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1.  Targeted Deep Sequencing Identifies Rare ‘loss-of-function’ Variants in IFNGR1 for Risk of Atopic Dermatitis Complicated by Eczema Herpeticum 
A subset of atopic dermatitis (AD) is associated with increased susceptibility to eczema herpeticum (ADEH+). We previously reported that common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in interferon-gamma (IFNG) and receptor 1 (IFNGR1) were associated with ADEH+ phenotype.
To interrogate the role of rare variants in IFN-pathway genes for risk of ADEH+.
We performed targeted sequencing of interferon-pathway genes (IFNG, IFNGR1, IFNAR1 and IL12RB1) in 228 European American (EA) AD patients selected according to their EH status and severity measured by Eczema Area and Severity Index (EASI). Replication genotyping was performed in independent samples of 219 EA and 333 African Americans (AA). Functional investigation of ‘loss-of-function’ variants was conducted using site-directed mutagenesis.
We identified 494 single nucleotide variants (SNVs) encompassing 105kb of sequence, including 145 common, 349 (70.6%) rare (minor allele frequency (MAF) <5%) and 86 (17.4%) novel variants, of which 2.8% were coding-synonymous, 93.3% were non-coding (64.6% intronic), and 3.8% were missense. We identified six rare IFNGR1 missense including three damaging variants (Val14Met (V14M), Val61Ile and Tyr397Cys (Y397C)) conferring a higher risk for ADEH+ (P=0.031). Variants V14M and Y397C were confirmed to be deleterious leading to partial IFNGR1 deficiency. Seven common IFNGR1 SNPs, along with common protective haplotypes (2 to 7-SNPs) conferred a reduced risk of ADEH+ (P=0.015-0.002, P=0.0015-0.0004, respectively), and both SNP and haplotype associations were replicated in an independent AA sample (P=0.004-0.0001 and P=0.001-0.0001, respectively).
Our results provide evidence that both genetic variants in the gene encoding IFNGR1 are implicated in susceptibility to the ADEH+ phenotype.
We provided the first evidence that rare functional IFNGR1 mutations contribute to a defective systemic IFN-γ immune response that accounts for the propensity of AD patients to disseminated viral skin infections.
PMCID: PMC4679503  PMID: 26343451
IFNGR1; genetic variants; atopic dermatitis; eczema herpeticum
2.  Challenges and disparities in the application of personalized genomic medicine to populations with African ancestry 
Nature Communications  2016;7:12521.
To characterize the extent and impact of ancestry-related biases in precision genomic medicine, we use 642 whole-genome sequences from the Consortium on Asthma among African-ancestry Populations in the Americas (CAAPA) project to evaluate typical filters and databases. We find significant correlations between estimated African ancestry proportions and the number of variants per individual in all variant classification sets but one. The source of these correlations is highlighted in more detail by looking at the interaction between filtering criteria and the ClinVar and Human Gene Mutation databases. ClinVar's correlation, representing African ancestry-related bias, has changed over time amidst monthly updates, with the most extreme switch happening between March and April of 2014 (r=0.733 to r=−0.683). We identify 68 SNPs as the major drivers of this change in correlation. As long as ancestry-related bias when using these clinical databases is minimally recognized, the genetics community will face challenges with implementation, interpretation and cost-effectiveness when treating minority populations.
Personalized medicine requires accurate and ethnicity-optimized reference genome panels. Here, the Consortium on Asthma among African-ancestry Populations in the Americas (CAAPA) evaluates typical variant filters and existing genome databases against newly sequenced African-ancestry populations.
PMCID: PMC5062569  PMID: 27725664
3.  A continuum of admixture in the Western Hemisphere revealed by the African Diaspora genome 
Nature Communications  2016;7:12522.
The African Diaspora in the Western Hemisphere represents one of the largest forced migrations in history and had a profound impact on genetic diversity in modern populations. To date, the fine-scale population structure of descendants of the African Diaspora remains largely uncharacterized. Here we present genetic variation from deeply sequenced genomes of 642 individuals from North and South American, Caribbean and West African populations, substantially increasing the lexicon of human genomic variation and suggesting much variation remains to be discovered in African-admixed populations in the Americas. We summarize genetic variation in these populations, quantifying the postcolonial sex-biased European gene flow across multiple regions. Moreover, we refine estimates on the burden of deleterious variants carried across populations and how this varies with African ancestry. Our data are an important resource for empowering disease mapping studies in African-admixed individuals and will facilitate gene discovery for diseases disproportionately affecting individuals of African ancestry.
The Consortium on Asthma among African-ancestry Populations in the Americas (CAAPA) aims to better understand population genetics of the African diaspora. Here, it uses deeply sequenced whole-genomes to describe the impact of admixture and potential disease burden of deleterious variants.
PMCID: PMC5062574  PMID: 27725671
4.  Coassociations between IL10 polymorphisms, IL-10 production, helminth infection, and asthma/wheeze in an urban tropical population in Brazil 
Helminth infections are associated with protection against allergies. It is postulated that IL-10 production after helminth infection suppresses skin hypersensitivity and increases IgG4 production, protecting against allergies.
We aimed to determine whether IL10 polymorphisms are associated with helminth infection and the risk of wheeze and allergy.
Twelve IL10 single nucleotide polymorphisms were genotyped in 1353 children aged 4 to 11 years living in a poor urban area in Salvador, Brazil. Wheezing status, Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura infection, IL-10 production by peripheral blood leukocytes stimulated with A lumbricoides extract, serum total IgE levels, specific IgE levels, skin prick test responses to common aeroallergens, and IgG4 and IgE anti–A lumbricoides antibody levels were measured in all children. Association tests were performed by using logistic or linear regression when appropriate, including sex, age, helminth infection, and principal components for ancestry informative markers as covariates by using PLINK.
Allele G of marker rs3024496 was associated with the decreased production of IL-10 by peripheral blood leukocytes in response to A lumbricoides stimulation. Allele C of marker rs3024498 was negatively associated with helminth infection or its markers. Marker rs3024492 was positively associated with the risk of atopic wheeze, total IgE levels, and skin prick test responses to cockroach.
Our findings suggest that IL10 polymorphisms might play a role in the production of IL-10, helminth infection, and allergy. We hypothesize that polymorphisms related to protection against helminths, which would offer an evolutionary advantage to subjects in the past, might be associated with increased risk of allergic diseases.
PMCID: PMC5017514  PMID: 23273955
IL10; polymorphisms; helminth infection; immune modulation; allergy; asthma; Social Changes Asthma and Allergy in Latin America
5.  Genome-Wide Association Study Identification of Novel Loci Associated with Airway Responsiveness in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Increased airway responsiveness is linked to lung function decline and mortality in subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); however, the genetic contribution to airway responsiveness remains largely unknown. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) was performed using the Illumina (San Diego, CA) Human660W-Quad BeadChip on European Americans with COPD from the Lung Health Study. Linear regression models with correlated meta-analyses, including data from baseline (n = 2,814) and Year 5 (n = 2,657), were used to test for common genetic variants associated with airway responsiveness. Genotypic imputation was performed using reference 1000 Genomes Project data. Expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) analyses in lung tissues were assessed for the top 10 markers identified, and immunohistochemistry assays assessed protein staining for SGCD and MYH15. Four genes were identified within the top 10 associations with airway responsiveness. Markers on chromosome 9p21.2 flanked by LINGO2 met a predetermined threshold of genome-wide significance (P < 9.57 × 10−8). Markers on chromosomes 3q13.1 (flanked by MYH15), 5q33 (SGCD), and 6q21 (PDSS2) yielded suggestive evidence of association (9.57 × 10−8 < P ≤ 4.6 × 10−6). Gene expression studies in lung tissue showed single nucleotide polymorphisms on chromosomes 5 and 3 to act as eQTL for SGCD (P = 2.57 × 10−9) and MYH15 (P = 1.62 × 10−6), respectively. Immunohistochemistry confirmed localization of SGCD protein to airway smooth muscle and vessels and MYH15 to airway epithelium, vascular endothelium, and inflammatory cells. We identified novel loci associated with airway responsiveness in a GWAS among smokers with COPD. Risk alleles on chromosomes 5 and 3 acted as eQTLs for SGCD and MYH15 messenger RNA, and these proteins were expressed in lung cells relevant to the development of airway responsiveness.
PMCID: PMC4566043  PMID: 25514360
COPD; airway reactivity; bronchial responsiveness; eQTL; δ-sarcoglycan
6.  Genome-wide Association Study and Admixture Mapping Reveal New Loci Associated with Total IgE Levels in Latinos 
Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is a key mediator of allergic inflammation and is frequently elevated in allergic disorders.
To identify genetic variants associated with IgE levels in Latinos.
We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and admixture mapping of total IgE levels in 3,334 Latinos from the Genes-environments & Admixture in Latino Americans (GALA II) study. Replication was evaluated in 454 Latinos, 1,564 European Americans, and 3,187 African Americans from independent studies.
We confirmed associations of six genes identified by previous GWAS and identified a novel genome-wide significant association of a polymorphism in ZNF365 with total IgE (rs200076616, p=2.3x10−8). We next identified four admixture mapping peaks (6p21.32-p22.1, 13p22-31, 14q23.2, and 22q13.1) where local African, European, and/or Native American ancestry was significantly associated with IgE levels. The most significant peak was 6p21.32-p22.1, where Native American ancestry was associated with lower levels of IgE (p=4.95x10−8). All but 22q13.1 were replicated in an independent sample of Latinos, and two of the peaks were replicated in African Americans (6p21.32-p22.1 and 14q23.2). Fine mapping of 6p21.32-p22.1 identified six genome-wide significant single nucleotide polymorphisms in Latinos, two of which replicated in European Americans. Another SNP was peak-wide significant within 14q23.2 in African Americans (rs1741099, p=3.7x10−6), and replicated in non-African American samples (p=0.011).
We confirmed genetic associations at six genes, and identified novel associations within ZNF365, HLA-DQA1, and 14q23.2. Our results highlight the importance of studying diverse, multi-ethnic populations to uncover novel loci associated with total IgE levels.
PMCID: PMC4458233  PMID: 25488688
immunoglobulin E; genome-wide association study; admixture mapping; allergy; asthma; next-generation sequencing; Latinos; Hispanics; minority populations
7.  Greater Collagen-Induced Platelet Aggregation Following Cyclooxygenase 1 Inhibition Predicts Incident Acute Coronary Syndromes 
Greater ex vivo platelet aggregation to agonists may identify individuals at risk of acute coronary syndromes (ACS). However, increased aggregation to a specific agonist may be masked by inherent variability in other activation pathways. In this study, we inhibited the cyclooxygenase-1 (COX1) pathway with 2-week aspirin therapy and measured residual aggregation to collagen and ADP to determine whether increased aggregation in a non-COX1 pathway is associated with incident ACS. We assessed ex vivo whole blood platelet aggregation in 1,699 healthy individuals with a family history of early-onset coronary artery disease followed for 6±1.2 years. Incident ACS events were observed in 22 subjects. Baseline aggregation was not associated with ACS. After COX1 pathway inhibition, collagen-induced aggregation was significantly greater in participants with ACS compared with those without (29.0 vs. 23.6 ohms, p<0.001). In Cox proportional hazards models, this association remained significant after adjusting for traditional cardiovascular risk factors (HR=1.10, 95%CI=1.06–1.15; p<0.001). In contrast, ADP-induced aggregation after COX1 inhibition was not associated with ACS. After COX1 pathway inhibition, subjects with greater collagen-induced platelet aggregation demonstrated a significant excess risk of incident ACS. These data suggest that platelet activation related to collagen may play an important role in the risk of ACS.
PMCID: PMC4305501  PMID: 25066685
Platelet aggregation; acute coronary syndromes; aspirin; collagen
8.  Directional dominance on stature and cognition in diverse human populations 
Joshi, Peter K. | Esko, Tonu | Mattsson, Hannele | Eklund, Niina | Gandin, Ilaria | Nutile, Teresa | Jackson, Anne U. | Schurmann, Claudia | Smith, Albert V. | Zhang, Weihua | Okada, Yukinori | Stančáková, Alena | Faul, Jessica D. | Zhao, Wei | Bartz, Traci M. | Concas, Maria Pina | Franceschini, Nora | Enroth, Stefan | Vitart, Veronique | Trompet, Stella | Guo, Xiuqing | Chasman, Daniel I. | O’Connel, Jeffery R. | Corre, Tanguy | Nongmaithem, Suraj S. | Chen, Yuning | Mangino, Massimo | Ruggiero, Daniela | Traglia, Michela | Farmaki, Aliki-Eleni | Kacprowski, Tim | Bjonnes, Andrew | van der Spek, Ashley | Wu, Ying | Giri, Anil K. | Yanek, Lisa R. | Wang, Lihua | Hofer, Edith | Rietveld, Cornelius A. | McLeod, Olga | Cornelis, Marilyn C. | Pattaro, Cristian | Verweij, Niek | Baumbach, Clemens | Abdellaoui, Abdel | Warren, Helen R. | Vuckovic, Dragana | Mei, Hao | Bouchard, Claude | Perry, John R.B. | Cappellani, Stefania | Mirza, Saira S. | Benton, Miles C. | Broeckel, Ulrich | Medland, Sarah E. | Lind, Penelope A. | Malerba, Giovanni | Drong, Alexander | Yengo, Loic | Bielak, Lawrence F. | Zhi, Degui | van der Most, Peter J. | Shriner, Daniel | Mägi, Reedik | Hemani, Gibran | Karaderi, Tugce | Wang, Zhaoming | Liu, Tian | Demuth, Ilja | Zhao, Jing Hua | Meng, Weihua | Lataniotis, Lazaros | van der Laan, Sander W. | Bradfield, Jonathan P. | Wood, Andrew R. | Bonnefond, Amelie | Ahluwalia, Tarunveer S. | Hall, Leanne M. | Salvi, Erika | Yazar, Seyhan | Carstensen, Lisbeth | de Haan, Hugoline G. | Abney, Mark | Afzal, Uzma | Allison, Matthew A. | Amin, Najaf | Asselbergs, Folkert W. | Bakker, Stephan J.L. | Barr, R. Graham | Baumeister, Sebastian E. | Benjamin, Daniel J. | Bergmann, Sven | Boerwinkle, Eric | Bottinger, Erwin P. | Campbell, Archie | Chakravarti, Aravinda | Chan, Yingleong | Chanock, Stephen J. | Chen, Constance | Chen, Y.-D. Ida | Collins, Francis S. | Connell, John | Correa, Adolfo | Cupples, L. Adrienne | Smith, George Davey | Davies, Gail | Dörr, Marcus | Ehret, Georg | Ellis, Stephen B. | Feenstra, Bjarke | Feitosa, Mary F. | Ford, Ian | Fox, Caroline S. | Frayling, Timothy M. | Friedrich, Nele | Geller, Frank | Scotland, Generation | Gillham-Nasenya, Irina | Gottesman, Omri | Graff, Misa | Grodstein, Francine | Gu, Charles | Haley, Chris | Hammond, Christopher J. | Harris, Sarah E. | Harris, Tamara B. | Hastie, Nicholas D. | Heard-Costa, Nancy L. | Heikkilä, Kauko | Hocking, Lynne J. | Homuth, Georg | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | Huang, Jinyan | Huffman, Jennifer E. | Hysi, Pirro G. | Ikram, M. Arfan | Ingelsson, Erik | Joensuu, Anni | Johansson, Åsa | Jousilahti, Pekka | Jukema, J. Wouter | Kähönen, Mika | Kamatani, Yoichiro | Kanoni, Stavroula | Kerr, Shona M. | Khan, Nazir M. | Koellinger, Philipp | Koistinen, Heikki A. | Kooner, Manraj K. | Kubo, Michiaki | Kuusisto, Johanna | Lahti, Jari | Launer, Lenore J. | Lea, Rodney A. | Lehne, Benjamin | Lehtimäki, Terho | Liewald, David C.M. | Lind, Lars | Loh, Marie | Lokki, Marja-Liisa | London, Stephanie J. | Loomis, Stephanie J. | Loukola, Anu | Lu, Yingchang | Lumley, Thomas | Lundqvist, Annamari | Männistö, Satu | Marques-Vidal, Pedro | Masciullo, Corrado | Matchan, Angela | Mathias, Rasika A. | Matsuda, Koichi | Meigs, James B. | Meisinger, Christa | Meitinger, Thomas | Menni, Cristina | Mentch, Frank D. | Mihailov, Evelin | Milani, Lili | Montasser, May E. | Montgomery, Grant W. | Morrison, Alanna | Myers, Richard H. | Nadukuru, Rajiv | Navarro, Pau | Nelis, Mari | Nieminen, Markku S. | Nolte, Ilja M. | O’Connor, George T. | Ogunniyi, Adesola | Padmanabhan, Sandosh | Palmas, Walter R. | Pankow, James S. | Patarcic, Inga | Pavani, Francesca | Peyser, Patricia A. | Pietilainen, Kirsi | Poulter, Neil | Prokopenko, Inga | Ralhan, Sarju | Redmond, Paul | Rich, Stephen S. | Rissanen, Harri | Robino, Antonietta | Rose, Lynda M. | Rose, Richard | Sala, Cinzia | Salako, Babatunde | Salomaa, Veikko | Sarin, Antti-Pekka | Saxena, Richa | Schmidt, Helena | Scott, Laura J. | Scott, William R. | Sennblad, Bengt | Seshadri, Sudha | Sever, Peter | Shrestha, Smeeta | Smith, Blair H. | Smith, Jennifer A. | Soranzo, Nicole | Sotoodehnia, Nona | Southam, Lorraine | Stanton, Alice V. | Stathopoulou, Maria G. | Strauch, Konstantin | Strawbridge, Rona J. | Suderman, Matthew J. | Tandon, Nikhil | Tang, Sian-Tsun | Taylor, Kent D. | Tayo, Bamidele O. | Töglhofer, Anna Maria | Tomaszewski, Maciej | Tšernikova, Natalia | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | Vaidya, Dhananjay | van Hylckama Vlieg, Astrid | van Setten, Jessica | Vasankari, Tuula | Vedantam, Sailaja | Vlachopoulou, Efthymia | Vozzi, Diego | Vuoksimaa, Eero | Waldenberger, Melanie | Ware, Erin B. | Wentworth-Shields, William | Whitfield, John B. | Wild, Sarah | Willemsen, Gonneke | Yajnik, Chittaranjan S. | Yao, Jie | Zaza, Gianluigi | Zhu, Xiaofeng | Project, The BioBank Japan | Salem, Rany M. | Melbye, Mads | Bisgaard, Hans | Samani, Nilesh J. | Cusi, Daniele | Mackey, David A. | Cooper, Richard S. | Froguel, Philippe | Pasterkamp, Gerard | Grant, Struan F.A. | Hakonarson, Hakon | Ferrucci, Luigi | Scott, Robert A. | Morris, Andrew D. | Palmer, Colin N.A. | Dedoussis, George | Deloukas, Panos | Bertram, Lars | Lindenberger, Ulman | Berndt, Sonja I. | Lindgren, Cecilia M. | Timpson, Nicholas J. | Tönjes, Anke | Munroe, Patricia B. | Sørensen, Thorkild I.A. | Rotimi, Charles N. | Arnett, Donna K. | Oldehinkel, Albertine J. | Kardia, Sharon L.R. | Balkau, Beverley | Gambaro, Giovanni | Morris, Andrew P. | Eriksson, Johan G. | Wright, Margie J. | Martin, Nicholas G. | Hunt, Steven C. | Starr, John M. | Deary, Ian J. | Griffiths, Lyn R. | Tiemeier, Henning | Pirastu, Nicola | Kaprio, Jaakko | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Pérusse, Louis | Wilson, James G. | Girotto, Giorgia | Caulfield, Mark J. | Raitakari, Olli | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Gieger, Christian | van der Harst, Pim | Hicks, Andrew A. | Kraft, Peter | Sinisalo, Juha | Knekt, Paul | Johannesson, Magnus | Magnusson, Patrik K.E. | Hamsten, Anders | Schmidt, Reinhold | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Vartiainen, Erkki | Becker, Diane M. | Bharadwaj, Dwaipayan | Mohlke, Karen L. | Boehnke, Michael | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Sanghera, Dharambir K. | Teumer, Alexander | Zeggini, Eleftheria | Metspalu, Andres | Gasparini, Paolo | Ulivi, Sheila | Ober, Carole | Toniolo, Daniela | Rudan, Igor | Porteous, David J. | Ciullo, Marina | Spector, Tim D. | Hayward, Caroline | Dupuis, Josée | Loos, Ruth J.F. | Wright, Alan F. | Chandak, Giriraj R. | Vollenweider, Peter | Shuldiner, Alan | Ridker, Paul M. | Rotter, Jerome I. | Sattar, Naveed | Gyllensten, Ulf | North, Kari E. | Pirastu, Mario | Psaty, Bruce M. | Weir, David R. | Laakso, Markku | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Takahashi, Atsushi | Chambers, John C. | Kooner, Jaspal S. | Strachan, David P. | Campbell, Harry | Hirschhorn, Joel N. | Perola, Markus | Polašek, Ozren | Wilson, James F.
Nature  2015;523(7561):459-462.
Homozygosity has long been associated with rare, often devastating, Mendelian disorders1 and Darwin was one of the first to recognise that inbreeding reduces evolutionary fitness2. However, the effect of the more distant parental relatedness common in modern human populations is less well understood. Genomic data now allow us to investigate the effects of homozygosity on traits of public health importance by observing contiguous homozygous segments (runs of homozygosity, ROH), which are inferred to be homozygous along their complete length. Given the low levels of genome-wide homozygosity prevalent in most human populations, information is required on very large numbers of people to provide sufficient power3,4. Here we use ROH to study 16 health-related quantitative traits in 354,224 individuals from 102 cohorts and find statistically significant associations between summed runs of homozygosity (SROH) and four complex traits: height, forced expiratory lung volume in 1 second (FEV1), general cognitive ability (g) and educational attainment (nominal p<1 × 10−300, 2.1 × 10−6, 2.5 × 10−10, 1.8 × 10−10). In each case increased homozygosity was associated with decreased trait value, equivalent to the offspring of first cousins being 1.2 cm shorter and having 10 months less education. Similar effect sizes were found across four continental groups and populations with different degrees of genome-wide homozygosity, providing convincing evidence for the first time that homozygosity, rather than confounding, directly contributes to phenotypic variance. Contrary to earlier reports in substantially smaller samples5,6, no evidence was seen of an influence of genome-wide homozygosity on blood pressure and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or ten other cardio-metabolic traits. Since directional dominance is predicted for traits under directional evolutionary selection7, this study provides evidence that increased stature and cognitive function have been positively selected in human evolution, whereas many important risk factors for late-onset complex diseases may not have been.
PMCID: PMC4516141  PMID: 26131930
9.  Impact of methods used to express levels of circulating fatty acids on the degree and direction of associations with blood lipids in humans 
The British Journal of Nutrition  2016;115(2):251-261.
Numerous studies have examined relationships between disease biomarkers (such as blood lipids) and levels of circulating or cellular fatty acids. In such association studies, fatty acids have typically been expressed as the percentage of a particular fatty acid relative to the total fatty acids in a sample. Using two human cohorts, this study examined relationships between blood lipids (TAG, and LDL, HDL or total cholesterol) and circulating fatty acids expressed either as a percentage of total or as concentration in serum. The direction of the correlation between stearic acid, linoleic acid, dihomo-γ-linolenic acid, arachidonic acid and DHA and circulating TAG reversed when fatty acids were expressed as concentrations v. a percentage of total. Similar reversals were observed for these fatty acids when examining their associations with the ratio of total cholesterol:HDL-cholesterol. This reversal pattern was replicated in serum samples from both human cohorts. The correlations between blood lipids and fatty acids expressed as a percentage of total could be mathematically modelled from the concentration data. These data reveal that the different methods of expressing fatty acids lead to dissimilar correlations between blood lipids and certain fatty acids. This study raises important questions about how such reversals in association patterns impact the interpretation of numerous association studies evaluating fatty acids and their relationships with disease biomarkers or risk.
PMCID: PMC4697295  PMID: 26615716
PUFA; Lipid biomarkers; Linoleic acid; Arachidonic acid
10.  Admixture Mapping Identifies a Quantitative Trait Locus Associated with FEV1/FVC in the COPDGene Study 
Genetic epidemiology  2014;38(7):652-659.
African Americans are admixed with genetic contributions from European and African ancestral populations. Admixture mapping leverages this information to map genes influencing differential disease risk across populations. We performed admixture and association mapping in 3300 African American current or former smokers from the COPDGene Study. We analyzed estimated local ancestry and SNP genotype information to identify regions associated with FEV1/FVC, the ratio of forced expiratory volume in one second to forced vital capacity, measured by spirometry performed after bronchodilator administration. Global African ancestry inversely associated with FEV1/FVC (p = 0.035). Genome-wide admixture analysis, controlling for age, gender, body mass index, current smoking status, pack-years smoked, and four principal components summarizing the genetic background of African Americans in the COPDGene Study, identified a region on chromosome 12q14.1 associated with FEV1/FVC (p = 2.1 × 10-6) when regressed on local ancestry. Allelic association in this region of chromosome 12 identified an intronic variant in FAM19A2 (rs348644) as associated with FEV1/FVC (p=1.76 × 10-6). By combining admixture and association mapping, a marker on chromosome 12q14.1 was identified as being associated with reduced FEV1/FVC ratio among African-Americans in the COPDGene Study.
PMCID: PMC4190160  PMID: 25112515
admixture mapping; lung function; COPD; African Americans
11.  Genome-wide interaction studies reveal sex-specific asthma risk alleles 
Human Molecular Genetics  2014;23(19):5251-5259.
Asthma is a complex disease with sex-specific differences in prevalence. Candidate gene studies have suggested that genotype-by-sex interaction effects on asthma risk exist, but this has not yet been explored at a genome-wide level. We aimed to identify sex-specific asthma risk alleles by performing a genome-wide scan for genotype-by-sex interactions in the ethnically diverse participants in the EVE Asthma Genetics Consortium. We performed male- and female-specific genome-wide association studies in 2653 male asthma cases, 2566 female asthma cases and 3830 non-asthma controls from European American, African American, African Caribbean and Latino populations. Association tests were conducted in each study sample, and the results were combined in ancestry-specific and cross-ancestry meta-analyses. Six sex-specific asthma risk loci had P-values < 1 × 10−6, of which two were male specific and four were female specific; all were ancestry specific. The most significant sex-specific association in European Americans was at the interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF1) locus on 5q31.1. We also identify a Latino female-specific association in RAP1GAP2. Both of these loci included single-nucleotide polymorphisms that are known expression quantitative trait loci and have been associated with asthma in independent studies. The IRF1 locus is a strong candidate region for male-specific asthma susceptibility due to the association and validation we demonstrate here, the known role of IRF1 in asthma-relevant immune pathways and prior reports of sex-specific differences in interferon responses.
PMCID: PMC4159149  PMID: 24824216
13.  An IL-13 Promoter Polymorphism Associated with Liver Fibrosis in Patients with Schistosoma japonicum 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(8):e0135360.
The aim of this study was to determine whether two polymorphisms in the gene encoding IL13 previously associated with Schistosoma hematobium (S. hematobium) and S. mansoni infection are associated with S. japonicum infection. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) rs1800925 (IL13/-1112C>T) and rs20541 (IL13R130Q) were genotyped in 947 unrelated individuals (307 chronically infected, 339 late-stage with liver fibrosis, 301 uninfected controls) from a schistosomiasis-endemic area of Hubei province in China. Regression models were used to evaluate allelic and haplotypic associations with chronic and late-stage schistosomiasis adjusted for non-genetic covariates. Expression of IL-13 was measured in S. japonicun-infected liver fibrosis tissue and normal liver tissue from uninfected controls by immunohistochemistry (IHC). The role of rs1800925 in IL-13 transcription was further determined by Luciferase report assay using the recombinant PGL4.17-rs180092 plasmid. We found SNP rs1800925T was associated with late-stage schistosomiasis caused by S. japonicum but not chronic schistosomiasis (OR = 1.39, 95%CI = 1.02–1.91, p = 0.03) and uninfected controls (OR = 1.49, 95%CI = 1.03–2.13, p = 0.03). Moreover, the haplotype rs1800925T-rs20541C increased the risk of disease progression to late-stage schistosomiasis (OR = 1.46, p = 0.035), whereas haplotype rs1800925C-rs20541A showed a protective role against development of late-stage schistosomiasis (F = 0.188, OR = 0.61, p = 0.002). Furthermore, S. japonicum-induced fibrotic liver tissue had higher IL13 expression than normal liver tissue. Plasmid PGL4.17-rs1800925T showed a stronger relative luciferase activity than Plasmid PGL4.17-rs1800925C in 293FT, QSG-7701 and HL-7702 cell lines. In conclusion, the functional IL13 polymorphism, rs1800925T, previously associated with risk of schistosomiasis, also contributes to risk of late-stage schistosomiasis caused by S. japonicum.
PMCID: PMC4530950  PMID: 26258681
14.  Ethnic-Specific Associations of Rare and Low Frequency DNA Sequence Variants with Asthma 
Nature communications  2015;6:5965.
Common variants at many loci have been robustly associated with asthma but explain little of the overall genetic risk. Here we investigate the role of rare (<1%) and low frequency (1–5%) variants using the Illumina HumanExome BeadChip array in 4,794 asthma cases, 4,707 non-asthmatic controls, and 590 case-parent trios representing European Americans, African Americans/African Caribbeans, and Latinos. Our study reveals one low frequency missense mutation in the GRASP gene that is associated with asthma in the Latino sample (P=4.31×10−6; OR=1.25; MAF=1.21%) and two genes harboring functional variants that are associated with asthma in a gene-based analysis: GSDMB at the 17q12-21 asthma locus in the Latino and combined samples (P=7.81×10−8 and 4.09×10−8, respectively) and MTHFR in the African ancestry sample (P=1.72×10−6). Our results suggest that associations with rare and low frequency variants are ethnic specific and not likely to explain a significant proportion of the “missing heritability” of asthma.
PMCID: PMC4309441  PMID: 25591454
15.  Exome Sequencing of Phenotypic Extremes Identifies CAV2 and TMC6 as Interacting Modifiers of Chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa Infection in Cystic Fibrosis 
PLoS Genetics  2015;11(6):e1005273.
Discovery of rare or low frequency variants in exome or genome data that are associated with complex traits often will require use of very large sample sizes to achieve adequate statistical power. For a fixed sample size, sequencing of individuals sampled from the tails of a phenotype distribution (i.e., extreme phenotypes design) maximizes power and this approach was recently validated empirically with the discovery of variants in DCTN4 that influence the natural history of P. aeruginosa airway infection in persons with cystic fibrosis (CF; MIM219700). The increasing availability of large exome/genome sequence datasets that serve as proxies for population-based controls affords the opportunity to test an alternative, potentially more powerful and generalizable strategy, in which the frequency of rare variants in a single extreme phenotypic group is compared to a control group (i.e., extreme phenotype vs. control population design). As proof-of-principle, we applied this approach to search for variants associated with risk for age-of-onset of chronic P. aeruginosa airway infection among individuals with CF and identified variants in CAV2 and TMC6 that were significantly associated with group status. These results were validated using a large, prospective, longitudinal CF cohort and confirmed a significant association of a variant in CAV2 with increased age-of-onset of P. aeruginosa airway infection (hazard ratio = 0.48, 95% CI=[0.32, 0.88]) and variants in TMC6 with diminished age-of-onset of P. aeruginosa airway infection (HR = 5.4, 95% CI=[2.2, 13.5]) A strong interaction between CAV2 and TMC6 variants was observed (HR=12.1, 95% CI=[3.8, 39]) for children with the deleterious TMC6 variant and without the CAV2 protective variant. Neither gene showed a significant association using an extreme phenotypes design, and conditions for which the power of an extreme phenotype vs. control population design was greater than that for the extreme phenotypes design were explored.
Author Summary
Whole exome and whole genome sequencing provide the opportunity to test for associations between expressed traits and genetic variants that cannot be tested with chip technology, particularly variants that are too rare to be included on chips designed for genome-wide association analysis. We used exome sequencing to identify variants in CAV2 and TMC6 that modify the age-of-onset of chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection among children with cystic fibrosis, and validated our findings in a large cohort of children with cystic fibrosis. For a fixed number of study participants, it is known that the extreme phenotypes design provides greater statistical power than a random sampling design. In the extreme phenotypes design, one compares the frequency of a given set of genetic variants in one extreme of age-of-onset (early onset) to that in the other extreme (late onset). Here, we employed an alternative design that compares genetic frequencies in exomes sampled from one extreme to that among exomes from a large set of controls. We show that this design confers substantially greater statistical power for discovery of CAV2 and TMC6 and provide general conditions under which this single extreme versus control design is more powerful than the extreme phenotypes design.
PMCID: PMC4457883  PMID: 26047157
16.  Genetic Variants in the FADS Gene: Implications for Dietary Recommendations for Fatty Acid Intake 
Current nutrition reports  2014;3(2):139-148.
Unequivocally, genetic variants within the fatty acid desaturase (FADS) cluster are determinants of long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LC-PUFA) levels in circulation, cells and tissues. A recent series of papers have addressed these associations in the context of ancestry; evidence clearly supports that the associations are robust to ethnicity. However ∼80% of African Americans carry two copies of the alleles associated with increased levels of arachidonic acid, compared to only ∼45% of European Americans raising important questions of whether gene-PUFA interactions induced by a modern western diet are differentially driving the risk of diseases of inflammation in diverse populations, and are these interactions leading to health disparities. We highlight an important aspect thus far missing in the debate regarding dietary recommendations; we content that current evidence from genetics strongly suggest that an individual's, or at the very least the population from which an individual is sampled, genetic architecture must be factored into dietary recommendations currently in place.
PMCID: PMC4070521  PMID: 24977108
polyunsaturated fatty acids; nutrition; genetic variants; fatty acid desaturase (FADS); single nucleotide polymorphisms; arachidonic acid; eicosanoids; inflammation; cardiovascular disease
17.  Genome-wide association study of platelet aggregation in African Americans 
BMC Genetics  2015;16:58.
We have previously shown that platelet aggregation has higher heritability in African Americans than European Americans. However, a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of platelet aggregation in African Americans has not been reported. We measured platelet aggregation in response to arachidonic acid, ADP, collagen, or epinephrine by optical aggregometry. The discovery cohort was 825 African Americans from the GeneSTAR study. Two replication cohorts were used: 119 African Americans from the Platelet Genes and Physiology Study and 1221 European Americans from GeneSTAR. Genotyping was conducted with Illumina 1 M arrays. For each cohort, age- and sex-adjusted linear mixed models were used to test for association between each SNP and each phenotype under an additive model.
Six SNPs were significantly associated with platelet aggregation (P < 5×10−8) in the discovery sample. Of these, three SNPs in three different loci were confirmed: 1) rs12041331, in PEAR1 (platelet endothelial aggregation receptor 1), replicated in both African and European Americans for collagen- and epinephrine-induced aggregation, and in European Americans for ADP-induced aggregation; 2) rs11202221, in BMPR1A (bone morphogenetic protein receptor type1A), replicated in African Americans for ADP-induced aggregation; and 3) rs6566765 replicated in European Americans for ADP-induced aggregation. The rs11202221 and rs6566765 associations with agonist-induced platelet aggregation are novel.
In this first GWAS of agonist-induced platelet aggregation in African Americans, we discovered and replicated, novel associations of two variants with ADP-induced aggregation, and confirmed the association of a PEAR1 variant with multi-agonist-induced aggregation. Further study of these genes may provide novel insights into platelet biology.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12863-015-0217-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4448541  PMID: 26024889
Platelet aggregation; PEAR1; BMPR1A; Genome-wide association study
18.  Telomerase mutations in smokers with severe emphysema 
Mutations in the essential telomerase genes TERT and TR cause familial pulmonary fibrosis; however, in telomerase-null mice, short telomeres predispose to emphysema after chronic cigarette smoke exposure. Here, we tested whether telomerase mutations are a risk factor for human emphysema by examining their frequency in smokers with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Across two independent cohorts, we found 3 of 292 severe COPD cases carried deleterious mutations in TERT (1%). This prevalence is comparable to the frequency of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency documented in this population. The TERT mutations compromised telomerase catalytic activity, and mutation carriers had short telomeres. Telomerase mutation carriers with emphysema were predominantly female and had an increased incidence of pneumothorax. In families, emphysema showed an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern, along with pulmonary fibrosis and other telomere syndrome features, but manifested only in smokers. Our findings identify germline mutations in telomerase as a Mendelian risk factor for COPD susceptibility that clusters in autosomal dominant families with telomere-mediated disease including pulmonary fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC4319417  PMID: 25562321
19.  Low-frequency and rare exome chip variants associate with fasting glucose and type 2 diabetes susceptibility 
Wessel, Jennifer | Chu, Audrey Y. | Willems, Sara M. | Wang, Shuai | Yaghootkar, Hanieh | Brody, Jennifer A. | Dauriz, Marco | Hivert, Marie-France | Raghavan, Sridharan | Lipovich, Leonard | Hidalgo, Bertha | Fox, Keolu | Huffman, Jennifer E. | An, Ping | Lu, Yingchang | Rasmussen-Torvik, Laura J. | Grarup, Niels | Ehm, Margaret G. | Li, Li | Baldridge, Abigail S. | Stančáková, Alena | Abrol, Ravinder | Besse, Céline | Boland, Anne | Bork-Jensen, Jette | Fornage, Myriam | Freitag, Daniel F. | Garcia, Melissa E. | Guo, Xiuqing | Hara, Kazuo | Isaacs, Aaron | Jakobsdottir, Johanna | Lange, Leslie A. | Layton, Jill C. | Li, Man | Zhao, Jing Hua | Meidtner, Karina | Morrison, Alanna C. | Nalls, Mike A. | Peters, Marjolein J. | Sabater-Lleal, Maria | Schurmann, Claudia | Silveira, Angela | Smith, Albert V. | Southam, Lorraine | Stoiber, Marcus H. | Strawbridge, Rona J. | Taylor, Kent D. | Varga, Tibor V. | Allin, Kristine H. | Amin, Najaf | Aponte, Jennifer L. | Aung, Tin | Barbieri, Caterina | Bihlmeyer, Nathan A. | Boehnke, Michael | Bombieri, Cristina | Bowden, Donald W. | Burns, Sean M. | Chen, Yuning | Chen, Yii-Der I. | Cheng, Ching-Yu | Correa, Adolfo | Czajkowski, Jacek | Dehghan, Abbas | Ehret, Georg B. | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Escher, Stefan A. | Farmaki, Aliki-Eleni | Frånberg, Mattias | Gambaro, Giovanni | Giulianini, Franco | III, William A. Goddard | Goel, Anuj | Gottesman, Omri | Grove, Megan L. | Gustafsson, Stefan | Hai, Yang | Hallmans, Göran | Heo, Jiyoung | Hoffmann, Per | Ikram, Mohammad K. | Jensen, Richard A. | Jørgensen, Marit E. | Jørgensen, Torben | Karaleftheri, Maria | Khor, Chiea C. | Kirkpatrick, Andrea | Kraja, Aldi T. | Kuusisto, Johanna | Lange, Ethan M. | Lee, I.T. | Lee, Wen-Jane | Leong, Aaron | Liao, Jiemin | Liu, Chunyu | Liu, Yongmei | Lindgren, Cecilia M. | Linneberg, Allan | Malerba, Giovanni | Mamakou, Vasiliki | Marouli, Eirini | Maruthur, Nisa M. | Matchan, Angela | McKean, Roberta | McLeod, Olga | Metcalf, Ginger A. | Mohlke, Karen L. | Muzny, Donna M. | Ntalla, Ioanna | Palmer, Nicholette D. | Pasko, Dorota | Peter, Andreas | Rayner, Nigel W. | Renström, Frida | Rice, Ken | Sala, Cinzia F. | Sennblad, Bengt | Serafetinidis, Ioannis | Smith, Jennifer A. | Soranzo, Nicole | Speliotes, Elizabeth K. | Stahl, Eli A. | Stirrups, Kathleen | Tentolouris, Nikos | Thanopoulou, Anastasia | Torres, Mina | Traglia, Michela | Tsafantakis, Emmanouil | Javad, Sundas | Yanek, Lisa R. | Zengini, Eleni | Becker, Diane M. | Bis, Joshua C. | Brown, James B. | Cupples, L. Adrienne | Hansen, Torben | Ingelsson, Erik | Karter, Andrew J. | Lorenzo, Carlos | Mathias, Rasika A. | Norris, Jill M. | Peloso, Gina M. | Sheu, Wayne H.-H. | Toniolo, Daniela | Vaidya, Dhananjay | Varma, Rohit | Wagenknecht, Lynne E. | Boeing, Heiner | Bottinger, Erwin P. | Dedoussis, George | Deloukas, Panos | Ferrannini, Ele | Franco, Oscar H. | Franks, Paul W. | Gibbs, Richard A. | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Hamsten, Anders | Harris, Tamara B. | Hattersley, Andrew T. | Hayward, Caroline | Hofman, Albert | Jansson, Jan-Håkan | Langenberg, Claudia | Launer, Lenore J. | Levy, Daniel | Oostra, Ben A. | O'Donnell, Christopher J. | O'Rahilly, Stephen | Padmanabhan, Sandosh | Pankow, James S. | Polasek, Ozren | Province, Michael A. | Rich, Stephen S. | Ridker, Paul M | Rudan, Igor | Schulze, Matthias B. | Smith, Blair H. | Uitterlinden, André G. | Walker, Mark | Watkins, Hugh | Wong, Tien Y. | Zeggini, Eleftheria | Scotland, Generation | Laakso, Markku | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Chasman, Daniel I. | Pedersen, Oluf | Psaty, Bruce M. | Tai, E. Shyong | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Waterworth, Dawn M. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Kao, WH Linda | Florez, Jose C. | Loos, Ruth J.F. | Wilson, James G. | Frayling, Timothy M. | Siscovick, David S. | Dupuis, Josée | Rotter, Jerome I. | Meigs, James B. | Scott, Robert A. | Goodarzi, Mark O.
Nature communications  2015;6:5897.
Fasting glucose and insulin are intermediate traits for type 2 diabetes. Here we explore the role of coding variation on these traits by analysis of variants on the HumanExome BeadChip in 60,564 non-diabetic individuals and in 16,491 T2D cases and 81,877 controls. We identify a novel association of a low-frequency nonsynonymous SNV in GLP1R (A316T; rs10305492; MAF=1.4%) with lower FG (β=-0.09±0.01 mmol L−1, p=3.4×10−12), T2D risk (OR[95%CI]=0.86[0.76-0.96], p=0.010), early insulin secretion (β=-0.07±0.035 pmolinsulin mmolglucose−1, p=0.048), but higher 2-h glucose (β=0.16±0.05 mmol L−1, p=4.3×10−4). We identify a gene-based association with FG at G6PC2 (pSKAT=6.8×10−6) driven by four rare protein-coding SNVs (H177Y, Y207S, R283X and S324P). We identify rs651007 (MAF=20%) in the first intron of ABO at the putative promoter of an antisense lncRNA, associating with higher FG (β=0.02±0.004 mmol L−1, p=1.3×10−8). Our approach identifies novel coding variant associations and extends the allelic spectrum of variation underlying diabetes-related quantitative traits and T2D susceptibility.
PMCID: PMC4311266  PMID: 25631608
20.  Low-frequency and rare exome chip variants associate with fasting glucose and type 2 diabetes susceptibility 
Wessel, Jennifer | Chu, Audrey Y | Willems, Sara M | Wang, Shuai | Yaghootkar, Hanieh | Brody, Jennifer A | Dauriz, Marco | Hivert, Marie-France | Raghavan, Sridharan | Lipovich, Leonard | Hidalgo, Bertha | Fox, Keolu | Huffman, Jennifer E | An, Ping | Lu, Yingchang | Rasmussen-Torvik, Laura J | Grarup, Niels | Ehm, Margaret G | Li, Li | Baldridge, Abigail S | Stančáková, Alena | Abrol, Ravinder | Besse, Céline | Boland, Anne | Bork-Jensen, Jette | Fornage, Myriam | Freitag, Daniel F | Garcia, Melissa E | Guo, Xiuqing | Hara, Kazuo | Isaacs, Aaron | Jakobsdottir, Johanna | Lange, Leslie A | Layton, Jill C | Li, Man | Hua Zhao, Jing | Meidtner, Karina | Morrison, Alanna C | Nalls, Mike A | Peters, Marjolein J | Sabater-Lleal, Maria | Schurmann, Claudia | Silveira, Angela | Smith, Albert V | Southam, Lorraine | Stoiber, Marcus H | Strawbridge, Rona J | Taylor, Kent D | Varga, Tibor V | Allin, Kristine H | Amin, Najaf | Aponte, Jennifer L | Aung, Tin | Barbieri, Caterina | Bihlmeyer, Nathan A | Boehnke, Michael | Bombieri, Cristina | Bowden, Donald W | Burns, Sean M | Chen, Yuning | Chen, Yii-DerI | Cheng, Ching-Yu | Correa, Adolfo | Czajkowski, Jacek | Dehghan, Abbas | Ehret, Georg B | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Escher, Stefan A | Farmaki, Aliki-Eleni | Frånberg, Mattias | Gambaro, Giovanni | Giulianini, Franco | Goddard, William A | Goel, Anuj | Gottesman, Omri | Grove, Megan L | Gustafsson, Stefan | Hai, Yang | Hallmans, Göran | Heo, Jiyoung | Hoffmann, Per | Ikram, Mohammad K | Jensen, Richard A | Jørgensen, Marit E | Jørgensen, Torben | Karaleftheri, Maria | Khor, Chiea C | Kirkpatrick, Andrea | Kraja, Aldi T | Kuusisto, Johanna | Lange, Ethan M | Lee, I T | Lee, Wen-Jane | Leong, Aaron | Liao, Jiemin | Liu, Chunyu | Liu, Yongmei | Lindgren, Cecilia M | Linneberg, Allan | Malerba, Giovanni | Mamakou, Vasiliki | Marouli, Eirini | Maruthur, Nisa M | Matchan, Angela | McKean-Cowdin, Roberta | McLeod, Olga | Metcalf, Ginger A | Mohlke, Karen L | Muzny, Donna M | Ntalla, Ioanna | Palmer, Nicholette D | Pasko, Dorota | Peter, Andreas | Rayner, Nigel W | Renström, Frida | Rice, Ken | Sala, Cinzia F | Sennblad, Bengt | Serafetinidis, Ioannis | Smith, Jennifer A | Soranzo, Nicole | Speliotes, Elizabeth K | Stahl, Eli A | Stirrups, Kathleen | Tentolouris, Nikos | Thanopoulou, Anastasia | Torres, Mina | Traglia, Michela | Tsafantakis, Emmanouil | Javad, Sundas | Yanek, Lisa R | Zengini, Eleni | Becker, Diane M | Bis, Joshua C | Brown, James B | Adrienne Cupples, L | Hansen, Torben | Ingelsson, Erik | Karter, Andrew J | Lorenzo, Carlos | Mathias, Rasika A | Norris, Jill M | Peloso, Gina M | Sheu, Wayne H.-H. | Toniolo, Daniela | Vaidya, Dhananjay | Varma, Rohit | Wagenknecht, Lynne E | Boeing, Heiner | Bottinger, Erwin P | Dedoussis, George | Deloukas, Panos | Ferrannini, Ele | Franco, Oscar H | Franks, Paul W | Gibbs, Richard A | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Hamsten, Anders | Harris, Tamara B | Hattersley, Andrew T | Hayward, Caroline | Hofman, Albert | Jansson, Jan-Håkan | Langenberg, Claudia | Launer, Lenore J | Levy, Daniel | Oostra, Ben A | O'Donnell, Christopher J | O'Rahilly, Stephen | Padmanabhan, Sandosh | Pankow, James S | Polasek, Ozren | Province, Michael A | Rich, Stephen S | Ridker, Paul M | Rudan, Igor | Schulze, Matthias B | Smith, Blair H | Uitterlinden, André G | Walker, Mark | Watkins, Hugh | Wong, Tien Y | Zeggini, Eleftheria | Laakso, Markku | Borecki, Ingrid B | Chasman, Daniel I | Pedersen, Oluf | Psaty, Bruce M | Shyong Tai, E | van Duijn, Cornelia M | Wareham, Nicholas J | Waterworth, Dawn M | Boerwinkle, Eric | Linda Kao, W H | Florez, Jose C | Loos, Ruth J.F. | Wilson, James G | Frayling, Timothy M | Siscovick, David S | Dupuis, Josée | Rotter, Jerome I | Meigs, James B | Scott, Robert A | Goodarzi, Mark O
Nature Communications  2015;6:5897.
Fasting glucose and insulin are intermediate traits for type 2 diabetes. Here we explore the role of coding variation on these traits by analysis of variants on the HumanExome BeadChip in 60,564 non-diabetic individuals and in 16,491 T2D cases and 81,877 controls. We identify a novel association of a low-frequency nonsynonymous SNV in GLP1R (A316T; rs10305492; MAF=1.4%) with lower FG (β=−0.09±0.01 mmol l−1, P=3.4 × 10−12), T2D risk (OR[95%CI]=0.86[0.76–0.96], P=0.010), early insulin secretion (β=−0.07±0.035 pmolinsulin mmolglucose−1, P=0.048), but higher 2-h glucose (β=0.16±0.05 mmol l−1, P=4.3 × 10−4). We identify a gene-based association with FG at G6PC2 (pSKAT=6.8 × 10−6) driven by four rare protein-coding SNVs (H177Y, Y207S, R283X and S324P). We identify rs651007 (MAF=20%) in the first intron of ABO at the putative promoter of an antisense lncRNA, associating with higher FG (β=0.02±0.004 mmol l−1, P=1.3 × 10−8). Our approach identifies novel coding variant associations and extends the allelic spectrum of variation underlying diabetes-related quantitative traits and T2D susceptibility.
Both rare and common variants contribute to the aetiology of complex traits such as type 2 diabetes (T2D). Here, the authors examine the effect of coding variation on glycaemic traits and T2D, and identify low-frequency variation in GLP1R significantly associated with these traits.
PMCID: PMC4311266  PMID: 25631608
21.  Ethnic-specific associations of rare and low-frequency DNA sequence variants with asthma 
Nature Communications  2015;6:5965.
Common variants at many loci have been robustly associated with asthma but explain little of the overall genetic risk. Here we investigate the role of rare (<1%) and low-frequency (1–5%) variants using the Illumina HumanExome BeadChip array in 4,794 asthma cases, 4,707 non-asthmatic controls and 590 case–parent trios representing European Americans, African Americans/African Caribbeans and Latinos. Our study reveals one low-frequency missense mutation in the GRASP gene that is associated with asthma in the Latino sample (P=4.31 × 10−6; OR=1.25; MAF=1.21%) and two genes harbouring functional variants that are associated with asthma in a gene-based analysis: GSDMB at the 17q12–21 asthma locus in the Latino and combined samples (P=7.81 × 10−8 and 4.09 × 10−8, respectively) and MTHFR in the African ancestry sample (P=1.72 × 10−6). Our results suggest that associations with rare and low-frequency variants are ethnic specific and not likely to explain a significant proportion of the ‘missing heritability’ of asthma.
Common variants account for only a small amount of the heritable risk for developing asthma. Using a meta-analysis approach, Igartua et al. identify one low-frequency missense mutation and two genes with functional variants that are associated with asthma, but only in specific ethnic groups.
PMCID: PMC4309441  PMID: 25591454
22.  Genome-Wide Association Study of Lung Function Phenotypes in a Founder Population 
Lung function is a long-term predictor of mortality and morbidity.
We sought to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with lung function.
We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), and FEV1/FVC in 1,144 Hutterites aged 6–89 years, who are members of a founder population of European descent. We performed least absolute shrinkage and selection operation (LASSO) regression to select the minimum set of SNPs that best predict FEV1/FVC in the Hutterites and used the GRAIL algorithm to mine the Gene Ontology database for evidence of functional connections between genes near the predictive SNPs.
Our GWAS identified significant associations between FEV1/FVC and SNPs at the THSD4-UACA-TLE3 locus on chromosome 15q23 (P = 5.7x10−8 ~ 3.4x10−9). Nine SNPs at or near four additional loci had P-values < 10−5 with FEV1/FVC. There were only two SNPs with P-values < 10−5 for FEV1 or FVC. We found nominal levels of significance with SNPs at 9 of the 27 previously reported loci associated with lung function measures. Among a predictive set of 80 SNPs, six loci were identified that had a significant degree of functional connectivity (GRAIL P < 0.05), including three clusters of β-defensin genes, two chemokine genes (CCL18 and CXCL12), and TNFRSF13B.
This study identifies genome-wide significant associations and replicates results of previous GWAS. Multimarker modeling implicated for the first time common variation in genes involved in anti-microbial immunity in airway mucosa influences lung function.
PMCID: PMC4270121  PMID: 23932459
23.  Meta-Analysis of Genome-Wide Association Studies in African Americans Provides Insights into the Genetic Architecture of Type 2 Diabetes 
Ng, Maggie C. Y. | Shriner, Daniel | Chen, Brian H. | Li, Jiang | Chen, Wei-Min | Guo, Xiuqing | Liu, Jiankang | Bielinski, Suzette J. | Yanek, Lisa R. | Nalls, Michael A. | Comeau, Mary E. | Rasmussen-Torvik, Laura J. | Jensen, Richard A. | Evans, Daniel S. | Sun, Yan V. | An, Ping | Patel, Sanjay R. | Lu, Yingchang | Long, Jirong | Armstrong, Loren L. | Wagenknecht, Lynne | Yang, Lingyao | Snively, Beverly M. | Palmer, Nicholette D. | Mudgal, Poorva | Langefeld, Carl D. | Keene, Keith L. | Freedman, Barry I. | Mychaleckyj, Josyf C. | Nayak, Uma | Raffel, Leslie J. | Goodarzi, Mark O. | Chen, Y-D Ida | Taylor, Herman A. | Correa, Adolfo | Sims, Mario | Couper, David | Pankow, James S. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Adeyemo, Adebowale | Doumatey, Ayo | Chen, Guanjie | Mathias, Rasika A. | Vaidya, Dhananjay | Singleton, Andrew B. | Zonderman, Alan B. | Igo, Robert P. | Sedor, John R. | Kabagambe, Edmond K. | Siscovick, David S. | McKnight, Barbara | Rice, Kenneth | Liu, Yongmei | Hsueh, Wen-Chi | Zhao, Wei | Bielak, Lawrence F. | Kraja, Aldi | Province, Michael A. | Bottinger, Erwin P. | Gottesman, Omri | Cai, Qiuyin | Zheng, Wei | Blot, William J. | Lowe, William L. | Pacheco, Jennifer A. | Crawford, Dana C. | Grundberg, Elin | Rich, Stephen S. | Hayes, M. Geoffrey | Shu, Xiao-Ou | Loos, Ruth J. F. | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Peyser, Patricia A. | Cummings, Steven R. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Fornage, Myriam | Iyengar, Sudha K. | Evans, Michele K. | Becker, Diane M. | Kao, W. H. Linda | Wilson, James G. | Rotter, Jerome I. | Sale, Michèle M. | Liu, Simin | Rotimi, Charles N. | Bowden, Donald W.
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(8):e1004517.
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is more prevalent in African Americans than in Europeans. However, little is known about the genetic risk in African Americans despite the recent identification of more than 70 T2D loci primarily by genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in individuals of European ancestry. In order to investigate the genetic architecture of T2D in African Americans, the MEta-analysis of type 2 DIabetes in African Americans (MEDIA) Consortium examined 17 GWAS on T2D comprising 8,284 cases and 15,543 controls in African Americans in stage 1 analysis. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) association analysis was conducted in each study under the additive model after adjustment for age, sex, study site, and principal components. Meta-analysis of approximately 2.6 million genotyped and imputed SNPs in all studies was conducted using an inverse variance-weighted fixed effect model. Replications were performed to follow up 21 loci in up to 6,061 cases and 5,483 controls in African Americans, and 8,130 cases and 38,987 controls of European ancestry. We identified three known loci (TCF7L2, HMGA2 and KCNQ1) and two novel loci (HLA-B and INS-IGF2) at genome-wide significance (4.15×10−94
Author Summary
Despite the higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in African Americans than in Europeans, recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) were examined primarily in individuals of European ancestry. In this study, we performed meta-analysis of 17 GWAS in 8,284 cases and 15,543 controls to explore the genetic architecture of T2D in African Americans. Following replication in additional 6,061 cases and 5,483 controls in African Americans, and 8,130 cases and 38,987 controls of European ancestry, we identified two novel and three previous reported T2D loci reaching genome-wide significance. We also examined 158 loci previously reported to be associated with T2D or regulating glucose homeostasis. While 56% of these loci were shared between African Americans and the other populations, the strongest associations in African Americans are often found in nearby single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) instead of the original SNPs reported in other populations due to differential genetic architecture across populations. Our results highlight the importance of performing genetic studies in non-European populations to fine map the causal genetic variants.
PMCID: PMC4125087  PMID: 25102180
BMC Medical Genomics  2014;7:48.
Allergic rhinitis is a common disease whose genetic basis is incompletely explained. We report an integrated genomic analysis of allergic rhinitis.
We performed genome wide association studies (GWAS) of allergic rhinitis in 5633 ethnically diverse North American subjects. Next, we profiled gene expression in disease-relevant tissue (peripheral blood CD4+ lymphocytes) collected from subjects who had been genotyped. We then integrated the GWAS and gene expression data using expression single nucleotide (eSNP), coexpression network, and pathway approaches to identify the biologic relevance of our GWAS.
GWAS revealed ethnicity-specific findings, with 4 genome-wide significant loci among Latinos and 1 genome-wide significant locus in the GWAS meta-analysis across ethnic groups. To identify biologic context for these results, we constructed a coexpression network to define modules of genes with similar patterns of CD4+ gene expression (coexpression modules) that could serve as constructs of broader gene expression. 6 of the 22 GWAS loci with P-value ≤ 1x10−6 tagged one particular coexpression module (4.0-fold enrichment, P-value 0.0029), and this module also had the greatest enrichment (3.4-fold enrichment, P-value 2.6 × 10−24) for allergic rhinitis-associated eSNPs (genetic variants associated with both gene expression and allergic rhinitis). The integrated GWAS, coexpression network, and eSNP results therefore supported this coexpression module as an allergic rhinitis module. Pathway analysis revealed that the module was enriched for mitochondrial pathways (8.6-fold enrichment, P-value 4.5 × 10−72).
Our results highlight mitochondrial pathways as a target for further investigation of allergic rhinitis mechanism and treatment. Our integrated approach can be applied to provide biologic context for GWAS of other diseases.
PMCID: PMC4127082  PMID: 25085501
Genome-wide association study; Allergic rhinitis; Coexpression network; Expression single-nucleotide polymorphism; Coexpression module; Pathway; Mitochondria; Hay fever; Allergy
Tang, Wenbo | Kowgier, Matthew | Loth, Daan W. | Soler Artigas, María | Joubert, Bonnie R. | Hodge, Emily | Gharib, Sina A. | Smith, Albert V. | Ruczinski, Ingo | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Mathias, Rasika A. | Harris, Tamara B. | Hansel, Nadia N. | Launer, Lenore J. | Barnes, Kathleen C. | Hansen, Joyanna G. | Albrecht, Eva | Aldrich, Melinda C. | Allerhand, Michael | Barr, R. Graham | Brusselle, Guy G. | Couper, David J. | Curjuric, Ivan | Davies, Gail | Deary, Ian J. | Dupuis, Josée | Fall, Tove | Foy, Millennia | Franceschini, Nora | Gao, Wei | Gläser, Sven | Gu, Xiangjun | Hancock, Dana B. | Heinrich, Joachim | Hofman, Albert | Imboden, Medea | Ingelsson, Erik | James, Alan | Karrasch, Stefan | Koch, Beate | Kritchevsky, Stephen B. | Kumar, Ashish | Lahousse, Lies | Li, Guo | Lind, Lars | Lindgren, Cecilia | Liu, Yongmei | Lohman, Kurt | Lumley, Thomas | McArdle, Wendy L. | Meibohm, Bernd | Morris, Andrew P. | Morrison, Alanna C. | Musk, Bill | North, Kari E. | Palmer, Lyle J. | Probst-Hensch, Nicole M. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Rotter, Jerome I. | Schulz, Holger | Smith, Lewis J. | Sood, Akshay | Starr, John M. | Strachan, David P. | Teumer, Alexander | Uitterlinden, André G. | Völzke, Henry | Voorman, Arend | Wain, Louise V. | Wells, Martin T. | Wilk, Jemma B. | Williams, O. Dale | Heckbert, Susan R. | Stricker, Bruno H. | London, Stephanie J. | Fornage, Myriam | Tobin, Martin D. | O′Connor, George T. | Hall, Ian P. | Cassano, Patricia A.
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e100776.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified numerous loci influencing cross-sectional lung function, but less is known about genes influencing longitudinal change in lung function.
We performed GWAS of the rate of change in forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1) in 14 longitudinal, population-based cohort studies comprising 27,249 adults of European ancestry using linear mixed effects model and combined cohort-specific results using fixed effect meta-analysis to identify novel genetic loci associated with longitudinal change in lung function. Gene expression analyses were subsequently performed for identified genetic loci. As a secondary aim, we estimated the mean rate of decline in FEV1 by smoking pattern, irrespective of genotypes, across these 14 studies using meta-analysis.
The overall meta-analysis produced suggestive evidence for association at the novel IL16/STARD5/TMC3 locus on chromosome 15 (P  =  5.71 × 10-7). In addition, meta-analysis using the five cohorts with ≥3 FEV1 measurements per participant identified the novel ME3 locus on chromosome 11 (P  =  2.18 × 10-8) at genome-wide significance. Neither locus was associated with FEV1 decline in two additional cohort studies. We confirmed gene expression of IL16, STARD5, and ME3 in multiple lung tissues. Publicly available microarray data confirmed differential expression of all three genes in lung samples from COPD patients compared with controls. Irrespective of genotypes, the combined estimate for FEV1 decline was 26.9, 29.2 and 35.7 mL/year in never, former, and persistent smokers, respectively.
In this large-scale GWAS, we identified two novel genetic loci in association with the rate of change in FEV1 that harbor candidate genes with biologically plausible functional links to lung function.
PMCID: PMC4077649  PMID: 24983941

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