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.
systemic lupus erythematosus; genetic-association study; Asian; Caucasian
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.
cleft lip and palate; mutation; gene expression; syndrome; genomic; microvilli; WD domain; transcription factor
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.
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.
Drug repositioning; Connectivity map; CMap; ATC code; Mode of action; Machine learning; SVM; Integrative genomics; SMILES; Anthelmintics; Antineoplastic; Oxamniquine; Niclosamide
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Specific host genetic factors may cause erysipelas/cellulitis susceptibility in humans.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Celiac; linkage; association; genome-wide; 6q21-22
Inspired by the localization, on 15q21.2 of the CYP19A1 gene in the linkage region of speech and language disorders, and a rare translocation in a dyslexic individual that was brought to our attention, we conducted a series of studies on the properties of CYP19A1 as a candidate gene for dyslexia and related conditions. The aromatase enzyme is a member of the cytochrome P450 super family, and it serves several key functions: it catalyzes the conversion of androgens into estrogens; during early mammalian development it controls the differentiation of specific brain areas (e.g. local estrogen synthesis in the hippocampus regulates synaptic plasticity and axonal growth); it is involved in sexual differentiation of the brain; and in songbirds and teleost fishes, it regulates vocalization. Our results suggest that variations in CYP19A1 are associated with dyslexia as a categorical trait and with quantitative measures of language and speech, such as reading, vocabulary, phonological processing and oral motor skills. Variations near the vicinity of its brain promoter region altered transcription factor binding, suggesting a regulatory role in CYP19A1 expression. CYP19A1 expression in human brain correlated with the expression of dyslexia susceptibility genes such as DYX1C1 and ROBO1. Aromatase-deficient mice displayed increased cortical neuronal density and occasional cortical heterotopias, also observed in Robo1−/− mice and human dyslexic brains, respectively. An aromatase inhibitor reduced dendritic growth in cultured rat neurons. From this broad set of evidence, we propose CYP19A1 as a candidate gene for human cognitive functions implicated in reading, speech and language.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10519-012-9532-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Dyslexia; SSD; SLI; Estrogen synthesis; Translocation breakpoint; Quantitative trait analysis; Categorical trait association
Elucidating the genetic architecture of preeclampsia is a major goal in obstetric medicine. We have performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) for preeclampsia in unrelated Australian individuals of Caucasian ancestry using the Illumina OmniExpress-12 BeadChip to successfully genotype 648,175 SNPs in 538 preeclampsia cases and 540 normal pregnancy controls. Two SNP associations (rs7579169, p = 3.58×10−7, OR = 1.57; rs12711941, p = 4.26×10−7, OR = 1.56) satisfied our genome-wide significance threshold (modified Bonferroni p<5.11×10−7). These SNPs reside in an intergenic region less than 15 kb downstream from the 3′ terminus of the Inhibin, beta B (INHBB) gene on 2q14.2. They are in linkage disequilibrium (LD) with each other (r2 = 0.92), but not (r2<0.80) with any other genotyped SNP ±250 kb. DNA re-sequencing in and around the INHBB structural gene identified an additional 25 variants. Of the 21 variants that we successfully genotyped back in the case-control cohort the most significant association observed was for a third intergenic SNP (rs7576192, p = 1.48×10−7, OR = 1.59) in strong LD with the two significant GWAS SNPs (r2>0.92). We attempted to provide evidence of a putative regulatory role for these SNPs using bioinformatic analyses and found that they all reside within regions of low sequence conservation and/or low complexity, suggesting functional importance is low. We also explored the mRNA expression in decidua of genes ±500 kb of INHBB and found a nominally significant correlation between a transcript encoded by the EPB41L5 gene, ∼250 kb centromeric to INHBB, and preeclampsia (p = 0.03). We were unable to replicate the associations shown by the significant GWAS SNPs in case-control cohorts from Norway and Finland, leading us to conclude that it is more likely that these SNPs are in LD with as yet unidentified causal variant(s).
The dyslexia candidate gene, DYX1C1, shown to regulate and interact with estrogen receptors and involved in the regulation of neuronal migration, has recently been proposed as a putative cancer biomarker. This study was undertaken to assess the prognostic value and therapy-predictive potential of DYX1C1 mRNA and protein expression in breast cancer.
DYX1C1 mRNA expression was assessed at the mRNA level in three independent population-derived patient cohorts. An association to estrogen/progesterone receptor status, Elston grade, gene expression subtype and lymph node status was analyzed within these cohorts. DYX1C1 protein expression was examined using immunohistochemistry in cancer and normal breast tissue. The statistical analyses were performed using the non-parametric Wilcoxon rank-sum test, ANOVA, Fisher's exact test and a multivariate proportional hazard (Cox) model.
DYX1C1 mRNA is significantly more highly expressed in tumors that have been classified as estrogen receptor α and progesterone receptor-positive. The expression of DYX1C1 among the molecular subtypes shows the lowest median expression within the basal type tumors, which are considered to have the worst prognosis. The expression of DYX1C1 is significantly lower in tumors graded as Elston grade 3 compared with grades 1 and 2. DYX1C1 protein is expressed in 88% of tumors and in all 10 normal breast tissues examined. Positive protein expression was significantly correlated to overall survival (Hazard ratio 3.44 [CI 1.84-6.42]) of the patients but not to any of the variables linked with mRNA expression.
We show that the expression of DYX1C1 in breast cancer is associated with several clinicopathological parameters and that loss of DYX1C1 correlates with a more aggressive disease, in turn indicating that DYX1C1 is a potential prognostic biomarker in breast cancer.
DYX1C1; Breast cancer; Estrogen receptor; Dyslexia
neuropeptide S (NPS) and its receptor NPSR1 act along the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis to modulate anxiety, fear responses, nociception and inflammation. The importance of the NPS-NPSR1 signaling pathway is highlighted by the observation that, in humans, NPSR1 polymorphism associates with asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, panic disorders, and intermediate phenotypes of functional gastrointestinal disorders. Because of the genetic complexity at the NPSR1 locus, however, true causative variations remain to be identified, together with their specific effects on receptor expression or function. To gain insight into the mechanisms leading to NPSR1 disease-predisposing effects, we performed a thorough functional characterization of all NPSR1 promoter and coding SNPs commonly occurring in Caucasians (minor allele frequency >0.02).
we identified one promoter SNP (rs2530547 [−103]) that significantly affects luciferase expression in gene reporter assays and NPSR1 mRNA levels in human leukocytes. We also detected quantitative differences in NPS-induced genome-wide transcriptional profiles and CRE-dependent luciferase activities associated with three NPSR1 non-synonymous SNPs (rs324981 [Ile107Asn], rs34705969 [Cys197Phe], rs727162 [Arg241Ser]), with a coding variant exhibiting a loss-of-function phenotype (197Phe). Potential mechanistic explanations were sought with molecular modelling and bioinformatics, and a pilot study of 2230 IBD cases and controls provided initial support to the hypothesis that different cis-combinations of these functional SNPs variably affect disease risk.
these findings represent a first step to decipher NPSR1 locus complexity and its impact on several human conditions NPS antagonists have been recently described, and our results are of potential pharmacogenetic relevance.
Recent genome-wide association (GWA) analyses have identified common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are associated with obesity. However, the reported genetic variation in obesity explains only a minor fraction of the total genetic variation expected to be present in the population. Thus many genetic variants controlling obesity remain to be identified. The aim of this study was to use GWA followed by multiple stepwise validations to identify additional genes associated with obesity.
We performed a GWA analysis in 164 morbidly obese subjects (BMI:body mass index > 40 kg/m2) and 163 Swedish subjects (> 45 years) who had always been lean. The 700 SNPs displaying the strongest association with obesity in the GWA were analyzed in a second cohort comprising 460 morbidly obese subjects and 247 consistently lean Swedish adults. 23 SNPs remained significantly associated with obesity (nominal P< 0.05) and were in a step-wise manner followed up in five additional cohorts from Sweden, France, and Germany together comprising 4214 obese and 5417 lean or population-based control individuals. Three samples, n = 4133, were used to investigate the population-based associations with BMI. Gene expression in abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue in relation to obesity was investigated for14 adults.
Potassium channel, calcium activated, large conductance, subfamily M, alpha member (KCNMA1) rs2116830*G and BDNF rs988712*G were associated with obesity in five of six investigated case-control cohorts. In meta-analysis of 4838 obese and 5827 control subjects we obtained genome-wide significant allelic association with obesity for KCNMA1 rs2116830*G with P = 2.82 × 10-10 and an odds ratio (OR) based on cases vs controls of 1.26 [95% C.I. 1.12-1.41] and for BDNF rs988712*G with P = 5.2 × 10-17and an OR of 1.36 [95% C.I. 1.20-1.55]. KCNMA1 rs2116830*G was not associated with BMI in the population-based samples. Adipose tissue (P = 0.0001) and fat cell (P = 0.04) expression of KCNMA1 was increased in obesity.
We have identified KCNMA1 as a new susceptibility locus for obesity, and confirmed the association of the BDNF locus at the genome-wide significant level.
Neuropeptide S Receptor 1 (NPSR1, GPRA, GPR154) was first identified as an asthma candidate gene through positional cloning and has since been replicated as an asthma and allergy susceptibility gene in several independent association studies. In humans, NPSR1 encodes two G protein-coupled receptor variants, NPSR1-A and NPSR1-B, with unique intracellular C-termini. Both isoforms show distinct expression pattern in asthmatic airways. Although NPSR1-A has been extensively studied, functional differences and properties of NPSR1-B have not yet been clearly examined. Our objective was to investigate downstream signalling properties of NPSR1-B and functional differences between NPSR1-A and NPSR1-B.
HEK-293 cells transiently overexpressing NPSR1-A or NPSR1-B were stimulated with the ligand neuropeptide S (NPS) and downstream signalling effects were monitored by genome-scale affymetrix expression-arrays. The results were verified by NPS concentration-response and time series analysis using qRT-PCR, cAMP and Ca2+ assays, and cAMP/PKA, MAPK/JNK and MAPK/ERK pathway specific reporter assays.
NPSR1-B signalled through the same pathways and regulated the same genes as NPSR1-A, but NPSR1-B yielded lower induction on effector genes than NPSR1-A, with one notable exception, CD69, a marker of regulatory T cells.
We conclude that NPSR1-B is regulating essentially identical set of genes as NPSR1-A, with few, but possibly important exceptions, and that NPSR1-A induces stronger signalling effects than NPSR1-B. Our findings suggest an isoform-specific link to pathogenetic processes in asthma and allergy.
DCDC2 is one of the candidate susceptibility genes for dyslexia. It belongs to the superfamily of doublecortin domain containing proteins that bind to microtubules, and it has been shown to be involved in neuronal migration. We show that the Dcdc2 protein localizes to the primary cilium in primary rat hippocampal neurons and that it can be found within close proximity to the ciliary kinesin-2 subunit Kif3a. Overexpression of DCDC2 increases ciliary length and activates Shh signaling, whereas downregulation of Dcdc2 expression enhances Wnt signaling, consistent with a functional role in ciliary signaling. Moreover, DCDC2 overexpression in C. elegans causes an abnormal neuronal phenotype that can only be seen in ciliated neurons. Together our results suggest a potential role for DCDC2 in the structure and function of primary cilia.
Asthma is caused by a heterogeneous combination of environmental and genetic factors. In the context of GA2LEN (Global Allergy and Asthma European Network), we carried out meta-analyses of almost all genome-wide linkage screens conducted to date in 20 independent populations from different ethnic origins (≥3024 families with ≥10 027 subjects) for asthma, atopic asthma, bronchial hyper-responsiveness and five atopy-related traits (total immunoglobulin E level, positive skin test response (SPT) to at least one allergen or to House Dust Mite, quantitative score of SPT (SPTQ) and eosinophils (EOS)). We used the genome scan meta-analysis method to assess evidence for linkage within bins of traditionally 30-cM width, and explored the manner in which these results were affected by bin definition. Meta-analyses were conducted in all studies and repeated in families of European ancestry. Genome-wide evidence for linkage was detected for asthma in two regions (2p21–p14 and 6p21) in European families ascertained through two asthmatic sibs. With regard to atopy phenotypes, four regions reached genome-wide significance: 3p25.3–q24 in all families for SPT and three other regions in European families (2q32–q34 for EOS, 5q23–q33 for SPTQ and 17q12–q24 for SPT). Tests of heterogeneity showed consistent evidence of linkage of SPTQ to 3p11–3q21, whereas between-study heterogeneity was detected for asthma in 2p22–p13 and 6p21, and for atopic asthma in 1q23–q25. This large-scale meta-analysis provides an important resource of information that can be used to prioritize further fine-mapping studies and also be integrated with genome-wide association studies to increase power and better interpret the outcomes of these studies.
asthma; atopy; meta-analysis; linkage scan
The transition from fertilized egg to embryo is accompanied by a multitude of changes in gene expression, and the transcriptional events that underlie these processes have not yet been fully characterized. In this study RNA-Seq is used to compare the transcription profiles of four early developmental stages in zebrafish (Danio rerio) on a global scale.
An average of 79 M total reads were detected from the different stages. Out of the total number of reads 65% - 73% reads were successfully mapped and 36% - 44% out of those were uniquely mapped. The total number of detected unique gene transcripts was 11187, of which 10096 were present at 1-cell stage. The largest number of common transcripts was observed between 1-cell stage and 16-cell stage. An enrichment of gene transcripts with molecular functions of DNA binding, protein folding and processing as well as metal ion binding was observed with progression of development. The sequence data (accession number ERP000635) is available at the European Nucleotide Archive.
Clustering of expression profiles shows that a majority of the detected gene transcripts are present at steady levels, and thus a minority of the gene transcripts clusters as increasing or decreasing in expression over the four investigated developmental stages. The three earliest developmental stages were similar when comparing highly expressed genes, whereas the 50% epiboly stage differed from the other three stages in the identity of highly expressed genes, number of uniquely expressed genes and enrichment of GO molecular functions. Taken together, these observations indicate a major transition in gene regulation and transcriptional activity taking place between the 512-cell and 50% epiboly stages, in accordance with previous studies.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of mortality in Western societies. Its risk is inversely correlated with plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels, and approximately 50% of the variability in these levels is genetically determined. In this study, the aim was to carry out a whole-genome scan for the loci regulating plasma HDL-C levels in 35 well-defined Finnish extended pedigrees (375 members genotyped) with probands having low HDL-C levels and premature CHD. The additive genetic heritability of HDL-C was 43%. A variance component analysis revealed four suggestive quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for HDL-C levels, with the highest LOD score, 3.1, at the chromosomal locus 4p12. Other suggestive LOD scores were 2.1 at 2q33, 2.1 at 6p24 and 2.0 at 17q25. Three suggestive loci for the qualitative low HDL-C trait were found, with a nonparametric multipoint score of 2.6 at the chromosomal locus 10p15.3, 2.5 at 22q11 and 2.1 at 6p12. After correction for statin use, the strongest evidence of linkage was shown on chromosomes 4p12, 6p24, 6p12, 15q22 and 22q11. To search for the underlying gene on chromosome 6, we analyzed two functional and positional candidate genes (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-delta (PPARD), and retinoid X receptor beta, (RXRB)), but found no significant evidence of association. In conclusion, we identified seven chromosomal regions for HDL-C regulation exceeding the level for suggestive evidence of linkage.
atherosclerosis; complex trait; lipoprotein; linkage analysis