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1.  Development of a Multi-Biomarker Disease Activity Test for Rheumatoid Arthritis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60635.
Background
Disease activity measurement is a key component of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) management. Biomarkers that capture the complex and heterogeneous biology of RA have the potential to complement clinical disease activity assessment.
Objectives
To develop a multi-biomarker disease activity (MBDA) test for rheumatoid arthritis.
Methods
Candidate serum protein biomarkers were selected from extensive literature screens, bioinformatics databases, mRNA expression and protein microarray data. Quantitative assays were identified and optimized for measuring candidate biomarkers in RA patient sera. Biomarkers with qualifying assays were prioritized in a series of studies based on their correlations to RA clinical disease activity (e.g. the Disease Activity Score 28-C-Reactive Protein [DAS28-CRP], a validated metric commonly used in clinical trials) and their contributions to multivariate models. Prioritized biomarkers were used to train an algorithm to measure disease activity, assessed by correlation to DAS and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve for classification of low vs. moderate/high disease activity. The effect of comorbidities on the MBDA score was evaluated using linear models with adjustment for multiple hypothesis testing.
Results
130 candidate biomarkers were tested in feasibility studies and 25 were selected for algorithm training. Multi-biomarker statistical models outperformed individual biomarkers at estimating disease activity. Biomarker-based scores were significantly correlated with DAS28-CRP and could discriminate patients with low vs. moderate/high clinical disease activity. Such scores were also able to track changes in DAS28-CRP and were significantly associated with both joint inflammation measured by ultrasound and damage progression measured by radiography. The final MBDA algorithm uses 12 biomarkers to generate an MBDA score between 1 and 100. No significant effects on the MBDA score were found for common comorbidities.
Conclusion
We followed a stepwise approach to develop a quantitative serum-based measure of RA disease activity, based on 12-biomarkers, which was consistently associated with clinical disease activity levels.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060635
PMCID: PMC3621826  PMID: 23585841
2.  Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML) Development Is Associated With Mutations in JC Virus Capsid Protein VP1 That Change Its Receptor Specificity 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2011;204(1):103-114.
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a fatal demyelinating disease caused by JC virus (JCV) infection of oligodendrocytes, may develop in patients with immune disorders following reactivation of chronic benign infection. Mutations of JCV capsid viral protein 1 (VP1), the capsid protein involved in binding to sialic acid cell receptors, might favor PML onset.
Cerebrospinal fluid sequences from 37/40 PML patients contained one of several JCV VP1 amino acid mutations, which were also present in paired plasma but not urine sequences despite the same viral genetic background. VP1-derived virus-like particles (VLPs) carrying these mutations lost hemagglutination ability, showed different ganglioside specificity, and abolished binding to different peripheral cell types compared with wild-type VLPs. However, mutants still bound brain-derived cells, and binding was not affected by sialic acid removal by neuraminidase. JCV VP1 substitutions are acquired intrapatient and might favor JCV brain invasion through abrogation of sialic acid binding with peripheral cells, while maintaining sialic acid–independent binding with brain cells.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jir198
PMCID: PMC3307153  PMID: 21628664
3.  Sequencing and Analysis of JC Virus DNA From Natalizumab-Treated PML Patients 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2011;204(2):237-244.
Background. Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) in natalizumab-treated MS patients is linked to JC virus (JCV) infection. JCV sequence variation and rearrangements influence viral pathogenicity and tropism. To better understand PML development, we analyzed viral DNA sequences in blood, CSF and/or urine of natalizumab-treated PML patients.
Methods. Using biofluid samples from 17 natalizumab-treated PML patients, we sequenced multiple isolates of the JCV noncoding control region (NCCR), VP1 capsid coding region, and the entire 5 kb viral genome.
Results. Analysis of JCV from multiple biofluids revealed that individuals were infected with a single genotype. Across our patient cohort, multiple PML-associated NCCR rearrangements and VP1 mutations were present in CSF and blood, but absent from urine-derived virus. NCCR rearrangements occurred in CSF of 100% of our cohort. VP1 mutations were observed in blood or CSF in 81% of patients. Sequencing of complete JCV genomes demonstrated that NCCR rearrangements could occur without VP1 mutations, but VP1 mutations were not observed without NCCR rearrangement.
Conclusions. These data confirm that JCV in natalizumab-PML patients is similar to that observed in other PML patient groups, multiple genotypes are associated with PML, individual patients appear to be infected with a single genotype, and PML-associated mutations arise in patients during PML development.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jir256
PMCID: PMC3114470  PMID: 21673034
4.  TRAF1-C5 as a Risk Locus for Rheumatoid Arthritis — A Genomewide Study 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;357(12):1199-1209.
BACKGROUND
Rheumatoid arthritis has a complex mode of inheritance. Although HLA-DRB1 and PTPN22 are well-established susceptibility loci, other genes that confer a modest level of risk have been identified recently. We carried out a genomewide association analysis to identify additional genetic loci associated with an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
METHODS
We genotyped 317,503 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a combined case-control study of 1522 case subjects with rheumatoid arthritis and 1850 matched control subjects. The patients were seropositive for autoantibodies against cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP). We obtained samples from two data sets, the North American Rheumatoid Arthritis Consortium (NARAC) and the Swedish Epidemiological Investigation of Rheumatoid Arthritis (EIRA). Results from NARAC and EIRA for 297,086 SNPs that passed quality-control filters were combined with the use of Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel stratified analysis. SNPs showing a significant association with disease (P<1×10-8) were genotyped in an independent set of case subjects with anti-CCP-positive rheumatoid arthritis (485 from NARAC and 512 from EIRA) and in control subjects (1282 from NARAC and 495 from EIRA).
RESULTS
We observed associations between disease and variants in the major-histocompatibility-complex locus, in PTPN22, and in a SNP (rs3761847) on chromosome 9 for all samples tested, the latter with an odds ratio of 1.32 (95% confidence interval, 1.23 to 1.42; P = 4×10-14). The SNP is in linkage disequilibrium with two genes relevant to chronic inflammation: TRAF1 (encoding tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 1) and C5 (encoding complement component 5).
CONCLUSIONS
A common genetic variant at the TRAF1-C5 locus on chromosome 9 is associated with an increased risk of anti-CCP-positive rheumatoid arthritis.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa073491
PMCID: PMC2636867  PMID: 17804836
5.  STAT4 and the Risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
The New England journal of medicine  2007;357(10):977-986.
BACKGROUND
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease with a substantial genetic component. Susceptibility to disease has been linked with a region on chromosome 2q.
METHODS
We tested single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in and around 13 candidate genes within the previously linked chromosome 2q region for association with rheumatoid arthritis. We then performed fine mapping of the STAT1-STAT4 region in a total of 1620 case patients with established rheumatoid arthritis and 2635 controls, all from North America. Implicated SNPs were further tested in an independent case-control series of 1529 patients with early rheumatoid arthritis and 881 controls, all from Sweden, and in a total of 1039 case patients and 1248 controls from three series of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.
RESULTS
A SNP haplotype in the third intron of STAT4 was associated with susceptibility to both rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. The minor alleles of the haplotype-defining SNPs were present in 27% of chromosomes of patients with established rheumatoid arthritis, as compared with 22% of those of controls (for the SNP rs7574865, P = 2.81×10-7; odds ratio for having the risk allele in chromosomes of patients vs. those of controls, 1.32). The association was replicated in Swedish patients with recent-onset rheumatoid arthritis (P = 0.02) and matched controls. The haplotype marked by rs7574865 was strongly associated with lupus, being present on 31% of chromosomes of case patients and 22% of those of controls (P = 1.87×10-9; odds ratio for having the risk allele in chromosomes of patients vs. those of controls, 1.55). Homozygosity of the risk allele, as compared with absence of the allele, was associated with a more than doubled risk for lupus and a 60% increased risk for rheumatoid arthritis.
CONCLUSIONS
A haplotype of STAT4 is associated with increased risk for both rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, suggesting a shared pathway for these illnesses.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa073003
PMCID: PMC2630215  PMID: 17804842
6.  Genome-Wide Association Scan Identifies Candidate Polymorphisms Associated with Differential Response to Anti-TNF Treatment in Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Molecular Medicine  2008;14(9-10):575-581.
The prediction of response (or non-response) to anti-TNF treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a pressing clinical problem. We conducted a genome-wide association study using the Illumina HapMap300 SNP chip on 89 RA patients prospectively followed after beginning anti-TNF therapy as part of Autoimmune Biomarkers Collaborative Network (ABCoN [Autoimmune Bio-markers Collaborative Network]) patient cohort. Response to therapy was determined by the change in Disease Activity Score (DAS28) observed after 14 wks. We used a two-part analysis that treated the change in DAS28 as a continuous trait and then incorporated it into a dichotomous trait of “good responder” and “nonresponder” by European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) criteria. We corrected for multiple tests by permutation, and adjusted for potential population stratification using EIGENSTRAT. Multiple single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers showed significant associations near or within loci including: the v-maf musculoaponeurotic fibrosarcoma oncogene homolog B (MAFB) gene on chromosome 20; the type I interferon gene IFNk on chromosome 9; and in a locus on chromosome 7 that includes the paraoxonase I (PON1) gene. An SNP in the IL10 promoter (rs1800896) that was previously reported as associated with anti-TNF response was weakly associated with response in this cohort. Replications of these results in independent and larger data sets clearly are required. We provide a reference list of candidate SNPs (P < 0.01) that can be investigated in future pharmacogenomic studies.
doi:10.2119/2008-00056.Liu
PMCID: PMC2443997  PMID: 18615156
7.  Several Regions in the Major Histocompatibility Complex Confer Risk for Anti-CCP-Antibody Positive Rheumatoid Arthritis, Independent of the DRB1 Locus 
Molecular Medicine  2008;14(5-6):293-300.
Recent evidence suggests that additional risk loci for RA are present in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), independent of the class II HLA-DRB1 locus. We have now tested a total of 1,769 SNPs across 7.5Mb of the MHC located from 6p22.2 (26.03 Mb) to 6p21.32 (33.59 Mb) derived from the Illumina 550K Beadchip (Illumina, San Diego, CA, USA). For an initial analysis in the whole dataset (869 RA CCP + cases, 1,193 controls), the strongest association signal was observed in markers near the HLA-DRB1 locus, with additional evidence for association extending out into the Class I HLA region. To avoid confounding that may arise due to linkage disequilibrium with DRB1 alleles, we analyzed a subset of the data by matching cases and controls by DRB1 genotype (both alleles matched 1:1), yielding a set of 372 cases with 372 controls. This analysis revealed the presence of at least two regions of association with RA in the Class I region, independent of DRB1 genotype. SNP alleles found on the conserved A1-B8-DR3 (8.1) haplotype show the strongest evidence of positive association (P ~ 0.00005) clustered in the region around the HLA-C locus. In addition, we identified risk alleles that are not present on the 8.1 haplotype, with maximal association signals (P ~ 0.001–0.0027) located near the ZNF311 locus. This latter association is enriched in DRB1*0404 individuals. Finally, several additional association signals were found in the extreme centromeric portion of the MHC, in regions containing the DOB1, TAP2, DPB1, and COL11A2 genes. These data emphasize that further analysis of the MHC is likely to reveal genetic risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis that are independent of the DRB1 shared epitope alleles.
doi:10.2119/2007-00123.Lee
PMCID: PMC2255558  PMID: 18309376

Results 1-7 (7)