Migraine without aura is the most common form of migraine, characterized by recurrent disabling headache and associated autonomic symptoms. To identify common genetic variants for this migraine type, we analyzed genome-wide association data of 2,326 clinic-based German and Dutch patients and 4,580 population-matched controls. We selected SNPs from 12 loci with two or more SNPs with P-values < 1 × 10−5 for follow-up in 2,508 patients and 2,652 controls. Two loci, i.e. 1q22 (MEF2D) and 3p24 (near TGFBR2) replicated convincingly (P = 4.9 × 10−4, P = 1.0 × 10−4, respectively). Meta-analysis of the discovery and replication data yielded two additional genome-wide significant (P < 5 × 10−8) loci in PHACTR1 and ASTN2. In addition, SNPs in two previously reported migraine loci in or near TRPM8 and LRP1 significantly replicated. This study reveals the first susceptibility loci for migraine without aura, thereby expanding our knowledge of this debilitating neurological disorder.
A consistent body of evidence supports a role of reduced neurotrophic signaling in the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD) and suicidal behavior. Especially in suicide victims, lower postmortem brain messenger RNA and protein levels of neurotrophins and their receptors have been reported.
To determine whether the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene or its high-affinity receptor gene, receptor tyrosine kinase 2 (NTRK2), confer risk for suicide attempt (SA) and MDD by investigating common genetic variants in these loci.
Eighty-three tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) covering the genetic variability of these loci in European populations were assessed in a casecontrol association design.
Inpatients and screened control subjects.
The discovery sample consisted of 394 depressed patients, of whom 113 had SA, and 366 matched healthy control subjects. The replication studies comprised 744 German patients with MDD and 921 African American nonpsychiatric clinic patients, of whom 152 and 119 were positive for SA, respectively.
Blood or saliva samples were collected from each participant for DNA extraction and genotyping.
Main Outcome Measures
Associations of SNPs in BDNF and NTRK2 with SA and MDD.
Independent SNPs within NTRK2 were associated with SA among depressed patients of the discovery sample that could be confirmed in both the German and African American replication samples. Multilocus interaction analysis revealed that single SNP associations within this locus contribute to the risk of SA in a multiplicative and interactive fashion (P = 4.7× 10−7 for a 3-SNP model in the combined German sample). The effect size was 4.5 (95% confidence interval, 2.1–9.8) when patients carrying risk genotypes in all 3 markers were compared with those without any of the 3 risk genotypes.
Our results suggest that a combination of several independent risk alleles within the NTRK2 locus is associated with SA in depressed patients, further supporting a role of neurotrophins in the pathophysiology of suicide.
Polymorphisms in the gene encoding the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) regulating co-chaperone FKBP5 have been shown to alter GR sensitivity and are associated with an increased risk to develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
To investigate interactions of the FKBP5 single-nucleotide polymorphism rs9296158 and PTSD symptoms on baseline cortisol level, low-dose dexamethasone suppression, and whole-blood gene expression.
Association of FKBP5 genotypes and PTSD symptoms with endocrine measures and genome-wide expression profiles.
Waiting rooms of general medical and gynecological clinics of an urban hospital at Emory University.
The 211 participants were primarily African American (90.05%) and of low socioeconomic status and had high rates of trauma and PTSD.
Main Outcome Measures
Baseline and post–dexamethasone suppression cortisol measures and gene expression levels.
In our endocrine study, we found that only risk allele A carriers of rs9296158 showed GR supersensitivity with PTSD; in contrast, baseline cortisol levels were decreased in PTSD only in patients with the GG genotype. Expression of 183 transcripts was significantly correlated with PTSD symptoms after multiple testing corrections. When adding FKBP5 genotype and its interaction with PTSD symptoms, expression levels of an additional 32 genes were significantly regulated by the interaction term. Within these 32 genes, previously reported PTSD candidates were identified, including FKBP5 and the IL18 and STAT pathways. Significant overrepresentation of steroid hormone transcription factor binding sites within these 32 transcripts was observed, highlighting the fact that the earlier-described genotype and PTSD-dependent differences in GR sensitivity could drive the observed gene expression pattern. Results were validated by reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction and replicated in an independent sample (N=98).
These data suggest that the inheritance of GR sensitivity–moderating FKBP5 polymorphisms can determine specific types of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysfunction within PTSD, which are also reflected in gene-expression changes of a subset of GR-responsive genes. Thus, these findings indicate that functional variants in FKBP5 are associated with biologically distinct subtypes of PTSD.
Data from clinical studies and results from animal models suggest an involvement of the neurotrophin system in the pathology of depression and antidepressant treatment response. Genetic variations within the genes coding for the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its key receptor Trkb (NTRK2) may therefore influence the response to antidepressant treatment.
We performed a single and multi-marker association study with antidepressant treatment outcome in 398 depressed Caucasian inpatients participating in the Munich Antidepressant Response Signature (MARS) project. Two Caucasian replication samples (N = 249 and N = 247) were investigated, resulting in a total number of 894 patients. 18 tagging SNPs in the BDNF gene region and 64 tagging SNPs in the NTRK2 gene region were genotyped in the discovery sample; 16 nominally associated SNPs were tested in two replication samples.
In the discovery analysis, 7 BDNF SNPs and 9 NTRK2 SNPs were nominally associated with treatment response. Three NTRK2 SNPs (rs10868223, rs1659412 and rs11140778) also showed associations in at least one replication sample and in the combined sample with the same direction of effects (Pcorr = .018, Pcorr = .015 and Pcorr = .004, respectively). We observed an across-gene BDNF-NTRK2 SNP interaction for rs4923468 and rs1387926. No robust interaction of associated SNPs was found in an analysis of BDNF serum protein levels as a predictor for treatment outcome in a subset of 93 patients.
Although not all associations in the discovery analysis could be unambiguously replicated, the findings of the present study identified single nucleotide variations in the BDNF and NTRK2 genes that might be involved in antidepressant treatment outcome and that have not been previously reported in this context. These new variants need further validation in future association studies.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia belong to the most common neuro-behavioral childhood disorders with prevalences of around 5% in school-aged children. It is estimated that 20–60% of individuals affected with ADHD also present with learning disorders. We investigated the comorbidity between ADHD symptoms and reading/spelling and math difficulties in two on-going population-based birth cohort studies. Children with ADHD symptoms were at significantly higher risk of also showing reading/spelling difficulties or disorder (Odds Ratio (OR) = 2.80, p = 6.59×10−13) as compared to children without ADHD symptoms. For math difficulties the association was similar (OR = 2.55, p = 3.63×10−04). Our results strengthen the hypothesis that ADHD and learning disorders are comorbid and share, at least partially, the same underlying process. Up to date, it is not clear, on which exact functional processes this comorbidity is based.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. To date, 22 common breast cancer susceptibility loci have been identified accounting for ~ 8% of the heritability of the disease. We followed up 72 promising associations from two independent Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) in ~70,000 cases and ~68,000 controls from 41 case-control studies and nine breast cancer GWAS. We identified three new breast cancer risk loci on 12p11 (rs10771399; P=2.7 × 10−35), 12q24 (rs1292011; P=4.3×10−19) and 21q21 (rs2823093; P=1.1×10−12). SNP rs10771399 was associated with similar relative risks for both estrogen receptor (ER)-negative and ER-positive breast cancer, whereas the other two loci were associated only with ER-positive disease. Two of the loci lie in regions that contain strong plausible candidate genes: PTHLH (12p11) plays a crucial role in mammary gland development and the establishment of bone metastasis in breast cancer, while NRIP1 (21q21) encodes an ER co-factor and has a role in the regulation of breast cancer cell growth.
Although gene expression profiles in peripheral blood in major depression are not likely to identify genes directly involved in the pathomechanism of affective disorders, they may serve as biomarkers for this disorder. As previous studies using baseline gene expression profiles have provided mixed results, our approach was to use an in vivo dexamethasone challenge test and to compare glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-mediated changes in gene expression between depressed patients and healthy controls. Whole genome gene expression data (baseline and following GR-stimulation with 1.5 mg dexamethasone p.o.) from two independent cohorts were analyzed to identify gene expression pattern that would predict case and control status using a training (N=18 cases/18 controls) and a test cohort (N=11/13). Dexamethasone led to reproducible regulation of 2670 genes in controls and 1151 transcripts in cases. Several genes, including FKBP5 and DUSP1, previously associated with the pathophysiology of major depression, were found to be reliable markers of GR-activation. Using random forest analyses for classification, GR-stimulated gene expression outperformed baseline gene expression as a classifier for case and control status with a correct classification of 79.1 vs 41.6% in the test cohort. GR-stimulated gene expression performed best in dexamethasone non-suppressor patients (88.7% correctly classified with 100% sensitivity), but also correctly classified 77.3% of the suppressor patients (76.7% sensitivity), when using a refined set of 19 genes. Our study suggests that in vivo stimulated gene expression in peripheral blood cells could be a promising molecular marker of altered GR-functioning, an important component of the underlying pathology, in patients suffering from depressive episodes.
dexamethasone; FKBP5; gene-expression; glucocorticoid receptor; major depression; RNA; biological psychiatry; depression; unipolar/bipolar; pharmacogenetics/pharmacogenomics; molecular & cellular neurobiology; RNA; dexamethasone; glucocorticoid; FKBP5; biomarker; gene expression
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS), although efficient to detect genes involved in complex diseases, are not designed to measure the real effect of the genes. This is illustrated here by the example of IL2RA in multiple sclerosis (MS). Association between IL2RA and MS is clearly established, although the functional variation is still unknown: the effect of IL2RA might be better described by several SNPs than by a single one. This study investigates whether a pair of SNPs better explains the observed linkage and association data than a single SNP. In total, 522 trio families and 244 affected sib-pairs were typed for 26 IL2RA SNPs. For each SNP and pairs of SNPs, the phased genotypes of patients and controls were compared to determine the SNP set offering the best risk discrimination. Consistency between the genotype risks provided by the retained set and the identical by descent allele sharing in affected sib-pairs was assessed. After controlling for multiple testing, the set of SNPs rs2256774 and rs3118470, provides the best discrimination between the case and control genotype distributions (P-corrected=0.009). The relative risk between the least and most at-risk genotypes is 3.54 with a 95% confidence interval of [2.14–5.94]. Furthermore, the linkage information provided by the allele sharing between affected sibs is consistent with the retained set (P=0.80) but rejects the SNP reported in the literature (P=0.006). Establishing a valid modeling of a disease gene is essential to test its potential interaction with other genes and to reconstruct the pathophysiological pathways.
modeling; multiple SNP analysis; affected sib-pair; IL2RA; multiple sclerosis
Dyslexia is a developmental disorder characterised by extensive difficulties in the acquisition of reading or spelling. Genetic influence is estimated at 50–70%. However, the link between genetic variants and phenotypic deficits is largely unknown. Our aim was to investigate a role of genetic variants of FOXP2, a prominent speech and language gene, in dyslexia using imaging genetics. This technique combines functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and genetics to investigate relevance of genetic variants on brain activation. To our knowledge, this represents the first usage of fMRI-based imaging genetics in dyslexia. In an initial case/control study (n=245) for prioritisation of FOXP2 polymorphisms for later use in imaging genetics, nine SNPs were selected. A non-synonymously coding mutation involved in verbal dyspraxia was also investigated. SNP rs12533005 showed nominally significant association with dyslexia (genotype GG odds ratio recessive model=2.1 (95% confidence interval 1.1–3.9), P=0.016). A correlated SNP was associated with altered expression of FOXP2 in vivo in human hippocampal tissue. Therefore, influence of the rs12533005-G risk variant on brain activity was studied. fMRI revealed a significant main effect for the factor ‘genetic risk' in a temporo-parietal area involved in phonological processing as well as a significant interaction effect between the factors ‘disorder' and ‘genetic risk' in activation of inferior frontal brain areas. Hence, our data may hint at a role of FOXP2 genetic variants in dyslexia-specific brain activation and demonstrate use of imaging genetics in dyslexia research.
dyslexia; imaging genetics; FOXP2; fMRI
Emergence of suicidal ideation (TESI) during treatment with antidepressants in major depression led to a black box warning. We performed a genome-wide association study to identify genetic markers, which increase the risk for this serious side effect. TESI was evaluated in depressed in-patients (N=397) and defined by an emergence of suicidal thoughts during hospitalization without suicidal thoughts at admission using the suicide item (3) of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. Genotype distribution of 405.383 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in patients with TESI (N=32/8.1%) was compared to patients without increase in suicidal ideation (N=329/82.9%) and to a subgroup never reported suicidal ideation (N=79/19.9%). Top results were analyzed in an independent sample (N=501). None variant reached genome-wide significance, the best associated SNP was rs1630535 (p-value=1.3 × 10−7). The top 79 SNPs could be analyzed in an independent sample, and 14 variants showed nominal significant association with the same risk allele in the replication sample. A discriminant analysis classifying patients using these 79 SNPs revealed a 91% probability to classify TESI vs non-TESI cases correctly in the replication sample. Although our data need to be interpreted carefully owing to the small numbers in both cohorts, they suggest that a combination of genetic markers might indeed be used to identify patients at risk for TESI.
suicidal ideation; TESI; suicide; major depression; antidepressants; genetic markers; molecular & cellular neurobiology; psychopharmacology; depression; unipolar; bipolar, pharmacogenetics; pharmacogenomics; suicidal ideation; TESI; suicide; genetic markers; GWAS
Alcohol dependence (AD) is an important contributory factor to the global burden of disease. The etiology of AD involves both environmental and genetic factors, and the disorder has a heritability of around 50%. The aim of the present study was to identify susceptibility genes for AD by performing a genome-wide association study (GWAS). The sample comprised 1,333 male in-patients with severe DSM-IV AD and 2,168 controls. These included 487 patients and 1,358 controls from a previous GWAS study by our group. All individuals were of German descent. Single marker tests and a polygenic score based analysis to assess the combined contribution of multiple markers with small effects were performed. The SNP rs1789891, which is located between the ADH1B and ADH1C genes, achieved genome-wide significance (p=1.27E–8; OR=1.46). Other markers from this region were also associated with AD, and conditional analyses indicated that these made a partially independent contribution. The SNP rs1789891 is in complete linkage disequilibrium with the functional Arg272Gln variant (p=1.24E–7, OR=1.31) of the ADH1C gene, which has been reported to modify the rate of ethanol oxidation to acetaldehyde in vitro. A polygenic score based approach produced a significant result (p=9.66E–9). This is the first GWAS of AD to provide genome-wide significant support for the role of the ADH gene cluster and to suggest a polygenic component to the etiology of AD. The latter result suggests that many more AD susceptibility genes still await identification.
alcohol dehydrogenase; alcohol dependence; alcohol metabolism; genome-wide; GWAS; polygenic variation
Genome-wide association studies identified a PTGER4 expression-modulating region on chromosome 5p13.1 as Crohn's disease (CD) susceptibility region. The study aim was to test this association in a large cohort of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and to elucidate genotypic and phenotypic interactions with other IBD genes.
A total of 7073 patients and controls were genotyped: 844 CD and 471 patients with ulcerative colitis and 1488 controls were analyzed for the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) rs4495224 and rs7720838 on chromosome 5p13.1. The study included two replication cohorts of North American (CD: n = 684; controls: n = 1440) and of German origin (CD: n = 1098; controls: n = 1048). Genotype-phenotype, epistasis and transcription factor binding analyses were performed. In the discovery cohort, an association of rs4495224 (p = 4.10×10−5; 0.76 [0.67–0.87]) and of rs7720838 (p = 6.91×10−4; 0.81 [0.71–0.91]) with susceptibility to CD was demonstrated. These associations were confirmed in both replication cohorts. In silico analysis predicted rs4495224 and rs7720838 as essential parts of binding sites for the transcription factors NF-κB and XBP1 with higher binding scores for carriers of the CD risk alleles, providing an explanation of how these SNPs might contribute to increased PTGER4 expression. There was no association of the PTGER4 SNPs with IBD phenotypes. Epistasis detected between 5p13.1 and ATG16L1 for CD susceptibility in the discovery cohort (p = 5.99×10−7 for rs7720838 and rs2241880) could not be replicated in both replication cohorts arguing against a major role of this gene-gene interaction in the susceptibility to CD.
We confirmed 5p13.1 as a major CD susceptibility locus and demonstrate by in silico analysis rs4495224 and rs7720838 as part of binding sites for NF-κB and XBP1. Further functional studies are necessary to confirm the results of our in silico analysis and to analyze if changes in PTGER4 expression modulate CD susceptibility.
The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is essential to control physiological stress responses in mammals. Its dysfunction is related to several mental disorders, including anxiety and depression. The aim of this study was to identify genetic loci underlying the endocrine regulation of the HPA axis.
High (HAB) and low (LAB) anxiety-related behaviour mice were established by selective inbreeding of outbred CD-1 mice to model extremes in trait anxiety. Additionally, HAB vs. LAB mice exhibit comorbid characteristics including a differential corticosterone response upon stress exposure. We crossbred HAB and LAB lines to create F1 and F2 offspring. To identify the contribution of the endocrine phenotypes to the total phenotypic variance, we examined multiple behavioural paradigms together with corticosterone secretion-based phenotypes in F2 mice by principal component analysis. Further, to pinpoint the genomic loci of the quantitative trait of the HPA axis stress response, we conducted genome-wide multipoint oligogenic linkage analyses based on Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo approach as well as parametric linkage in three-generation pedigrees, followed by a two-dimensional scan for epistasis and association analysis in freely segregating F2 mice using 267 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which were identified to consistently differ between HAB and LAB mice as genetic markers.
HPA axis reactivity measurements and behavioural phenotypes were represented by independent principal components and demonstrated no correlation. Based on this finding, we identified one single quantitative trait locus (QTL) on chromosome 3 showing a very strong evidence for linkage (2ln (L-score) > 10, LOD > 23) and significant association (lowest Bonferroni adjusted p < 10-28) to the neuroendocrine stress response. The location of the linkage peak was estimated at 42.3 cM (95% confidence interval: 41.3 - 43.3 cM) and was shown to be in epistasis (p-adjusted < 0.004) with the locus at 35.3 cM on the same chromosome. The QTL harbours genes involved in steroid synthesis and cardiovascular effects.
The very prominent effect on stress-induced corticosterone secretion of the genomic locus on chromosome 3 and its involvement in epistasis highlights the critical role of this specific locus in the regulation of the HPA axis.
F2; Corticosterone; Stress response; HPA axis; QTL
Given that genome wide association studies (GWAS) of psychiatric disorders have identified only a small number of convincingly associated variants, there is interest in seeking additional evidence for associated variants using tests of gene-gene interaction. Comprehensive pair-wise SNP-SNP interaction analysis is computationally intensive and the penalty for multiple testing is severe given the number of interactions possible. Aiming to minimize these statistical and computational burdens, we have explored approaches to prioritise SNPs for interaction analyses.
Primary interaction analyses were performed using the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium Bipolar Disorder GWAS (1868 cases, 2938 controls). Replication analyses were performed using the Genetic Association Information Network BD dataset (1001 cases, 1033 controls). SNPs were prioritized for interaction analysis that showed evidence for association that surpassed a number of nominally significant thresholds, are within genome-wide significant genes, or are within genes that are functionally related.
For no set of prioritized SNPs did we obtain evidence to support the hypothesis that the selection strategy identified pairs of variants that were enriched for true (statistical) interactions.
SNPs prioritized according to a number of criteria do not have a raised prior probability for significant interaction that is detectable in samples of this size. As is now widely accepted for single SNP analysis, we argue the use of significance levels reflecting only the number of tests performed does not offer an appropriate degree of protection against the potential for GWAS studies to generate an enormous number of false positive interactions.
GWAS; SNP; epistasis; association; interaction; gene
Dyslexia affects 5–10% of school-aged children and is therefore one of the most common learning disorders. Research on auditory event related potentials (AERP), particularly the mismatch negativity (MMN) component, has revealed anomalies in individuals with dyslexia to speech stimuli. Furthermore, candidate genes for this disorder were found through molecular genetic studies. A current challenge for dyslexia research is to understand the interaction between molecular genetics and brain function, and to promote the identification of relevant endophenotypes for dyslexia. The present study examines MMN, a neurophysiological correlate of speech perception, and its potential as an endophenotype for dyslexia in three groups of children. The first group of children was clinically diagnosed with dyslexia, whereas the second group of children was comprised of their siblings who had average reading and spelling skills and were therefore “unaffected” despite having a genetic risk for dyslexia. The third group consisted of control children who were not related to the other groups and were also unaffected. In total, 225 children were included in the study. All children showed clear MMN activity to/da/−/ba/contrasts that could be separated into three distinct MMN components. Whilst the first two MMN components did not differentiate the groups, the late MMN component (300–700 ms) revealed significant group differences. The mean area of the late MMN was attenuated in both the dyslexic children and their unaffected siblings in comparison to the control children. This finding is indicative of analogous alterations of neurophysiological processes in children with dyslexia and those with a genetic risk for dyslexia, without a manifestation of the disorder. The present results therefore further suggest that the late MMN might be a potential endophenotype for dyslexia.
Major depression (MD) is one of the most prevalent psychiatric disorders and a leading cause of loss in work productivity. A combination of genetic and environmental risk factors likely contributes to MD. We present data from a genome-wide association study revealing a neuron-specific neutral amino acid transporter (SLC6A15) as a novel susceptibility gene for MD. Risk allele carrier status in humans and chronic stress in mice were associated with a downregulation of the expression of this gene in the hippocampus, a brain region implicated in the pathophysiology of MD. The same polymorphisms also showed associations with alterations in hippocampal volume and neuronal integrity. Thus, decreased SLC6A15 expression, due to genetic or environmental factors might alter neuronal circuits related to the susceptibility for MD. Our convergent data from human genetics, expression studies, brain imaging and animal models suggest a novel pathophysiological mechanism for MD that may be accessible to drug targeting.
Detection of epistatic interaction between loci has been postulated to provide a more in-depth understanding of the complex biological and biochemical pathways underlying human diseases. Studying the interaction between two loci is the natural progression following traditional and well-established single locus analysis. However, the added costs and time duration required for the computation involved have thus far deterred researchers from pursuing a genome-wide analysis of epistasis. In this paper, we propose a method allowing such analysis to be conducted very rapidly. The method, dubbed EPIBLASTER, is applicable to case–control studies and consists of a two-step process in which the difference in Pearson's correlation coefficients is computed between controls and cases across all possible SNP pairs as an indication of significant interaction warranting further analysis. For the subset of interactions deemed potentially significant, a second-stage analysis is performed using the likelihood ratio test from the logistic regression to obtain the P-value for the estimated coefficients of the individual effects and the interaction term. The algorithm is implemented using the parallel computational capability of commercially available graphical processing units to greatly reduce the computation time involved. In the current setup and example data sets (211 cases, 222 controls, 299468 SNPs; and 601 cases, 825 controls, 291095 SNPs), this coefficient evaluation stage can be completed in roughly 1 day. Our method allows for exhaustive and rapid detection of significant SNP pair interactions without imposing significant marginal effects of the single loci involved in the pair.
Epistasis; genome-wide interaction analysis; graphical processing unit
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
The level of body iron storage and the erythropoietic need for iron are indicated by the serum levels of ferritin and soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), respectively. A meta-analysis of five genome-wide association studies on sTfR and ferritin revealed novel association to the PCSK7 and TMPRSS6 loci for sTfR and the HFE locus for both parameters. The PCSK7 association was the most significant (rs236918, P = 1.1 × 10E−27) suggesting that proprotein convertase 7, the gene product of PCSK7, may be involved in sTfR generation and/or iron homeostasis. Conditioning the sTfR analyses on transferrin saturation abolished the HFE signal and substantially diminished the TMPRSS6 signal while the PCSK7 association was unaffected, suggesting that the former may be mediated by transferrin saturation whereas the PCSK7-associated effect on sTfR generation appears to be more direct.
Suicidal behaviour can be conceptualised as a continuum from suicidal ideation, to suicidal attempts to completed suicide. In this study we identify genes contributing to suicidal behaviour in the depression study RADIANT.
A quantitative suicidality score was composed of two items from the SCAN interview. In addition, the 251 depression cases with a history of serious suicide attempts were classified to form a discrete trait. The quantitative trait was correlated with younger onset of depression and number of episodes of depression, but not with gender. A genome-wide association study of 2,023 depression cases was performed to identify genes that may contribute to suicidal behaviour. Two Munich depression studies were used as replication cohorts to test the most strongly associated SNPs. No SNP was associated at genome-wide significance level. For the quantitative trait, evidence of association was detected at GFRA1, a receptor for the neurotrophin GDRA (p = 2e-06). For the discrete trait of suicide attempt, SNPs in KIAA1244 and RGS18 attained p-values of <5e-6. None of these SNPs showed evidence for replication in the additional cohorts tested. Candidate gene analysis provided some support for a polymorphism in NTRK2, which was previously associated with suicidality.
This study provides a genome-wide assessment of possible genetic contribution to suicidal behaviour in depression but indicates a genetic architecture of multiple genes with small effects. Large cohorts will be required to dissect this further.
Motivation: In recent years, numerous genome-wide association studies have been conducted to identify genetic makeup that explains phenotypic differences observed in human population. Analytical tests on single loci are readily available and embedded in common genome analysis software toolset. The search for significant epistasis (gene–gene interactions) still poses as a computational challenge for modern day computing systems, due to the large number of hypotheses that have to be tested.
Results: In this article, we present an approach to epistasis detection by exhaustive testing of all possible SNP pairs. The search strategy based on the Hilbert–Schmidt Independence Criterion can help delineate various forms of statistical dependence between the genetic markers and the phenotype. The actual implementation of this search is done on the highly parallelized architecture available on graphics processing units rendering the completion of the full search feasible within a day.
Availability:The program is available at http://www.mpipsykl.mpg.de/epigpuhsic/.