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author:("Kere, jaha")
1.  Activating germline mutations in STAT3 cause early-onset multi-organ autoimmune disease 
Nature genetics  2014;46(8):812-814.
Monogenic causes of autoimmunity give key insights to the complex regulation of the immune system. We report a new monogenic cause of autoimmunity resulting from de novo germline activating STAT3 mutations in 5 individuals with a spectrum of early-onset autoimmune disease including type 1 diabetes. These findings emphasise the critical role of STAT3 in autoimmune disease and contrast with the germline inactivating STAT3 mutations that result in Hyper IgE syndrome.
doi:10.1038/ng.3040
PMCID: PMC4129488  PMID: 25038750
2.  A follow-up linkage study of Finnish pre-eclampsia families identifies a new fetal susceptibility locus on chromosome 18 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2013;21(9):1024-1026.
Pre-eclampsia is a common vascular disorder of pregnancy. It originates in the placenta and targets the maternal endothelium. According to epidemiological research, >50% of the liability to this disorder can be accounted for by genetic factors. Both maternal and fetal genes contribute to the risk, but especially the fetal genetic risk profile is still poorly understood. We have previously detected linkage signals in multiplex Finnish families on chromosomes 2p25, 4q32, and 9p13 using maternal phenotypes. We performed a linkage analysis using updated maternal phenotypes and an unprecedented linkage analysis using fetal phenotypes. Markers genotyped were available from 237 individuals in 15 Finnish families, including 72 affected mothers and 49 affected fetuses. The MERLIN software was used for sample and marker quality control and linkage analysis. The results were compared against the original ones obtained by using the GENEHUNTER 2.1 software. The previous identification of the maternal susceptibility locus to a genetic location at 21.70 cM near marker D2S168 on chromosome 2 was confirmed by using both maternal and fetal phenotypes (maternal non-parametric linkage (NPL) score 3.79, P=0.00008, LOD (logarithm (base 10) of odds)=2.20 and fetal NPL score 2.95, P=0.002, LOD=1.71). As a novel finding, we present a suggestive linkage to chromosome 18 at 86.80 cM near marker D18S64 (NPL score 2.51, P=0.006, LOD=1.20) using the fetal phenotype. We propose that chromosome 18 may harbor a new fetal susceptibility locus for pre-eclampsia.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2013.6
PMCID: PMC3746276  PMID: 23386034
pre-eclampsia; linkage; maternal phenotype; fetal phenotype; family study
3.  Differences in Gene Expression between Mouse and Human for Dynamically Regulated Genes in Early Embryo 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e102949.
Infertility is a worldwide concern that can be treated with in vitro fertilization (IVF). Improvements in IVF and infertility treatment depend largely on better understanding of the molecular mechanisms for human preimplantation development. Several large-scale studies have been conducted to identify gene expression patterns for the first five days of human development, and many functional studies utilize mouse as a model system. We have identified genes of possible importance for this time period by analyzing human microarray data and available data from online databases. We selected 70 candidate genes for human preimplantation development and investigated their expression in the early mouse development from oocyte to the 8-cell stage. Maternally loaded genes expectedly decreased in expression during development both in human and mouse. We discovered that 25 significantly upregulated genes after fertilization in human included 13 genes whose orthologs in mouse behaved differently and mimicked the expression profile of maternally expressed genes. Our findings highlight many significant differences in gene expression patterns during mouse and human preimplantation development. We also describe four cancer-testis antigen families that are also highly expressed in human embryos: PRAME, SSX, GAGE and MAGEA.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102949
PMCID: PMC4121084  PMID: 25089626
4.  Sequencing of breast cancer stem cell populations indicates a dynamic conversion between differentiation states in vivo 
Introduction
The cancer stem cell model implies a hierarchical organization within breast tumors maintained by cancer stem-like cells (CSCs). Accordingly, CSCs are a subpopulation of cancer cells with capacity for self-renewal, differentiation and tumor initiation. These cells can be isolated through the phenotypic markers CD44+/CD24-, expression of ALDH1 and an ability to form nonadherent, multicellular spheres in vitro. However, controversies to describe the stem cell model exist; it is unclear whether the tumorigenicity of CSCs in vivo is solely a proxy for a certain genotype. Moreover, in vivo evidence is lacking to fully define the reversibility of CSC differentiation.
Methods
In order to answer these questions, we undertook exome sequencing of CSCs from 12 breast cancer patients, along with paired primary tumor samples. As suggested by stem classical cell biology, we assumed that the number of mutations in the CSC subpopulation should be lower and distinct compared to the differentiated tumor cells with higher proliferation.
Results
Our analysis revealed that the majority of somatic mutations are shared between CSCs and bulk primary tumor, with similar frequencies in the two.
Conclusions
The data presented here exclude the possibility that CSCs are only a phenotypic consequence of certain somatic mutations, that is a distinct and non-reversible population of cells. In addition, our results imply that CSCs must be a population of cells that can dynamically switch from differentiated tumor cells, and vice versa. This finding increases our understanding of CSC function in tumor heterogeneity and the importance of identifying drugs to counter de-differentiation rather than targeting CSCs.
doi:10.1186/bcr3687
PMCID: PMC4227057  PMID: 24998755
5.  Genetic dissection of the pre-eclampsia susceptibility locus on chromosome 2q22 reveals shared novel risk factors for cardiovascular disease 
Molecular Human Reproduction  2013;19(7):423-437.
Pre-eclampsia is an idiopathic pregnancy disorder promoting morbidity and mortality to both mother and child. Delivery of the fetus is the only means to resolve severe symptoms. Women with pre-eclamptic pregnancies demonstrate increased risk for later life cardiovascular disease (CVD) and good evidence suggests these two syndromes share several risk factors and pathophysiological mechanisms. To elucidate the genetic architecture of pre-eclampsia we have dissected our chromosome 2q22 susceptibility locus in an extended Australian and New Zealand familial cohort. Positional candidate genes were prioritized for exon-centric sequencing using bioinformatics, SNPing, transcriptional profiling and QTL-walking. In total, we interrogated 1598 variants from 52 genes. Four independent SNP associations satisfied our gene-centric multiple testing correction criteria: a missense LCT SNP (rs2322659, P = 0.0027), a synonymous LRP1B SNP (rs35821928, P = 0.0001), an UTR-3 RND3 SNP (rs115015150, P = 0.0024) and a missense GCA SNP (rs17783344, P = 0.0020). We replicated the LCT SNP association (P = 0.02) and observed a borderline association for the GCA SNP (P = 0.07) in an independent Australian case–control population. The LRP1B and RND3 SNP associations were not replicated in this same Australian singleton cohort. Moreover, these four SNP associations could not be replicated in two additional case–control populations from Norway and Finland. These four SNPs, however, exhibit pleiotropic effects with several quantitative CVD-related traits. Our results underscore the genetic complexity of pre-eclampsia and present novel empirical evidence of possible shared genetic mechanisms underlying both pre-eclampsia and other CVD-related risk factors.
doi:10.1093/molehr/gat011
PMCID: PMC3690803  PMID: 23420841
2q22; cardiovascular disease risk trait; genetic association; pleiotropy; pre-eclampsia
6.  Rule-Based Models of the Interplay between Genetic and Environmental Factors in Childhood Allergy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80080.
Both genetic and environmental factors are important for the development of allergic diseases. However, a detailed understanding of how such factors act together is lacking. To elucidate the interplay between genetic and environmental factors in allergic diseases, we used a novel bioinformatics approach that combines feature selection and machine learning. In two materials, PARSIFAL (a European cross-sectional study of 3113 children) and BAMSE (a Swedish birth-cohort including 2033 children), genetic variants as well as environmental and lifestyle factors were evaluated for their contribution to allergic phenotypes. Monte Carlo feature selection and rule based models were used to identify and rank rules describing how combinations of genetic and environmental factors affect the risk of allergic diseases. Novel interactions between genes were suggested and replicated, such as between ORMDL3 and RORA, where certain genotype combinations gave odds ratios for current asthma of 2.1 (95% CI 1.2-3.6) and 3.2 (95% CI 2.0-5.0) in the BAMSE and PARSIFAL children, respectively. Several combinations of environmental factors appeared to be important for the development of allergic disease in children. For example, use of baby formula and antibiotics early in life was associated with an odds ratio of 7.4 (95% CI 4.5-12.0) of developing asthma. Furthermore, genetic variants together with environmental factors seemed to play a role for allergic diseases, such as the use of antibiotics early in life and COL29A1 variants for asthma, and farm living and NPSR1 variants for allergic eczema. Overall, combinations of environmental and life style factors appeared more frequently in the models than combinations solely involving genes. In conclusion, a new bioinformatics approach is described for analyzing complex data, including extensive genetic and environmental information. Interactions identified with this approach could provide useful hints for further in-depth studies of etiological mechanisms and may also strengthen the basis for risk assessment and prevention.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080080
PMCID: PMC3833974  PMID: 24260339
8.  Genes identified in Asian SLE GWASs are also associated with SLE in Caucasian populations 
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWASs) conducted in Asian populations have identified novel risk loci for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Here, we genotyped 10 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in eight such loci and investigated their disease associations in three independent Caucasian SLE case–control cohorts recruited from Sweden, Finland and the United States. The disease associations of the SNPs in ETS1, IKZF1, LRRC18-WDFY4, RASGRP3, SLC15A4, TNIP1 and 16p11.2 were replicated, whereas no solid evidence of association was observed for the 7q11.23 locus in the Caucasian cohorts. SLC15A4 was significantly associated with renal involvement in SLE. The association of TNIP1 was more pronounced in SLE patients with renal and immunological disorder, which is corroborated by two previous studies in Asian cohorts. The effects of all the associated SNPs, either conferring risk for or being protective against SLE, were in the same direction in Caucasians and Asians. The magnitudes of the allelic effects for most of the SNPs were also comparable across different ethnic groups. On the contrary, remarkable differences in allele frequencies between Caucasian and Asian populations were observed for all associated SNPs. In conclusion, most of the novel SLE risk loci identified by GWASs in Asian populations were also associated with SLE in Caucasian populations. We observed both similarities and differences with respect to the effect sizes and risk allele frequencies across ethnicities.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2012.277
PMCID: PMC3746253  PMID: 23249952
systemic lupus erythematosus; genetic-association study; Asian; Caucasian
9.  SAMstrt: statistical test for differential expression in single-cell transcriptome with spike-in normalization 
Bioinformatics  2013;29(22):2943-2945.
Motivation: Recent transcriptome studies have revealed that total transcript numbers vary by cell type and condition; therefore, the statistical assumptions for single-cell transcriptome studies must be revisited. SAMstrt is an extension code for SAMseq, which is a statistical method for differential expression, to enable spike-in normalization and statistical testing based on the estimated absolute number of transcripts per cell for single-cell RNA-seq methods.
Availability and Implementation: SAMstrt is implemented on R and available in github (https://github.com/shka/R-SAMstrt).
Contact: shintaro.katayama@ki.se
Supplementary Information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btt511
PMCID: PMC3810855  PMID: 23995393
10.  Genomic Strategy Identifies a Missense Mutation in WD-Repeat Domain 65 (WDR65) in an Individual with Van der Woude Syndrome 
Genetic variation in the transcription factor Interferon Regulatory Factor 6 (IRF6) causes and contributes risk for oral clefting disorders. We hypothesized that genes regulated by IRF6 are also involved in oral clefting disorders. We used five criteria to identify potential IRF6 target genes; differential gene expression in skin taken from wild type and Irf6-deficient murine embryos, localization to the Van der Woude syndrome 2 (VWS2) locus at 1p36–1p32, overlapping expression with Irf6, presence of a conserved predicted binding site in the promoter region, and a mutant murine phenotype that was similar to the Irf6 mutant mouse. Previously, we observed altered expression for 573 genes; 13 were located in the murine region syntenic to the VWS2 locus. Two of these genes, Wdr65 and Stratifin, met four of five criteria. Wdr65 was a novel gene that encoded a predicted protein of 1250 amino acids with two WD domains. As potential targets for Irf6 regulation, we hypothesized that disease-causing mutations will be found in WDR65 and Stratifin in individuals with VWS or VWS-like syndromes. We identified a potentially etiologic missense mutation in WDR65 in a person with VWS who does not have an exonic mutation in IRF6. The expression and mutation data were consistent with the hypothesis that WDR65 was a novel gene involved in oral clefting.
doi:10.1002/ajmg.a.33980
PMCID: PMC3753799  PMID: 21574244
cleft lip and palate; mutation; gene expression; syndrome; genomic; microvilli; WD domain; transcription factor
11.  Genome-wide association study identifies new psoriasis susceptibility loci and an interaction between HLA-C and ERAP1 
Strange, Amy | Capon, Francesca | Spencer, Chris CA | Knight, Jo | Weale, Michael E | Allen, Michael H | Barton, Anne | Band, Gavin | Bellenguez, Céline | Bergboer, Judith GM | Blackwell, Jenefer M | Bramon, Elvira | Bumpstead, Suzannah J | Casas, Juan P | Cork, Michael J | Corvin, Aiden | Deloukas, Panos | Dilthey, Alexander | Duncanson, Audrey | Edkins, Sarah | Estivill, Xavier | Fitzgerald, Oliver | Freeman, Colin | Giardina, Emiliano | Gray, Emma | Hofer, Angelika | Hüffmeier, Ulrike | Hunt, Sarah E | Irvine, Alan D | Jankowski, Janusz | Kirby, Brian | Langford, Cordelia | Lascorz, Jesús | Leman, Joyce | Leslie, Stephen | Mallbris, Lotus | Markus, Hugh S | Mathew, Christopher G | McLean, WH Irwin | McManus, Ross | Mössner, Rotraut | Moutsianas, Loukas | Naluai, Åsa T | Nestle, Frank O | Novelli, Giuseppe | Onoufriadis, Alexandros | Palmer, Colin NA | Perricone, Carlo | Pirinen, Matti | Plomin, Robert | Potter, Simon C | Pujol, Ramon M | Rautanen, Anna | Riveira-Munoz, Eva | Ryan, Anthony W | Salmhofer, Wolfgang | Samuelsson, Lena | Sawcer, Stephen J | Schalkwijk, Joost | Smith, Catherine H | Ståhle, Mona | Su, Zhan | Tazi-Ahnini, Rachid | Traupe, Heiko | Viswanathan, Ananth C | Warren, Richard B | Weger, Wolfgang | Wolk, Katarina | Wood, Nicholas | Worthington, Jane | Young, Helen S | Zeeuwen, Patrick LJM | Hayday, Adrian | Burden, A David | Griffiths, Christopher EM | Kere, Juha | Reis, André | McVean, Gilean | Evans, David M | Brown, Matthew A | Barker, Jonathan N | Peltonen, Leena | Donnelly, Peter | Trembath, Richard C
Nature genetics  2010;42(11):985-990.
doi:10.1038/ng.694
PMCID: PMC3749730  PMID: 20953190
12.  Epigenome-wide association data implicate DNA methylation as an intermediary of genetic risk in Rheumatoid Arthritis 
Nature biotechnology  2013;31(2):142-147.
Epigenetic mechanisms integrate genetic and environmental causes of disease. Comprehensive genome-wide analyses of epigenetic modifications have not demonstrated robust association with common diseases. Using Illumina HumanMethylation450 arrays on 354 ACPA positive rheumatoid arthritis (RA) cases and 337 controls, we identified two clusters within the MHC region whose differential methylation potentially mediates genetic risk for RA. To reduce confounding hampering previous epigenome-wide studies, we corrected for cellular heterogeneity by estimating and adjusting for cell-type proportions and used mediation analysis to filter out associations likely consequential to disease. Four CpGs also showed association between genotype and variance of methylation in addition to mean. The associations for both clusters replicated at least one CpG (p<0.01), with the rest showing suggestive association, in monocytes in an independent 12 cases and 12 controls. Thus, DNA methylation is a potential mediator of genetic risk.
doi:10.1038/nbt.2487
PMCID: PMC3598632  PMID: 23334450
13.  A genome-wide association study of atopic dermatitis identifies loci with overlapping effects on asthma and psoriasis 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(23):4841-4856.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is the most common dermatological disease of childhood. Many children with AD have asthma and AD shares regions of genetic linkage with psoriasis, another chronic inflammatory skin disease. We present here a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of childhood-onset AD in 1563 European cases with known asthma status and 4054 European controls. Using Illumina genotyping followed by imputation, we generated 268 034 consensus genotypes and in excess of 2 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for analysis. Association signals were assessed for replication in a second panel of 2286 European cases and 3160 European controls. Four loci achieved genome-wide significance for AD and replicated consistently across all cohorts. These included the epidermal differentiation complex (EDC) on chromosome 1, the genomic region proximal to LRRC32 on chromosome 11, the RAD50/IL13 locus on chromosome 5 and the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) on chromosome 6; reflecting action of classical HLA alleles. We observed variation in the contribution towards co-morbid asthma for these regions of association. We further explored the genetic relationship between AD, asthma and psoriasis by examining previously identified susceptibility SNPs for these diseases. We found considerable overlap between AD and psoriasis together with variable coincidence between allergic rhinitis (AR) and asthma. Our results indicate that the pathogenesis of AD incorporates immune and epidermal barrier defects with combinations of specific and overlapping effects at individual loci.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddt317
PMCID: PMC3820131  PMID: 23886662
14.  Drug repositioning: a machine-learning approach through data integration 
Existing computational methods for drug repositioning either rely only on the gene expression response of cell lines after treatment, or on drug-to-disease relationships, merging several information levels. However, the noisy nature of the gene expression and the scarcity of genomic data for many diseases are important limitations to such approaches. Here we focused on a drug-centered approach by predicting the therapeutic class of FDA-approved compounds, not considering data concerning the diseases. We propose a novel computational approach to predict drug repositioning based on state-of-the-art machine-learning algorithms. We have integrated multiple layers of information: i) on the distances of the drugs based on how similar are their chemical structures, ii) on how close are their targets within the protein-protein interaction network, and iii) on how correlated are the gene expression patterns after treatment. Our classifier reaches high accuracy levels (78%), allowing us to re-interpret the top misclassifications as re-classifications, after rigorous statistical evaluation. Efficient drug repurposing has the potential to significantly impact the whole field of drug development. The results presented here can significantly accelerate the translation into the clinics of known compounds for novel therapeutic uses.
doi:10.1186/1758-2946-5-30
PMCID: PMC3704944  PMID: 23800010
Drug repositioning; Connectivity map; CMap; ATC code; Mode of action; Machine learning; SVM; Integrative genomics; SMILES; Anthelmintics; Antineoplastic; Oxamniquine; Niclosamide
15.  Altered Methylation of IGF2 Locus 20 Years after Preterm Birth at Very Low Birth Weight 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e67379.
Introduction
People born preterm at very low birth weight (VLBW, ≤1500g) have higher rates of risk factors for adult-onset diseases, including cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. These risks may be mediated through epigenetic modification of genes that are critical to normal growth and development.
Methods
We measured the methylation level of an imprinted insulin-like-growth-factor 2 (IGF2) locus (IGF2/H19) in young adults born preterm at VLBW and in their peers born at term. We studied 158 VLBW and 161 control subjects aged 18 to 27 years from the Helsinki Study of Very Low Birth Weight Adults. Methylation fraction at two IGF2 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) – IGF2 antisense transcript (IGF2AS, also known as IGF2 DMR0) and last exon of IGF2 (IGF2_05, also known as IGF2 DMR2) – were measured with Sequenom Epityper. We used linear regression and adjustment for covariates to compare methylation fractions at these DMRs between VLBW and control subjects.
Results
At one IGF2AS CpG site, methylation was significantly lower in VLBW than in control subjects, mean difference −0.017 (95% CI; −0.028, −0.005), P = 0.004. Methylation at IGF2_05 was not different between the groups.
Conclusions
Methylation of IGF2AS is altered 20 years after preterm birth at VLBW. Altered methylation may be a mechanism of later increased disease risk but more data are needed to indicate causality.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067379
PMCID: PMC3686716  PMID: 23840686
16.  Identification of fifteen new psoriasis susceptibility loci highlights the role of innate immunity 
Nature genetics  2012;44(12):1341-1348.
Summary
To gain further insight into the genetic architecture of psoriasis, we conducted a meta-analysis of three genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and two independent datasets genotyped on the Immunochip, involving 10,588 cases and 22,806 controls in total. We identified 15 new disease susceptibility regions, increasing the number of psoriasis-associated loci to 36 for Caucasians. Conditional analyses identified five independent signals within previously known loci. The newly identified shared disease regions encompassed a number of genes whose products regulate T-cell function (e.g. RUNX3, TAGAP and STAT3). The new psoriasis-specific regions were notable for candidate genes whose products are involved in innate host defense, encoding proteins with roles in interferon-mediated antiviral responses (DDX58), macrophage activation (ZC3H12C), and NF-κB signaling (CARD14 and CARM1). These results portend a better understanding of shared and distinctive genetic determinants of immune-mediated inflammatory disorders and emphasize the importance of the skin in innate and acquired host defense.
doi:10.1038/ng.2467
PMCID: PMC3510312  PMID: 23143594
17.  Ultra-Rare Mutation in Long-Range Enhancer Predisposes to Thyroid Carcinoma with High Penetrance 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e61920.
Thyroid cancer shows high heritability but causative genes remain largely unknown. According to a common hypothesis the genetic predisposition to thyroid cancer is highly heterogeneous; being in part due to many different rare alleles. Here we used linkage analysis and targeted deep sequencing to detect a novel single-nucleotide mutation in chromosome 4q32 (4q32A>C) in a large pedigree displaying non-medullary thyroid carcinoma (NMTC). This mutation is generally ultra-rare; it was not found in 38 NMTC families, in 2676 sporadic NMTC cases or 2470 controls. The mutation is located in a long-range enhancer element whose ability to bind the transcription factors POU2F and YY1 is significantly impaired, with decreased activity in the presence of the C- allele compared with the wild type A-allele. An enhancer RNA (eRNA) is transcribed in thyroid tissue from this region and is greatly downregulated in NMTC tumors. We suggest that this is an example of an ultra-rare mutation predisposing to thyroid cancer with high penetrance.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0061920
PMCID: PMC3653903  PMID: 23690926
18.  Interaction between Retinoid Acid Receptor-Related Orphan Receptor Alpha (RORA) and Neuropeptide S Receptor 1 (NPSR1) in Asthma 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60111.
Retinoid acid receptor-related Orphan Receptor Alpha (RORA) was recently identified as a susceptibility gene for asthma in a genome-wide association study. To investigate the impact of RORA on asthma susceptibility, we performed a genetic association study between RORA single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the vicinity of the asthma-associated SNP (rs11071559) and asthma-related traits. Because the regulatory region of a previously implicated asthma susceptibility gene, Neuropeptide S receptor 1 (NPSR1), has predicted elements for RORA binding, we hypothesized that RORA may interact biologically and genetically with NPSR1. 37 RORA SNPs and eight NPSR1 SNPs were genotyped in the Swedish birth cohort BAMSE (2033 children) and the European cross-sectional PARSIFAL study (1120 children). Seven RORA SNPs confined into a 49 kb region were significantly associated with physician-diagnosed childhood asthma. The most significant association with rs7164773 (T/C) was driven by the CC genotype in asthma cases (OR = 2.0, 95%CI 1.36–2.93, p = 0.0003 in BAMSE; and 1.61, 1.18–2.19, p = 0.002 in the combined BAMSE-PARSIFAL datasets, respectively), and strikingly, the risk effect was dependent on the Gln344Arg mutation in NPSR1. In cell models, stimulation of NPSR1 activated a pathway including RORA and other circadian clock genes. Over-expression of RORA decreased NPSR1 promoter activity further suggesting a regulatory loop between these genes. In addition, Rora mRNA expression was lower in the lung tissue of Npsr1 deficient mice compared to wildtype littermates during the early hours of the light period. We conclude that RORA SNPs are associated with childhood asthma and show epistasis with NPSR1, and the interaction between RORA and NPSR1 may be of biological relevance. Combinations of common susceptibility alleles and less common functional polymorphisms may modify the joint risk effects on asthma susceptibility.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060111
PMCID: PMC3615072  PMID: 23565190
19.  Genetic Susceptibility to Non-Necrotizing Erysipelas/Cellulitis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56225.
Background
Bacterial non-necrotizing erysipelas and cellulitis are often recurring, diffusely spreading infections of the skin and subcutaneous tissues caused most commonly by streptococci. Host genetic factors influence infection susceptibility but no extensive studies on the genetic determinants of human erysipelas exist.
Methods
We performed genome-wide linkage with the 10,000 variant Human Mapping Array (HMA10K) array on 52 Finnish families with multiple erysipelas cases followed by microsatellite fine mapping of suggestive linkage peaks. A scan with the HMA250K array was subsequently performed with a subset of cases and controls.
Results
Significant linkage was found at 9q34 (nonparametric multipoint linkage score (NPLall) 3.84, p = 0.026), which is syntenic to a quantitative trait locus for susceptibility to group A streptococci infections on chromosome 2 in mouse. Sequencing of candidate genes in the 9q34 region did not conclusively associate any to erysipelas/cellulitis susceptibility. Suggestive linkage (NPLall>3.0) was found at three loci: 3q22-24, 21q22, and 22q13. A subsequent denser genome scan with the HMA250K array supported the 3q22 locus, in which several SNPs in the promoter of AGTR1 (Angiotensin II receptor type I) suggestively associated with erysipelas/cellulitis susceptibility.
Conclusions
Specific host genetic factors may cause erysipelas/cellulitis susceptibility in humans.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056225
PMCID: PMC3577772  PMID: 23437094
20.  DNA Methylation in the Neuropeptide S Receptor 1 (NPSR1) Promoter in Relation to Asthma and Environmental Factors 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53877.
Asthma and allergy are complex disorders influenced by both inheritance and environment, a relationship that might be further clarified by epigenetics. Neuropeptide S Receptor 1 (NPSR1) has been associated with asthma and allergy and a study suggested modulation of the genetic risk by environmental factors. We aimed to study DNA methylation in the promoter region of NPSR1 in relation to asthma and environmental exposures. Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay (EMSA) was used to investigate potential functional roles of both genotypes and methylation status in the NPSR1 promoter. DNA methylation was analysed using EpiTYPER in blood samples from two well-characterized cohorts; the BIOAIR study of severe asthma in adults and the Swedish birth cohort BAMSE. We observed that DNA methylation and genetic variants in the promoter influenced the binding of nuclear proteins to DNA, suggesting functional relevance. Significant, although small, differences in methylation were related to both adult severe asthma (p = 0.0001) and childhood allergic asthma (p = 0.01). Furthermore, DNA methylation was associated with exposures such as current smoking in adults for two CpG sites (p = 0.005 and 0.04), parental smoking during infancy in the children (p = 0.02) and in which month the sample was taken (p = 0.01). In summary, DNA methylation levels in the promoter of NPSR1 showed small but significant associations with asthma, both in adults and in children, and to related traits such as allergy and certain environmental exposures. Both genetic variation and the methylated state of CpG sites seem to have an effect on the binding of nuclear proteins in the regulatory region of NPSR1 suggesting complex regulation of this gene in asthma and allergy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053877
PMCID: PMC3553086  PMID: 23372674
21.  The Dyslexia Candidate Locus on 2p12 Is Associated with General Cognitive Ability and White Matter Structure 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50321.
Independent studies have shown that candidate genes for dyslexia and specific language impairment (SLI) impact upon reading/language-specific traits in the general population. To further explore the effect of disorder-associated genes on cognitive functions, we investigated whether they play a role in broader cognitive traits. We tested a panel of dyslexia and SLI genetic risk factors for association with two measures of general cognitive abilities, or IQ, (verbal and non-verbal) in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) cohort (N>5,000). Only the MRPL19/C2ORF3 locus showed statistically significant association (minimum P = 0.00009) which was further supported by independent replications following analysis in four other cohorts. In addition, a fifth independent sample showed association between the MRPL19/C2ORF3 locus and white matter structure in the posterior part of the corpus callosum and cingulum, connecting large parts of the cortex in the parietal, occipital and temporal lobes. These findings suggest that this locus, originally identified as being associated with dyslexia, is likely to harbour genetic variants associated with general cognitive abilities by influencing white matter structure in localised neuronal regions.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050321
PMCID: PMC3509064  PMID: 23209710
22.  Centrosomal Localization of the Psoriasis Candidate Gene Product, CCHCR1, Supports a Role in Cytoskeletal Organization 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49920.
CCHCR1 (Coiled-Coil α-Helical Rod protein 1), within the major psoriasis susceptibility locus PSORS1, is a plausible candidate gene with the psoriasis associated risk allele CCHCR1*WWCC. Although its expression pattern in psoriatic skin differs from healthy skin and its overexpression influences cell proliferation in transgenic mice, its role as a psoriasis effector gene has remained unsettled. The 5′-region of the gene contains a SNP (rs3130453) that controls a 5′-extended open reading frame and thus the translation of alternative isoforms. We have now compared the function of two CCHCR1 isoforms: the novel longer isoform 1 and the previously studied isoform 3. In samples of Finnish and Swedish families, the allele generating only isoform 3 shows association with psoriasis (P<10−7). Both isoforms localize at the centrosome, a cell organelle playing a role in cell division. In stably transfected cells the isoform 3 affects cell proliferation and with the CCHCR1*WWCC allele, also apoptosis. Furthermore, cells overexpressing CCHCR1 show isoform- and haplotype-specific influences in the cell size and shape and alterations in the organization and expression of the cytoskeletal proteins actin, vimentin, and cytokeratins. The isoform 1 with the non-risk allele induces the expression of keratin 17, a hallmark for psoriasis; the silencing of CCHCR1 reduces its expression in HEK293 cells. CCHCR1 also regulates EGF-induced STAT3 activation in an isoform-specific manner: the tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT3 is disturbed in isoform 3-transfected cells. The centrosomal localization of CCHCR1 provides a connection to the abnormal cell proliferation and offers a link to possible cellular pathways altered in psoriasis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049920
PMCID: PMC3506594  PMID: 23189171
23.  Differential DNA Methylation in Purified Human Blood Cells: Implications for Cell Lineage and Studies on Disease Susceptibility 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e41361.
Methylation of cytosines at CpG sites is a common epigenetic DNA modification that can be measured by a large number of methods, now even in a genome-wide manner for hundreds of thousands of sites. The application of DNA methylation analysis is becoming widely popular in complex disorders, for example, to understand part of the “missing heritability”. The DNA samples most readily available for methylation studies are derived from whole blood. However, blood consists of many functionally and developmentally distinct cell populations in varying proportions. We studied whether such variation might affect the interpretation of methylation studies based on whole blood DNA. We found in healthy male blood donors there is important variation in the methylation profiles of whole blood, mononuclear cells, granulocytes, and cells from seven selected purified lineages. CpG methylation between mononuclear cells and granulocytes differed for 22% of the 8252 probes covering the selected 343 genes implicated in immune-related disorders by genome-wide association studies, and at least one probe was differentially methylated for 85% of the genes, indicating that whole blood methylation results might be unintelligible. For individual genes, even if the overall methylation patterns might appear similar, a few CpG sites in the regulatory regions may have opposite methylation patterns (i.e., hypo/hyper) in the main blood cell types. We conclude that interpretation of whole blood methylation profiles should be performed with great caution and for any differences implicated in a disorder, the differences resulting from varying proportions of white blood cell types should be considered.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041361
PMCID: PMC3405143  PMID: 22848472
24.  Meta-analysis confirms the LCE3C_LCE3B deletion as a risk factor for psoriasis in several ethnic groups and finds interaction with HLA-Cw6 
A multicenter meta-analysis including data from 9389 psoriasis patients and 9477 control subjects was performed to investigate the contribution of the deletion of genes LCE3C and LCE3B, involved in skin barrier defense, to psoriasis susceptibility in different populations. The study confirms that the deletion of LCE3C and LCE3B is a common genetic factor for susceptibility to psoriasis in European populations [OROverall = 1.21 (1.15–1.27)], and for the first time directly demonstrated the deletion's association with psoriasis in [Chinese OR = 1.27 (1.16–1.34); Mongolian OR = 2.08 (1.44–2.99)] populations. The analysis of the HLA-Cw6 locus showed significant differences in the epistatic interaction with the LCE3C and LCE3B deletion in at least some European populations, indicating epistatic effects between these two major genetic contributors to psoriasis. The study highlights the value of examining genetic risk factors in multiple populations to identify genetic interactions, and indicates the need of further studies to understand the interaction of the skin barrier and the immune system in susceptibility to psoriasis.
doi:10.1038/jid.2010.350
PMCID: PMC3386316  PMID: 21107349
25.  Multiple independent variants in 6q21-22 associated with susceptibility to celiac disease in the Dutch, Finnish and Hungarian populations 
Celiac disease is an inflammatory enteropathy caused by intolerance to gluten. Previous linkage studies in the Dutch, Finnish and Hungarian populations have revealed a locus on chromosome 6q21-22 conferring susceptibility to celiac disease. This locus has previously been implicated in susceptibility to other autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's disease and type 1 diabetes. We performed fine mapping on 446 independent individuals with celiac disease and 641 controls of Dutch origin, testing 872 tagging SNPs in a 22 Mb region of chromosome 6. The 12 most promising SNPs were followed up in 2071 individuals from 284 Finnish and 357 Hungarian celiac disease families to identify risk variants in this region. Multiple markers in the region were significantly associated with celiac disease in the Dutch material. Two SNPs, rs9391227 and rs4946111, were significantly associated with celiac disease in the Finnish population. The association to rs9391227 represents the strongest association signal found in the Finnish (P=0.003, OR 0.66) as well as the combined Dutch, Finnish and Hungarian populations (P=3.6 × 10−5, OR 0.76). The rs9391227 is situated downstream of the HECT domain and ankyrin repeat containing, E3 ubiquitin protein ligase 1 (HACE1) gene and is contained within a region of strong linkage disequilibrium enclosing HACE1. Two additional, independent, susceptibility variants in the 6q21-22 region were also found in a meta-analysis of the three populations. The 6q21-22 region was confirmed as a celiac disease susceptibility locus and harbors multiple independent associations, some of which may implicate ubiquitin-pathways in celiac disease susceptibility.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2011.2
PMCID: PMC3110053  PMID: 21326284
Celiac; linkage; association; genome-wide; 6q21-22

Results 1-25 (57)