The QT interval, an electrocardiographic measure reflecting myocardial repolarization, is a heritable trait. QT prolongation is a risk factor for ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death (SCD) and could indicate the presence of the potentially lethal Mendelian Long QT Syndrome (LQTS). Using a genome-wide association and replication study in up to 100,000 individuals we identified 35 common variant QT interval loci, that collectively explain ∼8-10% of QT variation and highlight the importance of calcium regulation in myocardial repolarization. Rare variant analysis of 6 novel QT loci in 298 unrelated LQTS probands identified coding variants not found in controls but of uncertain causality and therefore requiring validation. Several newly identified loci encode for proteins that physically interact with other recognized repolarization proteins. Our integration of common variant association, expression and orthogonal protein-protein interaction screens provides new insights into cardiac electrophysiology and identifies novel candidate genes for ventricular arrhythmias, LQTS,and SCD.
genome-wide association study; QT interval; Long QT Syndrome; sudden cardiac death; myocardial repolarization; arrhythmias
Nonspecific back pain is common, disabling, and costly. Therefore, we assessed effectiveness of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) in the management of nonspecific low back pain (LBP) regarding pain and functional status.
A systematic literature search unrestricted by language was performed in October 2013 in electronic and ongoing trials databases. Searches of reference lists and personal communications identified additional studies. Only randomized clinical trials were included; specific back pain or single treatment techniques studies were excluded. Outcomes were pain and functional status. Studies were independently reviewed using a standardized form. The mean difference (MD) or standard mean difference (SMD) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) and overall effect size were calculated at 3 months posttreatment. GRADE was used to assess quality of evidence.
We identified 307 studies. Thirty-one were evaluated and 16 excluded. Of the 15 studies reviewed, 10 investigated effectiveness of OMT for nonspecific LBP, 3 effect of OMT for LBP in pregnant women, and 2 effect of OMT for LBP in postpartum women. Twelve had a low risk of bias. Moderate-quality evidence suggested OMT had a significant effect on pain relief (MD, -12.91; 95% CI, -20.00 to -5.82) and functional status (SMD, -0.36; 95% CI, -0.58 to -0.14) in acute and chronic nonspecific LBP. In chronic nonspecific LBP, moderate-quality evidence suggested a significant difference in favour of OMT regarding pain (MD, -14.93; 95% CI, -25.18 to -4.68) and functional status (SMD, -0.32; 95% CI, -0.58 to -0.07). For nonspecific LBP in pregnancy, low-quality evidence suggested a significant difference in favour of OMT for pain (MD, -23.01; 95% CI, -44.13 to -1.88) and functional status (SMD, -0.80; 95% CI, -1.36 to -0.23), whereas moderate-quality evidence suggested a significant difference in favour of OMT for pain (MD, -41.85; 95% CI, -49.43 to -34.27) and functional status (SMD, -1.78; 95% CI, -2.21 to -1.35) in nonspecific LBP postpartum.
Clinically relevant effects of OMT were found for reducing pain and improving functional status in patients with acute and chronic nonspecific LBP and for LBP in pregnant and postpartum women at 3 months posttreatment. However, larger, high-quality randomized controlled trials with robust comparison groups are recommended.
Low back pain; Spinal manipulation; Osteopathic manipulative treatment; Systematic review
Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a chronic cholestatic liver disease characterized by inflammation and fibrosis of the bile ducts. Both environmental and genetic factors contribute to its pathogenesis. To further clarify its genetic background, we investigated susceptibility loci recently identified for ulcerative colitis (UC) in a large cohort of 1186PSC patients and 1748 controls. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) tagging 13 UC susceptibility loci were initially genotyped in 854 PSC patients and 1491 controls from the Benelux (331 cases, 735 controls), Germany (265 cases, 368 controls) and Scandinavia (258 cases, 388 controls). Subsequently, a joint analysis was performed with an independent second Scandinavian cohort (332 cases, 257 controls). SNPs at chromosomes2p16 (p value 4.12×10−4), 4q27 (p value 4.10×10−5) and 9q34 (p value 8.41×10−4) were associated with PSC in the joint analysis after correcting for multiple testing. In PSC patients without inflammatory bowel disease(IBD), SNPs at 4q27and9q34 were nominally associated (p<0.05). We applied additional in silico analyses to identify likely candidate genes at PSC susceptibility loci. To identify non-random, evidence-based links we used GRAIL analysis showing interconnectivity between genes in six out of in total nine PSC-associated regions. Expression quantitative trait analysis from 1469 Dutch and UK individuals demonstrated that five out of nine SNPs had an effect on cis-gene expression. These analyses prioritized IL2, CARD9 and REL as novel candidates.
We have identified three UC susceptibility loci to be associated with PSC, harboring the putative candidate genes REL, IL2 and CARD9. These results add to the scarce knowledge on the genetic background of PSC and imply an important role for both innate and adaptive immunological factors.
chronic liver disease; auto-immunity; inflammation; complex disease; genetics
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and candidate gene studies in ulcerative colitis (UC) have identified 18 susceptibility loci. We conducted a meta-analysis of 6 UC GWAS, comprising 6,687 cases and 19,718 controls, and followed-up the top association signals in 9,628 cases and 12,917 controls. We identified 29 additional risk loci (P<5×10-8), increasing the number of UC associated loci to 47. After annotating associated regions using GRAIL, eQTL data and correlations with non-synonymous SNPs, we identified many candidate genes providing potentially important insights into disease pathogenesis, including IL1R2, IL8RA/B, IL7R, IL12B, DAP, PRDM1, JAK2, IRF5, GNA12 and LSP1. The total number of confirmed inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) risk loci is now 99, including a minimum of 28 shared association signals between Crohn’s disease (CD) and UC.
The 1-kb BamHI-SalI fragment from plasmid pMAR2 termed the enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) adherence factor (EAF) probe was cloned in pUC19 and pK18. The nucleotide sequence of this fragment was determined, and a set of primers was designed to amplify a 397-bp region associated with pMAR2 by PCR. An analysis of the whole EAF sequence with database libraries indicated no significant homology to any known genes. However, between bases 701 and 787 of the fragment, an 82.8% homology between the EAF and the insertion sequence IS630 of Shigella sonnei exists. The results of PCR with primers of the EAF sequence demonstrated that all of the 151 EAF probe-positive EPEC strains with localized adherence to HEp-2 cells yielded positive EAF PCR results. In contrast, none of the 277 EAF probe-negative strains reacted to the EAF PCR. In addition, the PCR assay was successfully used to generate vector-free digoxigenin-labeled EAF fragments that gave valid results in colony blot hybridization assays. The EAF PCR appears to be a specific and efficient method for the detection of EPEC strains carrying the EAF plasmids.
We conducted a case–control study to examine associations between parasite infection, including protozoa infection, and tuberculosis (TB) in children in Lima, Peru. We enrolled 189 matched-pairs. In multivariable conditional logistic regression analyses, Blastocystis hominis infection (rate ratio = 0.30, 95% confidence interval = 0.14–0.64, P = 0.002) was strongly associated with a lower risk of TB. We observed a statistically significant inverse linear dose-response relationship between Blastocystis hominis infection and TB. These findings should be confirmed in future prospective studies.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common, heritable neuropsychiatric disorder of unknown etiology. We performed a whole-genome copy number variation (CNV) study on 1,013 cases with ADHD and 4,105 healthy children of European ancestry using 550,000 SNPs. We evaluated statistically significant findings in multiple independent cohorts, with a total of 2,493 cases with ADHD and 9,222 controls of European ancestry, using matched platforms. CNVs affecting metabotropic glutamate receptor genes were enriched across all cohorts (P = 2.1 × 10−9). We saw GRM5 (encoding glutamate receptor, metabotropic 5) deletions in ten cases and one control (P = 1.36 × 10−6). We saw GRM7 deletions in six cases, and we saw GRM8 deletions in eight cases and no controls. GRM1 was duplicated in eight cases. We experimentally validated the observed variants using quantitative RT-PCR. A gene network analysis showed that genes interacting with the genes in the GRM family are enriched for CNVs in ~10% of the cases (P = 4.38 × 10−10) after correction for occurrence in the controls. We identified rare recurrent CNVs affecting glutamatergic neurotransmission genes that were overrepresented in multiple ADHD cohorts.
Schizophrenia is a highly heritable disorder. Genetic risk is conferred by a large number of alleles, including common alleles of small effect that might be detected by genome-wide association studies. Here, we report a multi-stage schizophrenia genome-wide association study of up to 36,989 cases and 113,075 controls. We identify 128 independent associations spanning 108 conservatively defined loci that meet genome-wide significance, 83 of which have not been previously reported. Associations were enriched among genes expressed in brain providing biological plausibility for the findings. Many findings have the potential to provide entirely novel insights into aetiology, but associations at DRD2 and multiple genes involved in glutamatergic neurotransmission highlight molecules of known and potential therapeutic relevance to schizophrenia, and are consistent with leading pathophysiological hypotheses. Independent of genes expressed in brain, associations were enriched among genes expressed in tissues that play important roles in immunity, providing support for the hypothesized link between the immune system and schizophrenia.
T-cell immunoglobulin domain and mucin domain-3 (TIM-3, also known as HAVCR2) is an activation-induced inhibitory molecule involved in tolerance and shown to induce T-cell exhaustion in chronic viral infection and cancers1–5. Under some conditions, TIM-3 expression has also been shown to be stimulatory. Considering that TIM-3, like cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) and programmed death 1 (PD-1), is being targeted for cancer immunotherapy, it is important to identify the circumstances under which TIM-3 can inhibit and activate T-cell responses. Here we show that TIM-3 is co-expressed and forms a heterodimer with carcinoembryonic antigen cell adhesion molecule 1 (CEACAM1), another well-known molecule expressed on activated T cells and involved in T-cell inhibition6–10. Biochemical, biophysical and X-ray crystallography studies show that the membrane-distal immunoglobulin-variable (IgV)-like amino-terminal domain of each is crucial to these interactions. The presence of CEACAM1 endows TIM-3 with inhibitory function. CEACAM1 facilitates the maturation and cell surface expression of TIM-3 by forming a heterodimeric interaction in cis through the highly related membrane-distal N-terminal domains of each molecule. CEACAM1 and TIM-3 also bind in trans through their N-terminal domains. Both cis and trans interactions between CEACAM1 and TIM-3 determine the tolerance-inducing function of TIM-3. In a mouse adoptive transfer colitis model, CEACAM1-deficient T cells are hyper-inflammatory with reduced cell surface expression of TIM-3 and regulatory cytokines, and this is restored by T-cell-specific CEACAM1 expression. During chronic viral infection and in a tumour environment, CEACAM1 and TIM-3 mark exhausted T cells. Co-blockade of CEACAM1 and TIM-3 leads to enhancement of anti-tumour immune responses with improved elimination of tumours in mouse colorectal cancer models. Thus, CEACAM1 serves as a heterophilic ligand for TIM-3 that is required for its ability to mediate T-cell inhibition, and this interaction has a crucial role in regulating autoimmunity and anti-tumour immunity.
Response inhibition is one of the executive functions impaired in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Increasing evidence indicates that altered functional and structural neural connectivity are part of the neurobiological basis of ADHD. Here, we investigated if adolescents with ADHD show altered functional connectivity during response inhibition compared to their unaffected siblings and healthy controls.
Response inhibition was assessed using the stop signal paradigm. Functional connectivity was assessed using psycho-physiological interaction analyses applied to BOLD time courses from seed regions within inferior- and superior frontal nodes of the response inhibition network. Resulting networks were compared between adolescents with ADHD (N = 185), their unaffected siblings (N = 111), and controls (N = 125).
Control subjects showed stronger functional connectivity than the other two groups within the response inhibition network, while subjects with ADHD showed relatively stronger connectivity between default mode network (DMN) nodes. Stronger connectivity within the response inhibition network was correlated with lower ADHD severity, while stronger connectivity with the DMN was correlated with increased ADHD severity. Siblings showed connectivity patterns similar to controls during successful inhibition and to ADHD subjects during failed inhibition. Additionally, siblings showed decreased connectivity with the primary motor areas as compared to both participants with ADHD and controls.
Subjects with ADHD fail to integrate activation within the response inhibition network and to inhibit connectivity with task-irrelevant regions. Unaffected siblings show similar alterations only during failed stop trials, as well as unique suppression of motor areas, suggesting compensatory strategies. These findings support the role of altered functional connectivity in understanding the neurobiology and familial transmission of ADHD.
•We investigate the neural connectivity during response inhibition using PPI.•We investigate connectivity in participants with ADHD, their siblings and controls.•Participants with ADHD show lower connectivity within the response inhibition network.•Participants with ADHD show higher connectivity with the default mode network.•Unaffected siblings show unique patterns of compensatory activation.
ADHD, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder; CD, conduct disorder; DMN, default mode network; GEE, generalized estimating equations; ICV, intraindividual coefficient of variance; ODD, oppositional defiant disorder; RD, reading disorder; ROI, region of interest; SSRT, stop-signal reaction time; SST, Stop-signal task; SI, supplementary information; WM, white matter; ADHD; PPI; Connectivity; Siblings; Response inhibition
Recovery after hip fracture is complex involving many transitions along the care continuum. The recovery process, and these transitions, often present significant challenges for older adults and their families and caregivers. There is an identified need for more targeted information to support older adults and their families throughout the recovery process.Therefore, our goal was to understand the recovery phase after hip fracture from the patient perspective, and identify specific messages that could be integrated into future educational material for clinical practice to support patients during recovery. Using a qualitative description design guided by a strengths-based focus, we invited men and women 60+ years with previous hip fracture and their family members/caregivers to participate in interviews. We used purposive criterion sampling within the community setting to recruit participants. We followed a semi-structured guide to conduct the interviews, either in person or over the telephone, and focused questions on experiences with hip fracture and factors that enabled recovery. Two investigators coded and analyzed interview transcripts to identify key messages. We interviewed a total of 19 participants: eleven older adults who sustained a hip fracture and eight family member/caregivers. Participants described three main messages that enabled recovery: 1) seek support; 2) move more; and 3) preserve perspective. Participants provided vital information about their recovery experience from hip fracture. In future, this knowledge can be incorporated into patient-centered education and shared with older adults, their families, and health care professionals across the continuum of care.
hip fractures; qualitative research; patient-centered care; education
We evaluated urinary isoflavonoid excretion as a biomarker of dietary isoflavone intake during two randomized soy trials (13–24 months) among 256 premenopausal women with a total of 1,385 repeated urine samples. Participants consumed a high-soy diet (2 servings/day) and a low-soy diet (<3 servings/week), completed 7 unannounced 24-hour dietary recalls, and donated repeated urine samples, which were analyzed for isoflavonoid excretion by liquid chromatography methods. We computed correlation coefficients and applied logistic regression to estimate the area under the curve. Median daily dietary isoflavone intakes at baseline, during low- and high-soy diet were 0.5, 0.2, and 67.7 mg aglycone equivalents, respectively. The corresponding urinary isoflavonoid excretion values were 0.9, 1.1, and 43.9 nmol/mg creatinine. Across diets, urinary isoflavonoid excretion was significantly associated with dietary isoflavone intake (rs=0.51, AUC=0.85; p<0.0001) but not within diet periods (rs=0.05–0.06, AUC=0.565–0.573). Urinary isoflavonoid excretion is an excellent biomarker to discriminate between low- and high-soy diets across populations, but the association with dietary isoflavone intake is weak when the range of soy intake is small.
Soy foods; isoflavones; biomarker; dietary intervention; epidemiology
The ISPyB information-management system for crystallography has been adapted to include data from small-angle X-ray scattering of macromolecules in solution experiments.
Logging experiments with the laboratory-information management system ISPyB (Information System for Protein crystallography Beamlines) enhances the automation of small-angle X-ray scattering of biological macromolecules in solution (BioSAXS) experiments. The ISPyB interface provides immediate user-oriented online feedback and enables data cross-checking and downstream analysis. To optimize data quality and completeness, ISPyBB (ISPyB for BioSAXS) makes it simple for users to compare the results from new measurements with previous acquisitions from the same day or earlier experiments in order to maximize the ability to collect all data required in a single synchrotron visit. The graphical user interface (GUI) of ISPyBB has been designed to guide users in the preparation of an experiment. The input of sample information and the ability to outline the experimental aims in advance provides feedback on the number of measurements required, calculation of expected sample volumes and time needed to collect the data: all of this information aids the users to better prepare for their trip to the synchrotron. A prototype version of the ISPyBB database is now available at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) beamline BM29 and is already greatly appreciated by academic users and industrial clients. It will soon be available at the PETRA III beamline P12 and the Diamond Light Source beamlines I22 and B21.
small-angle X-ray scattering; proteins in solution; automation; laboratory information-management system
Genetic variants within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) represent the strongest genetic susceptibility factors for primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). Identifying the causal variants within this genetic complex represents a major challenge due to strong linkage disequilibrium and an overall high physical density of candidate variants. We aimed to refine the MHC association in a geographically restricted PSC patient panel.
A total of 365 PSC cases and 368 healthy controls of Scandinavian ancestry were included in the study. We incorporated data from HLA typing (HLA-A, -B, -C, -DRB3, -DRB1, -DQB1) and single nucleotide polymorphisms across the MHC (n = 18,644; genotyped and imputed) alongside previously suggested PSC risk determinants in the MHC, i.e. amino acid variation of DRβ, a MICA microsatellite polymorphism and HLA-C and HLA-B according to their ligand properties for killer immunoglobulin-like receptors. Breakdowns of the association signal by unconditional and conditional logistic regression analyses demarcated multiple PSC associated MHC haplotypes, and for eight of these classical HLA class I and II alleles represented the strongest association. A novel independent risk locus was detected near NOTCH4 in the HLA class III region, tagged by rs116212904 (odds ratio [95% confidence interval] = 2.32 [1.80, 3.00], P = 1.35×10−11).
Our study shows that classical HLA class I and II alleles, predominantly at HLA-B and HLA-DRB1, are the main risk factors for PSC in the MHC. In addition, the present assessments demonstrated for the first time an association near NOTCH4 in the HLA class III region.
Recent genome wide association studies (GWAS) of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) have identified associations with genetic variation at both HLA and non-HLA loci; however, much of heritable HL susceptibility remains unexplained. Here we perform a meta-analysis of three HL GWAS totaling 1,816 cases and 7,877 controls followed by replication in an independent set of 1,281 cases and 3,218 controls to find novel risk loci. We identify a novel variant at 19p13.3 associated with HL (rs1860661; odds ratio [OR] = 0.81, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] = 0.76–0.86, Pcombined = 3.5 × 10−10), located in intron 2 of TCF3 (also known as E2A), a regulator of B- and T-cell lineage commitment known to be involved in HL pathogenesis. This meta-analysis also notes associations between previously published loci at 2p16.1, 5q31, 6p31.2, 8q24.21 and 10p14 and HL subtypes. We conclude that our data suggest a link between the 19p13.3 locus, including TCF3, and HL risk
To gain statistical power or to allow fine mapping, researchers typically want to pool data before meta-analyses or genotype imputation. However, the necessary harmonization of genetic datasets is currently error-prone because of many different file formats and lack of clarity about which genomic strand is used as reference.
Genotype Harmonizer (GH) is a command-line tool to harmonize genetic datasets by automatically solving issues concerning genomic strand and file format. GH solves the unknown strand issue by aligning ambiguous A/T and G/C SNPs to a specified reference, using linkage disequilibrium patterns without prior knowledge of the used strands. GH supports many common GWAS/NGS genotype formats including PLINK, binary PLINK, VCF, SHAPEIT2 & Oxford GEN. GH is implemented in Java and a large part of the functionality can also be used as Java ‘Genotype-IO’ API. All software is open source under license LGPLv3 and available from http://www.molgenis.org/systemsgenetics.
GH can be used to harmonize genetic datasets across different file formats and can be easily integrated as a step in routine meta-analysis and imputation pipelines.
GWAS; Imputation; Meta-analysis; Linkage disequilibrium
Percutaneous renal biopsy (PRB) is a decisive diagnostic procedure for children and adolescents with renal diseases. Aim of this study was to evaluate retrospectively the complication rates of percutaneous kidney biopsies and their therapeutic consequences to assess the role of ultrasound-guidance including Doppler ultrasound examinations in preparation, execution and follow-up care and to present a recommended protocol.
Patients and Methods
Institutional review board approved this retrospective study; informed consent was waived. Between 1997 and 2011 a total of 438 ultrasound-guided biopsies were performed in 295 patients, 169 of the biopsies were performed on kidney transplants. Average age of patients was 10.2+/−5.2 years (range of 15 days until age of 23). Before and post biopsy ultrasound examination including Doppler examination was carried out. Biopsy itself was ultrasound monitored. Complications were analysed with regard to age of patient, kidney transplants, year of occurrence, number of punctures, performing physician and time interval of occurrence to develop an optimized protocol for ultrasound-guidance.
In 99% of cases successful PRB were performed, i.e. enough kidney parenchyma for histological analysis was obtained. No lethal or major complication that required surgical intervention occurred. Eighteen relevant complications were observed (complication rate: 4.1%). Except in one case in which additional MRI diagnostic was necessary, ultrasound examination after 4 hours post biopsy or even earlier when symptoms occurred, was able to detect complications and determine indications for intervention.
Ultrasound-guided PRB is an established and effective method in children and adolescents, but shows a certain rate of complications and therefore should not be indicated without diligence. Ultrasound including Doppler ultrasound is a valuable tool in preparation, guidance of biopsy, detection of complications and in follow-up care. Ultrasound examinations (including Doppler) pre-, during and 4 hours post kidney biopsy and, depending from case, a few days until weeks after biopsy is recommended.
A large fraction of human genes are regulated by genetic variation near the transcribed sequence (cis-eQTL, expression quantitative trait locus), and many cis-eQTLs have implications for human disease. Less is known regarding the effects of genetic variation on expression of distant genes (trans-eQTLs) and their biological mechanisms. In this work, we use genome-wide data on SNPs and array-based expression measures from mononuclear cells obtained from a population-based cohort of 1,799 Bangladeshi individuals to characterize cis- and trans-eQTLs and determine if observed trans-eQTL associations are mediated by expression of transcripts in cis with the SNPs showing trans-association, using Sobel tests of mediation. We observed 434 independent trans-eQTL associations at a false-discovery rate of 0.05, and 189 of these trans-eQTLs were also cis-eQTLs (enrichment P<0.0001). Among these 189 trans-eQTL associations, 39 were significantly attenuated after adjusting for a cis-mediator based on Sobel P<10-5. We attempted to replicate 21 of these mediation signals in two European cohorts, and while only 7 trans-eQTL associations were present in one or both cohorts, 6 showed evidence of cis-mediation. Analyses of simulated data show that complete mediation will be observed as partial mediation in the presence of mediator measurement error or imperfect LD between measured and causal variants. Our data demonstrates that trans-associations can become significantly stronger or switch directions after adjusting for a potential mediator. Using simulated data, we demonstrate that this phenomenon is expected in the presence of strong cis-trans confounding and when the measured cis-transcript is correlated with the true (unmeasured) mediator. In conclusion, by applying mediation analysis to eQTL data, we show that a substantial fraction of observed trans-eQTL associations can be explained by cis-mediation. Future studies should focus on understanding the mechanisms underlying widespread cis-mediation and their relevance to disease biology, as well as using mediation analysis to improve eQTL discovery.
Expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) studies have demonstrated that human genes can be regulated by genetic variation residing close to the gene (cis-eQTLs) or in a distant region or on a different chromosome (trans-eQTLs). While cis-eQTL variants are likely to affect transcription factor binding or chromatin structure, our understanding of the mechanisms underlying trans-eQTLs is incomplete. We hypothesize that a substantial fraction of trans-eQTLs influence expression of distant genes through mediation by expression levels of a cis-transcript. In this paper, we use genome-wide SNPs and expression data for 1,799 South Asians to identify cis- and trans-eQTLs and to test our hypothesis using Sobel tests of mediation. Among 189 observed trans-eQTL associations, we provide evidence of cis-mediation for 39, 6 of which show mediation in an independent European cohort. We used simulated data to demonstrate that complete mediation will be observed as partial mediation in the presence of mediator measurement error or imperfect LD between measured and causal variants. We also demonstrate how unobserved confounding variables and incorrect mediator selection can bias mediation estimates. In conclusion, we have identified cis-mediators for many trans-eQTLs and described a mediation analysis approach that can be used to validate, characterize, and enhance discovery of trans-eQTLs.
Arthropods typically show two types of segmentation: the embryonic parasegments and the adult segments that lie out of register with each other. Such a dual nature of body segmentation has not been described from Onychophora, one of the closest arthropod relatives. Hence, it is unclear whether onychophorans have segments, parasegments, or both, and which of these features was present in the last common ancestor of Onychophora and Arthropoda. To address this issue, we analysed the expression patterns of the “segment polarity genes” engrailed, cubitus interruptus, wingless and hedgehog in embryos of the onychophoran Euperipatoides rowelli. Our data revealed that these genes are expressed in repeated sets with a specific anterior-to-posterior order along the body in embryos of E. rowelli. In contrast to arthropods, the expression occurs after the segmental boundaries have formed. Moreover, the initial segmental furrow retains its position within the engrailed domain throughout development, whereas no new furrow is formed posterior to this domain. This suggests that no re-segmentation of the embryo occurs in E. rowelli. Irrespective of whether or not there is a morphological or genetic manifestation of parasegments in Onychophora, our data clearly show that parasegments, even if present, cannot be regarded as the initial metameric units of the onychophoran embryo, because the expression of key genes that define the parasegmental boundaries in arthropods occurs after the segmental boundaries have formed. This is in contrast to arthropods, in which parasegments rather than segments are the initial metameric units of the embryo. Our data further revealed that the expression patterns of “segment polarity genes” correspond to organogenesis rather than segment formation. This is in line with the concept of segmentation as a result of concerted evolution of individual periodic structures rather than with the interpretation of ‘segments’ as holistic units.
miRNA profiles are promising biomarker candidates for a manifold of human pathologies, opening new avenues for diagnosis and prognosis. Beyond studies that describe miRNAs frequently as markers for specific traits, we asked whether a general pattern for miRNAs across many diseases exists.
We evaluated genome-wide circulating profiles of 1,049 patients suffering from 19 different cancer and non-cancer diseases as well as unaffected controls. The results were validated on 319 individuals using qRT-PCR.
We discovered 34 miRNAs with strong disease association. Among those, we found substantially decreased levels of hsa-miR-144* and hsa-miR-20b with AUC of 0.751 (95% CI: 0.703–0.799), respectively. We also discovered a set of miRNAs, including hsa-miR-155*, as rather stable markers, offering reasonable control miRNAs for future studies. The strong downregulation of hsa-miR-144* and the less variable pattern of hsa-miR-155* has been validated in a cohort of 319 samples in three different centers. Here, breast cancer as an additional disease phenotype not included in the screening phase has been included as the 20th trait.
Our study on 1,368 patients including 1,049 genome-wide miRNA profiles and 319 qRT-PCR validations further underscores the high potential of specific blood-borne miRNA patterns as molecular biomarkers. Importantly, we highlight 34 miRNAs that are generally dysregulated in human pathologies. Although these markers are not specific to certain diseases they may add to the diagnosis in combination with other markers, building a specific signature. Besides these dysregulated miRNAs, we propose a set of constant miRNAs that may be used as control markers.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12916-014-0224-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Bioinformatics; Biomarker; Microarray; miRNA
Betel nut; Betel quid; alkaloids; chewing; carcinogen; biomarkers
The PCLO rs2522833 candidate polymorphism for depression has been associated to monoaminergic neurotransmission. In healthy and currently depressed individuals, the polymorphism has been found to affect activation of brain areas during memory processing, but no direct association of PCLO with memory bias was found. We hypothesized that the absence of this association might have been obscured by current depressive symptoms or genetically driven individual differences in reactivity to stressful events. Experiencing stressful childhood events fosters dysfunctional assumptions that are related to cognitive biases, and may modulate the predisposition for depression via epigenetic effects. The association between PCLO and memory bias, as well as interaction between PCLO and childhood events was studied in patients remitted from depression (N = 299), as well as a sample of healthy individuals (N = 157). The participants performed an emotional verbal memory task after a sad mood induction. Childhood trauma and adversity were measured with a questionnaire. The Genotype main effect, and Genotype by Childhood Events interaction were analyzed for memory bias in both samples. PCLO risk allele carrying remitted depressed patients did not show more negatively biased memory than non-risk allele carriers, not even patients with stressful childhood events. A similar pattern of results was found in healthy individuals. Memory bias may not be strongly associated with the PCLO rs2522833 polymorphism. We did not find any support for the PCLO-childhood events interaction, but the power of our study was insufficient to exclude this possibility.
The stand-alone treatment of degenerative cervical spine pathologies is a proven method in clinical practice. However, its impact on subsidence, the resulting changes to the profile of the cervical spine and the possible influence of clinical results compared to treatment with additive plate osteosynthesis remain under discussion until present.
This study was designed as a retrospective observational cohort study to test the hypothesis that radiographic subsidence of cervical cages is not associated with adverse clinical outcomes. 33 cervical segments were treated surgically by ACDF with stand-alone cage in 17 patients (11 female, 6 male), mean age 56 years (33–82 years), and re-examined after eight and twenty-six months (mean) by means of radiology and score assessment (Medical Outcomes Study Short Form (MOS-SF 36), Oswestry Neck Disability Index (ONDI), painDETECT questionnaire and the visual analogue scale (VAS)).
Subsidence was observed in 50.5% of segments (18/33) and 70.6% of patients (12/17). 36.3% of cases of subsidence (12/33) were observed after eight months during mean time of follow-up 1. After 26 months during mean time of follow-up 2, full radiographic fusion was seen in 100%. MOS-SF 36, ONDI and VAS did not show any significant difference between cases with and without subsidence in the two-sample t-test. Only in one type of scoring (painDETECT questionnaire) did a statistically significant difference in t-Test emerge between the two groups (p = 0.03; α = 0.05). However, preoperative painDETECT score differ significantly between patients with subsidence (13.3 falling to 12.6) and patients without subsidence (7.8 dropped to 6.3).
The radiological findings indicated 100% healing after stand-alone treatment with ACDF. Subsidence occurred in 50% of the segments treated. No impact on the clinical results was detected in the medium-term study period.
Cervical cage subsidence; ACDF; Stand-alone cervical cages; Cervical spine
Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are thought to share a genetic background (“Dutch hypothesis”).
We investigated whether asthma and COPD have common underlying genetic factors, performing genome-wide association studies for both asthma and COPD and combining the results in meta-analyses.
Three loci showed potential involvement in both diseases: chr2p24.3, chr5q23.1 and chr13q14.2, containing DDX1, COMMD10 (both participating in the NFκβ pathway) and GNG5P5, respectively. SNP rs9534578 in GNG5P5 reached genome-wide significance after first stage replication (p=9.96·*10−9). The second stage replication in seven independent cohorts provided no significant replication. eQTL analysis in blood and lung on the top 20 associated SNPs identified two SNPs in COMMD10 influencing gene expression.
Inflammatory processes differ in asthma and COPD and are mediated by NFκβ, which could be driven by the same underlying genes, COMMD10 and DDX1. None of the SNPs reached genome-wide significance. Our eQTL studies support a functional role of two COMMD10 SNPs, since they influence gene expression in both blood cells and lung tissue. Our findings either suggest that there is no common genetic component in asthma and COPD or, alternatively, different environmental factors, like lifestyle and occupation in different countries and continents may have obscured the genetic common contribution.
Following fertilization, the early proteomes of metazoans are defined by the translation of stored but repressed transcripts; further embryonic development relies on de novo transcription of the zygotic genome. During sexual development of Plasmodium berghei, a rodent model for human malaria species including P. falciparum, the stability of repressed mRNAs requires the translational repressors DOZI and CITH. When these repressors are absent, Plasmodium zygote development and transmission to the mosquito vector is halted, as hundreds of transcripts become destabilized. However, which mRNAs are direct targets of these RNA binding proteins, and thus subject to translational repression, is unknown.
We identify the maternal mRNA contribution to post-fertilization development of P. berghei using RNA immunoprecipitation and microarray analysis. We find that 731 mRNAs, approximately 50% of the transcriptome, are associated with DOZI and CITH, allowing zygote development to proceed in the absence of RNA polymerase II transcription. Using GFP-tagging, we validate the repression phenotype of selected genes and identify mRNAs relying on the 5′ untranslated region for translational control. Gene deletion reveals a novel protein located in the ookinete crystalloid with an essential function for sporozoite development.
Our study details for the first time the P. berghei maternal repressome. This mRNA population provides the developing ookinete with coding potential for key molecules required for life-cycle progression, and that are likely to be critical for the transmission of the malaria parasite from the rodent and the human host to the mosquito vector.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13059-014-0493-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.