associated with proteinuria. Six SNPs remained significant after multiple testing correction (p < 0.0025), and a risk haplotype was associated with proteinuria (p=0.001). Using multiple regression, association with APOL1 diminished in the presence of MYH9 SNPs. Glomerular filtration rate was negatively correlated with proteinuria (p < 0.0001), and was nominally associated with MYH9 and APOL1 in age-adjusted analyses.
Conclusion
Our data provide insight into the pathobiology of renal dysfunction in SCD, suggesting that MYH9 is more strongly associated than APOL1. These data also provide the opportunity for early identification of patients at risk and new therapeutics.
doi:10.1111/j.1365-2141.2011.08832.x
PMCID: PMC3885232  PMID: 21910715
sickle cell disease; nephropathy; genetics association; genetic modifier; proteinuria
11.  Podocyte-Specific Deletion of Myh9 Encoding Nonmuscle Myosin Heavy Chain 2A Predisposes Mice to Glomerulopathy ▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2011;31(10):2162-2170.
Genome-wide association studies linked single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at the MYH9 locus to chronic kidney disease among African-Americans, particularly glomerular diseases such as HIV nephropathy and idiopathic focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). However, these MYH9 SNPs are intronic, and despite extensive sequencing, a causal variant remains elusive. To investigate the role of MYH9 in kidney disease, we selectively deleted Myh9 from mouse podocytes and found that mutant C57BL/6 mice did not develop renal insufficiency or proteinuria compared to control littermates, even when the mice were aged for 9 months. To explain the surprisingly normal phenotype, we considered genetic redundancy with the paralog Myh10 in podocytes, but we found that Myh10 was not expressed in podocytes in Myh9-deficient or control mice. We tested whether Myh9 podocyte deletion predisposed mice to glomerulopathy in response to injury by doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin), and we found that Myh9 podocyte-deleted mice developed proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis, while control mice were resistant. In summary, Myh9 podocyte deletion in C57BL/6 mice results in susceptibility to experimental doxorubicin hydrochloride glomerulopathy. We review evidence that MYH9 dysfunction in humans results in similar susceptibility and place our data, the first examination of Myh9 kidney disease in experimental animals, in the context of recent findings in human kidney disease, including the role of APOL1.
doi:10.1128/MCB.05234-11
PMCID: PMC3133349  PMID: 21402784
12.  The Non-Muscle Myosin Heavy Chain 9 Gene (MYH9) Is Not Associated with Lupus Nephritis in African Americans 
American Journal of Nephrology  2010;32(1):66-72.
Background
African Americans (AA) disproportionately develop lupus nephritis (LN) relative to European Americans and familial clustering supports causative genes. Since MYH9 underlies approximately 40% of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in AA, we tested for genetic association with LN.
Methods
Seven MYH9 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and the E1 risk haplotype were tested for association with LN in three cohorts of AA.
Results
A preliminary analysis revealed that the MYH9 E1 risk haplotype was associated with ESRD in 25 cases with presumed systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)-associated ESRD, compared to 735 non-SLE controls (odds ratio 3.1; p = 0.010 recessive). Replication analyses were performed in 583 AA with SLE in the PROFILE cohort (318 with LN; 265 with SLE but without nephropathy) and 60 AA from the NIH (39 with LN; 21 with SLE but without nephropathy). Analysis of the NIH and larger PROFILE cohorts, as well as a combined analysis, did not support this association.
Conclusions
These results suggest that AA with ESRD and coincident SLE who were recruited from dialysis clinics more likely have kidney diseases in the MYH9-associated spectrum of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. PROFILE and NIH participants, recruited from rheumatology practices, demonstrate that MYH9 does not contribute substantially to the development of LN in AA.
doi:10.1159/000314688
PMCID: PMC2914393  PMID: 20523037
African Americans; Genetics; Lupus nephritis; Kidney; MYH9; Systemic lupus erythematosus
13.  End-Stage Renal Disease in African Americans With Lupus Nephritis Is Associated With APOL1 
Objective
Lupus nephritis (LN) is a severe manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) that exhibits familial aggregation and may progress to end-stage renal disease (ESRD). LN is more prevalent among African Americans than among European Americans. This study was undertaken to investigate the hypothesis that the apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) nephropathy risk alleles G1/G2, common in African Americans and rare in European Americans, contribute to the ethnic disparity in risk.
Methods
APOL1 G1 and G2 nephropathy alleles were genotyped in 855 African American SLE patients with LN-ESRD (cases) and 534 African American SLE patients without nephropathy (controls) and tested for association under a recessive genetic model, by logistic regression.
Results
Ninety percent of the SLE patients were female. The mean ± SD age at SLE diagnosis was significantly lower in LN-ESRD cases than in SLE non-nephropathy controls (27.3 ± 10.9 years versus 39.5 ± 12.2 years). The mean ± SD time from SLE diagnosis to development of LN-ESRD in cases was 7.3 ± 7.2 years. The G1/G2 risk alleles were strongly associated with SLE-ESRD, with 25% of cases and 12% of controls having 2 nephropathy alleles (odds ratio [OR] 2.57, recessive model P = 1.49 × 10−9), and after adjustment for age, sex, and ancestry admixture (OR 2.72, P = 6.23 × 10−6). The age-, sex-, and admixture-adjusted population attributable risk for ESRD among patients with G1/G2 polymorphisms was 0.26, compared to 0.003 among European American patients. The mean time from SLE diagnosis to ESRD development was ~2 years earlier among individuals with APOL1 risk genotypes (P = 0.01).
Conclusion
APOL1 G1/G2 alleles strongly impact the risk of LN-ESRD in African Americans, as well as the time to progression to ESRD. The high frequency of these alleles in African Americans with near absence in European Americans explains an important proportion of the increased risk of LN-ESRD in African Americans.
doi:10.1002/art.38220
PMCID: PMC4002759  PMID: 24504811
14.  Evaluation of Candidate Nephropathy Susceptibility Genes in a Genome-Wide Association Study of African American Diabetic Kidney Disease 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88273.
Type 2 diabetes (T2D)-associated end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) is a complex disorder resulting from the combined influence of genetic and environmental factors. This study contains a comprehensive genetic analysis of putative nephropathy loci in 965 African American (AA) cases with T2D-ESKD and 1029 AA population-based controls extending prior findings. Analysis was based on 4,341 directly genotyped and imputed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 22 nephropathy candidate genes. After admixture adjustment and correction for multiple comparisons, 37 SNPs across eight loci were significantly associated (1.6E-05
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088273
PMCID: PMC3923777  PMID: 24551085
Kidney international  2010;78(7):698-704.
Genetic variation at the MYH9 locus is linked to the high incidence of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and non-diabetic end-stage renal disease among African Americans. To further define risk alleles with FSGS we performed a genome-wide association analysis using more than one million single nucleotide polymorphisms in 56 African and 61 European American patients with biopsy-confirmed FSGS. Results were compared to 1641 European and 1800 African Americans as unselected controls. While no association was observed in the cohort of European Americans; the case-control comparison of African Americans found variants within a 60kb region of chromosome 22 containing part of the APOL1 and MYH9 genes associated with increased risk of FSGS. This region spans different linkage disequilibrium blocks and variants associating with disease within this region are in linkage disequilibrium with variants which have shown signals of natural selection. APOL1 is a strong candidate for a gene that has undergone recent natural selection and is known to be involved in the infection by Trypanosome brucei, a parasite common in Africa that has recently adapted to infect human hosts. Further studies will be required to establish which variants are causally related to kidney disease, what mutations caused the selective sweep, and to ultimately determine if these are the same.
doi:10.1038/ki.2010.251
PMCID: PMC3001190  PMID: 20668430
focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; end stage kidney disease; genetic renal disease
Human pathology  2010;42(2):291-294.
Familial clustering of disparate kidney diseases including clinically diagnosed hypertensive and diabetic nephropathy, idiopathic focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus-associated nephropathy are often observed in African Americans. Admixture mapping recently identified the non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 gene (MYH9) as a susceptibility factor strongly associated with several non-diabetic etiologies of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in African Americans, less strongly with diabetes-associated ESRD. MYH9-associated nephropathies reside in the spectrum of FSGS/focal global glomerulosclerosis. The renal histology in proteinuric African Americans homozygous for MYH9 risk variants with longstanding type 2 diabetes mellitus is unknown. We report a case of coincident idiopathic FSGS, collapsing variant; and diabetic nephropathy in an African American homozygous for the MYH9 E1 risk haplotype. This case demonstrates that diabetic African Americans with overt proteinuria can have mixed renal lesions, including those in the spectrum of MYH9-associated nephropathy. Careful interpretation of kidney biopsies in proteinuric African Americans with diabetes is necessary to exclude coincident non-diabetic forms of nephropathy, precisely define etiologies of kidney disease, and determine the natural history and treatment response in mixed lesions of diabetes-associated and MYH9-associated kidney disease.
Summary
We report a case of coincident idiopathic FSGS, collapsing variant; and diabetic nephropathy in an African American homozygous for the MYH9 E1 risk haplotype.
doi:10.1016/j.humpath.2010.07.016
PMCID: PMC3022108  PMID: 21074826
African American; collapsing variant focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; diabetes; diabetic nephropathy; MYH9
Seminars in nephrology  2010;30(2):111-125.
Until recently knowledge of genetic causes of glomerular disease was limited to certain rare or uncommon inherited diseases, and to a genes, either rare or with small effect, identified in candidate gene studies. These genetic factors accounted for only a very small fraction of kidney disease. However, the striking differences in frequency of many forms of kidney disease between African Americans and European Americans, which could not be completely explained by cultural or economic factors, pointed to a large unidentified genetic influence. Since FSGS and HIV-associated collapsing glomerulopathy (HVAN) have striking racial disparities, we performed an admixture mapping study to identify contributing genetic factors. Admixture mapping identified genetic variants in the non-muscle myosin gene MYH9 as having an extreme influence on both FSGS and HIVAN, with odds ratios from 4 to 8 and attributable fractions of 70–100%. Previously identified, rare inherited MYH9 disorders point to a mechanism by which MYH9 variation disrupts the actin-myosin filaments responsible for maintaining the structure of podocytes, the cells that provide one of three filtration barriers in the glomeruli. MYH9 variation has a smaller but still highly significant effect on non-diabetic kidney disease, and a weaker but significant effect on diabetic kidney disease; it is unclear whether underlying cryptic FSGS is responsible for the MYH9 association with these diseases. The strong predicted power of MYH9 variation for disease indicates a clear role for genetic testing for these variants in personalized medicine, for assessment of genetic risk, and potentially for diagnosis.
doi:10.1016/j.semnephrol.2010.01.003
PMCID: PMC2862292  PMID: 20347641
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51546.
Background
Among African-Americans, genome wide association revealed a strong correlation between the G1 and G2 alleles of APOL1 (apolipoproteinL1, also called trypanolytic factor) and kidney diseases including focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis, HIV-associated nephropathy and hypertensive nephrosclerosis. In the prevailing hypothesis, heterozygous APOL1 G1 and G2 alleles increase resistance against Trypanosoma that cause African sleeping sickness, resulting in positive selection of these alleles, but when homozygous the G1 and G2 alleles predispose to glomerulosclerosis. While efforts are underway to screen patients for G1 and G2 alleles and to better understand “APOL1 glomerulopathy,” no data prove that these APOL1 sequence variants cause glomerulosclerosis. G1 and G2 correlate best with glomerulosclerosis as recessive alleles, which suggests a loss of function mutation for which proof of causality is commonly tested with homozygous null alleles. This test cannot be performed in rodents as the APOL gene cluster evolved only in primates. However, there is a homozygous APOL1 null human being who lives in a village in rural India. This individual and his family offer a unique opportunity to test causality between APOL1 null alleles and glomerulosclerosis.
Methods and Findings
We obtained clinical data, blood and urine from this APOL1 null patient and 50 related villagers. Based on measurements of blood pressure, BUN, creatinine, albuminuria, genotyping and immunoblotting, this APOL1 null individual does not have glomerulosclerosis, nor do his relatives who carry APOL1 null alleles.
Conclusions
This small study cannot provide definitive conclusions but the absence of glomerulosclerosis in this unique population is consistent with the possibility that African-American glomerulosclerosis is caused, not by loss of APOL1 function, but by other mechanisms including a subtle gain of function or by the “genetic hitchhiking” of deleterious mutations in a gene linked to APOL1 G1 and G2.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051546
PMCID: PMC3530541  PMID: 23300552
Coding variants in the apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) are strongly associated with nephropathy in African Americans (AAs). The effect of transplanting kidneys from AA donors with two APOL1 nephropathy risk variants is unknown. APOL1 risk variants were genotyped in 106 AA deceased organ donors and graft survival assessed in 136 resultant kidney transplants. Cox proportional-hazard models tested for association between time to graft failure and donor APOL1 genotypes. Mean follow-up was 26.4 ± 21.8 months. Twenty-two of 136 transplanted kidneys (16%) were from donors with two APOL1 nephropathy risk variants. Twenty five grafts failed; eight (32%) had two APOL1 risk variants. A multivariate model accounting for donor APOL1 genotype, overall African ancestry, expanded criteria donation, recipient age and gender, HLA mismatch, CIT, and PRA revealed that graft survival was significantly shorter in donor kidneys with two APOL1 risk variants (hazard ratio [HR] 3.84; p=0.008) and higher HLA mismatch (HR 1.52; p=0.03), but not for overall African ancestry excluding APOL1. Kidneys from AA deceased donors harboring two APOL1 risk variants failed more rapidly after renal transplantation than those with zero or one risk variants. If replicated, APOL1 genotyping could improve the donor selection process and maximize long term renal allograft survival.
doi:10.1111/j.1600-6143.2011.03513.x
PMCID: PMC3083491  PMID: 21486385
African Americans; APOL1; focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; graft survival; kidney donor; kidney transplantation
Human genetics  2010;127(3):295-301.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an important public health problem in American Indian populations. Recent research has identified associations of polymorphisms in the myosin heavy chain type II isoform A (MYH9) gene with hypertensive CKD in African-Americans. Whether these associations are also present among American Indian individuals is unknown. To evaluate the role of genetic polymorphisms in the MYH9 gene on kidney disease in American Indians, we genotyped 25 SNPs in the MYH9 gene region in 1,119 comparatively unrelated individuals. Four SNPs failed, and one SNP was monomorphic. We inferred haplotypes using seven SNPs within the region of the previously described E haplotype using Phase v2.1. We studied the association between 20 MYH9 SNPs with kidney function (estimated glomerular filtration rate, eGFR) and CKD (eGFR < 60 ml/min/1.73 m2 or renal replacement therapy or kidney transplant) using age-, sex- and center-adjusted models and measured genotyped within the variance component models. MYH9 SNPs were not significantly associated with kidney traits in additive or recessive genetic adjusted models. MYH9 haplotypes were also not significantly associated with kidney outcomes. In conclusion, common variants in MYH9 polymorphisms may not confer an increased risk of CKD in American Indian populations. Identification of the actual functional genetic variation responsible for the associations seen in African-Americans will likely help to clarify the lack of replication of this gene in our population of American Indians.
doi:10.1007/s00439-009-0769-8
PMCID: PMC2930187  PMID: 19921264
Kidney international  2012;82(7):805-811.
Familial aggregation of non-diabetic end stage renal disease (ESRD) is found in African Americans and variants in the apolipoprotein L1 gene (APOL1) contribute to this risk. To detect genetic associations with milder forms of nephropathy in high-risk families, analyses were performed using generalized estimating equations to assess relationships between kidney disease phenotypes and APOL1 variants in 786 relatives of 470 families. Adjusting for familial correlations, 23.1, 46.7, and 30.2 percent of genotyped relatives possessed two, one, or no APOL1 risk variants, respectively. Relatives with two compared to one or no risk variants had statistically indistinguishable median systolic blood pressure, urine albumin to creatinine ratio, estimated GFR (MDRD equation) and serum cystatin C levels. After adjusting for age, gender, age at ESRD in families, and African ancestry, significant associations were detected between APOL1 with overt proteinuria and estimated GFR (CKD-EPI equation), with a trend toward significance for quantitative albuminuria. Thus, relatives of African Americans with non-diabetic ESRD are enriched for APOL1 risk variants. After adjustment, two APOL1 risk variants weakly predict mild forms of kidney disease. Second hits appear necessary for the initiation of APOL1-associated nephropathy.
doi:10.1038/ki.2012.217
PMCID: PMC3443536  PMID: 22695330
African American; APOL1; end-stage renal disease; FSGS; kidney; screening
This manuscript reviews the controversial relationship between hypertension and initiation of kidney disease. We focus on ethnic differences in renal histopathology and associated gene variants comprising the spectrum of MYH9-nephropathy.
Purpose of review
Treating mild to moderate essential hypertension in non-diabetic African Americans fails to halt nephropathy progression; while hypertension control slows nephropathy progression in European Americans. The pathogenesis of these disparate renal syndromes is reviewed.
Recent findings
The non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 gene (MYH9) is associated with a spectrum of kidney diseases in African Americans, including idiopathic focal global glomerulosclerosis historically attributed to hypertension, idiopathic focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, and the collapsing variant of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (HIV-associated nephropathy). Risk variants in MYH9 likely contribute to the failure of hypertension control to slow progressive kidney disease in non-diabetic African Americans.
Summary
Early and intensive hypertension control fails to halt progression of “hypertensive nephropathy” in African Americans. Genetic analyses in patients with essential hypertension and nephropathy attributed to hypertension, FSGS and HIVAN reveal that MYH9 gene polymorphisms are associated with a spectrum of kidney diseases in this ethnic group. Mild to moderate hypertension may cause nephropathy in European Americans with intra-renal vascular disease improved by the treatment of hypertension, hyperlipidemia and smoking cessation.
doi:10.1097/MNH.0b013e3283366344
PMCID: PMC2904692  PMID: 20051853
African Americans; CHGA; focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; genetics; hypertensive nephrosclerosis; MYH9
Kidney international  2012;82(3):338-343.
Recently, an association was found between non-diabetic kidney disease in African Americans and two independent sequence variants in the APOL1 gene, encoding apolipoprotein L1. In this study we determined the frequency of APOL1 risk variants in patients with biopsy-proven HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN) and distinctive pathological characteristics potentially driven by those risk variants. Among 76 patients with HIVAN, 60 were successfully genotyped for APOL1 G1 and G2 polymorphisms. In this cohort, 37 had two risk alleles, 18 were heterozygous and 5 had neither risk variant. There were no differences in the pathological findings of HIVAN and the number of APOL1 risk alleles. Further, the progression to end stage kidney disease or death did not differ by the number of risk alleles. Median renal survival was 9.3 months in patients with none or one risk allele compared to 11.7 months in patients with two APOL1 risk alleles. Thus, our study suggests that although the majority of African American patients with HIVAN have two APOL1 risk alleles, other as yet unknown factors in the host including genetic risk variants and environmental or viral factors may influence the development of this disorder in those with none or one APOL1 risk allele.
doi:10.1038/ki.2012.111
PMCID: PMC3463138  PMID: 22495294
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(7):e1003554.
We previously established an 80 kb haplotype upstream of TNFSF4 as a susceptibility locus in the autoimmune disease SLE. SLE-associated alleles at this locus are associated with inflammatory disorders, including atherosclerosis and ischaemic stroke. In Europeans, the TNFSF4 causal variants have remained elusive due to strong linkage disequilibrium exhibited by alleles spanning the region. Using a trans-ancestral approach to fine-map the locus, utilising 17,900 SLE and control subjects including Amerindian/Hispanics (1348 cases, 717 controls), African-Americans (AA) (1529, 2048) and better powered cohorts of Europeans and East Asians, we find strong association of risk alleles in all ethnicities; the AA association replicates in African-American Gullah (152,122). The best evidence of association comes from two adjacent markers: rs2205960-T (P = 1.71×10−34, OR = 1.43[1.26–1.60]) and rs1234317-T (P = 1.16×10−28, OR = 1.38[1.24–1.54]). Inference of fine-scale recombination rates for all populations tested finds the 80 kb risk and non-risk haplotypes in all except African-Americans. In this population the decay of recombination equates to an 11 kb risk haplotype, anchored in the 5′ region proximal to TNFSF4 and tagged by rs2205960-T after 1000 Genomes phase 1 (v3) imputation. Conditional regression analyses delineate the 5′ risk signal to rs2205960-T and the independent non-risk signal to rs1234314-C. Our case-only and SLE-control cohorts demonstrate robust association of rs2205960-T with autoantibody production. The rs2205960-T is predicted to form part of a decameric motif which binds NF-κBp65 with increased affinity compared to rs2205960-G. ChIP-seq data also indicate NF-κB interaction with the DNA sequence at this position in LCL cells. Our research suggests association of rs2205960-T with SLE across multiple groups and an independent non-risk signal at rs1234314-C. rs2205960-T is associated with autoantibody production and lymphopenia. Our data confirm a global signal at TNFSF4 and a role for the expressed product at multiple stages of lymphocyte dysregulation during SLE pathogenesis. We confirm the validity of trans-ancestral mapping in a complex trait.
Author Summary
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE/lupus) is a complex disease in which the body's immune cells cause inflammation in one or more systems to cause the associated morbidity. Hormones, the environment and genes are all causal contributors to SLE and over the past several years the genetic component of SLE has been firmly established. Several genes which are regulators of the immune system are associated with disease risk. We have established one of these, the tumour-necrosis family superfamily member 4 (TNFSF4) gene, as a lupus susceptibility gene in Northern Europeans. A major obstacle in pinpointing the marker(s) at TNFSF4 which best explain the risk of SLE has been the strong correlation (linkage disequilibrium, LD) between adjacent markers across the TNFSF4 region in this population. To address this, we have typed polymorphisms in several populations in addition to the European groups. The mixed ancestry of these populations gives a different LD pattern than that found in Europeans, presenting a method of pinpointing the section of the TNFSF4 region which results in SLE susceptibility. The Non-European populations have allowed identification of a polymorphism likely to regulate expression of TNFSF4 to increase susceptibility to SLE.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003554
PMCID: PMC3715547  PMID: 23874208
Purpose of review
This manuscript reviews recent efforts to identify genetic variants conferring risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD). A brief overview of methods for identifying gene variants is provided, along with genetic associations and new avenues under exploration.
Recent findings
The role of renal failure susceptibility genes including MYH9, ELMO1, UMOD and ACTN4 has become clearer over the last 18 months. The spectrum of MYH9-associated kidney disease including focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), global glomerulosclerosis and collapsing glomerulopathy, related entities contributing to approximately 43% of end-stage renal disease in African Americans, has come to light.
Summary
MYH9 will re-categorize FSGS and related disorders, and has clarified the relationship between hypertension and kidney disease. MYH9 polymorphisms account for much of the excess risk of HIV-associated nephropathy and non-diabetic kidney disease in African Americans. Kidney disease associations with ELMO1 and UMOD have been replicated and applications of genome-wide association studies based on expression data are providing novel insights on renal protein expression. These breakthroughs will alter our approach to kidney disease surveillance and lead to new therapeutic options.
doi:10.1097/MNH.0b013e3283331e50
PMCID: PMC2883259  PMID: 19838113
diabetes mellitus; ELMO1; focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; genetics; kidney disease; MYH9

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