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1.  Integration of genome-wide association studies with biological knowledge identifies six novel genes related to kidney function 
Chasman, Daniel I. | Fuchsberger, Christian | Pattaro, Cristian | Teumer, Alexander | Böger, Carsten A. | Endlich, Karlhans | Olden, Matthias | Chen, Ming-Huei | Tin, Adrienne | Taliun, Daniel | Li, Man | Gao, Xiaoyi | Gorski, Mathias | Yang, Qiong | Hundertmark, Claudia | Foster, Meredith C. | O'Seaghdha, Conall M. | Glazer, Nicole | Isaacs, Aaron | Liu, Ching-Ti | Smith, Albert V. | O'Connell, Jeffrey R. | Struchalin, Maksim | Tanaka, Toshiko | Li, Guo | Johnson, Andrew D. | Gierman, Hinco J. | Feitosa, Mary F. | Hwang, Shih-Jen | Atkinson, Elizabeth J. | Lohman, Kurt | Cornelis, Marilyn C. | Johansson, Åsa | Tönjes, Anke | Dehghan, Abbas | Lambert, Jean-Charles | Holliday, Elizabeth G. | Sorice, Rossella | Kutalik, Zoltan | Lehtimäki, Terho | Esko, Tõnu | Deshmukh, Harshal | Ulivi, Sheila | Chu, Audrey Y. | Murgia, Federico | Trompet, Stella | Imboden, Medea | Coassin, Stefan | Pistis, Giorgio | Harris, Tamara B. | Launer, Lenore J. | Aspelund, Thor | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Mitchell, Braxton D. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Schmidt, Helena | Cavalieri, Margherita | Rao, Madhumathi | Hu, Frank | Demirkan, Ayse | Oostra, Ben A. | de Andrade, Mariza | Turner, Stephen T. | Ding, Jingzhong | Andrews, Jeanette S. | Freedman, Barry I. | Giulianini, Franco | Koenig, Wolfgang | Illig, Thomas | Meisinger, Christa | Gieger, Christian | Zgaga, Lina | Zemunik, Tatijana | Boban, Mladen | Minelli, Cosetta | Wheeler, Heather E. | Igl, Wilmar | Zaboli, Ghazal | Wild, Sarah H. | Wright, Alan F. | Campbell, Harry | Ellinghaus, David | Nöthlings, Ute | Jacobs, Gunnar | Biffar, Reiner | Ernst, Florian | Homuth, Georg | Kroemer, Heyo K. | Nauck, Matthias | Stracke, Sylvia | Völker, Uwe | Völzke, Henry | Kovacs, Peter | Stumvoll, Michael | Mägi, Reedik | Hofman, Albert | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Aulchenko, Yurii S. | Polasek, Ozren | Hastie, Nick | Vitart, Veronique | Helmer, Catherine | Wang, Jie Jin | Stengel, Bénédicte | Ruggiero, Daniela | Bergmann, Sven | Kähönen, Mika | Viikari, Jorma | Nikopensius, Tiit | Province, Michael | Ketkar, Shamika | Colhoun, Helen | Doney, Alex | Robino, Antonietta | Krämer, Bernhard K. | Portas, Laura | Ford, Ian | Buckley, Brendan M. | Adam, Martin | Thun, Gian-Andri | Paulweber, Bernhard | Haun, Margot | Sala, Cinzia | Mitchell, Paul | Ciullo, Marina | Kim, Stuart K. | Vollenweider, Peter | Raitakari, Olli | Metspalu, Andres | Palmer, Colin | Gasparini, Paolo | Pirastu, Mario | Jukema, J. Wouter | Probst-Hensch, Nicole M. | Kronenberg, Florian | Toniolo, Daniela | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Coresh, Josef | Schmidt, Reinhold | Ferrucci, Luigi | Siscovick, David S. | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Kardia, Sharon L.R. | Liu, Yongmei | Curhan, Gary C. | Rudan, Igor | Gyllensten, Ulf | Wilson, James F. | Franke, Andre | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Rettig, Rainer | Prokopenko, Inga | Witteman, Jacqueline | Hayward, Caroline | Ridker, Paul M | Parsa, Afshin | Bochud, Murielle | Heid, Iris M. | Kao, W.H. Linda | Fox, Caroline S. | Köttgen, Anna
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;21(24):5329-5343.
In conducting genome-wide association studies (GWAS), analytical approaches leveraging biological information may further understanding of the pathophysiology of clinical traits. To discover novel associations with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a measure of kidney function, we developed a strategy for integrating prior biological knowledge into the existing GWAS data for eGFR from the CKDGen Consortium. Our strategy focuses on single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) in genes that are connected by functional evidence, determined by literature mining and gene ontology (GO) hierarchies, to genes near previously validated eGFR associations. It then requires association thresholds consistent with multiple testing, and finally evaluates novel candidates by independent replication. Among the samples of European ancestry, we identified a genome-wide significant SNP in FBXL20 (P = 5.6 × 10−9) in meta-analysis of all available data, and additional SNPs at the INHBC, LRP2, PLEKHA1, SLC3A2 and SLC7A6 genes meeting multiple-testing corrected significance for replication and overall P-values of 4.5 × 10−4–2.2 × 10−7. Neither the novel PLEKHA1 nor FBXL20 associations, both further supported by association with eGFR among African Americans and with transcript abundance, would have been implicated by eGFR candidate gene approaches. LRP2, encoding the megalin receptor, was identified through connection with the previously known eGFR gene DAB2 and extends understanding of the megalin system in kidney function. These findings highlight integration of existing genome-wide association data with independent biological knowledge to uncover novel candidate eGFR associations, including candidates lacking known connections to kidney-specific pathways. The strategy may also be applicable to other clinical phenotypes, although more testing will be needed to assess its potential for discovery in general.
doi:10.1093/hmg/dds369
PMCID: PMC3607468  PMID: 22962313
2.  Are High-Lethality Suicide Attempters With Bipolar Disorder a Distinct Phenotype? 
Because Bipolar Disorder (BD) individuals making highly lethal suicide attempts have greater injury burden and risk for suicide, early identification is critical. BD patients were classified as high- or low-lethality attempters. High-lethality attempts required inpatient medical treatment. Mixed effects logistic regression models and permutation analyses examined correlations between lethality, number, and order of attempts. High-lethality attempters reported greater suicidal intent and more previous attempts. Multiple attempters showed no pattern of incremental lethality increase with subsequent attempts, but individuals with early high-lethality attempts more often made high-lethality attempts later. A subset of high-lethality attempters make only high-lethality attempts. However, presence of previous low-lethality attempts does not indicate that risk for more lethal, possibly successful, attempts is reduced.
doi:10.1080/13811110903044385
PMCID: PMC3767989  PMID: 19590998
attempt; bipolar disorder; high-lethality; suicide
3.  Genome-wide association study for serum urate concentrations and gout among African Americans identifies genomic risk loci and a novel URAT1 loss-of-function allele 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;20(20):4056-4068.
Serum urate concentrations are highly heritable and elevated serum urate is a key risk factor for gout. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of serum urate in African American (AA) populations are lacking. We conducted a meta-analysis of GWAS of serum urate levels and gout among 5820 AA and a large candidate gene study among 6890 AA and 21 708 participants of European ancestry (EA) within the Candidate Gene Association Resource Consortium. Findings were tested for replication among 1996 independent AA individuals, and evaluated for their association among 28 283 EA participants of the CHARGE Consortium. Functional studies were conducted using 14C-urate transport assays in mammalian Chinese hamster ovary cells. In the discovery GWAS of serum urate, three loci achieved genome-wide significance (P< 5.0 × 10−8): a novel locus near SGK1/SLC2A12 on chromosome 6 (rs9321453, P= 1.0 × 10−9), and two loci previously identified in EA participants, SLC2A9 (P= 3.8 × 10−32) and SLC22A12 (P= 2.1 × 10−10). A novel rare non-synonymous variant of large effect size in SLC22A12, rs12800450 (minor allele frequency 0.01, G65W), was identified and replicated (beta −1.19 mg/dl, P= 2.7 × 10−16). 14C-urate transport assays showed reduced urate transport for the G65W URAT1 mutant. Finally, in analyses of 11 loci previously associated with serum urate in EA individuals, 10 of 11 lead single-nucleotide polymorphisms showed direction-consistent association with urate among AA. In summary, we identified and replicated one novel locus in association with serum urate levels and experimentally characterize the novel G65W variant in URAT1 as a functional allele. Our data support the importance of multi-ethnic GWAS in the identification of novel risk loci as well as functional variants.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddr307
PMCID: PMC3177647  PMID: 21768215
4.  Association of Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate and Urinary Uromodulin Concentrations with Rare Variants Identified by UMOD Gene Region Sequencing 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e38311.
Background
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified common variants in the UMOD region associated with kidney function and disease in the general population. To identify novel rare variants as well as common variants that may account for this GWAS signal, the exons and 4 kb upstream region of UMOD were sequenced.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Individuals (n = 485) were selected based on presence of the GWAS risk haplotype and chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the ARIC Study and on the extremes of of the UMOD gene product, uromodulin, in urine (Tamm Horsfall protein, THP) in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS). Targeted sequencing was conducted using capillary based Sanger sequencing (3730 DNA Analyzer). Variants were tested for association with THP concentrations and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), and identified non-synonymous coding variants were genotyped in up to 22,546 follow-up samples. Twenty-four and 63 variants were identified in the 285 ARIC and 200 FHS participants, respectively. In both studies combined, there were 33 common and 54 rare (MAF<0.05) variants. Five non-synonymous rare variants were identified in FHS; borderline enrichment of rare variants was found in the extremes of THP (SKAT p-value = 0.08). Only V458L was associated with THP in the FHS general-population validation sample (p = 9*10−3, n = 2,522), but did not show direction-consistent and significant association with eGFR in both the ARIC (n = 14,635) and FHS (n = 7,520) validation samples. Pooling all non-synonymous rare variants except V458L together showed non-significant associations with THP and eGFR in the FHS validation sample. Functional studies of V458L revealed no alternations in protein trafficking.
Conclusions/Significance
Multiple novel rare variants in the UMOD region were identified, but none were consistently associated with eGFR in two independent study samples. Only V458L had modest association with THP levels in the general population and thus could not account for the observed GWAS signal.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038311
PMCID: PMC3365030  PMID: 22693617
5.  Genome-Wide Association and Functional Follow-Up Reveals New Loci for Kidney Function 
Pattaro, Cristian | Köttgen, Anna | Teumer, Alexander | Garnaas, Maija | Böger, Carsten A. | Fuchsberger, Christian | Olden, Matthias | Chen, Ming-Huei | Tin, Adrienne | Taliun, Daniel | Li, Man | Gao, Xiaoyi | Gorski, Mathias | Yang, Qiong | Hundertmark, Claudia | Foster, Meredith C. | O'Seaghdha, Conall M. | Glazer, Nicole | Isaacs, Aaron | Liu, Ching-Ti | Smith, Albert V. | O'Connell, Jeffrey R. | Struchalin, Maksim | Tanaka, Toshiko | Li, Guo | Johnson, Andrew D. | Gierman, Hinco J. | Feitosa, Mary | Hwang, Shih-Jen | Atkinson, Elizabeth J. | Lohman, Kurt | Cornelis, Marilyn C. | Johansson, Åsa | Tönjes, Anke | Dehghan, Abbas | Chouraki, Vincent | Holliday, Elizabeth G. | Sorice, Rossella | Kutalik, Zoltan | Lehtimäki, Terho | Esko, Tõnu | Deshmukh, Harshal | Ulivi, Sheila | Chu, Audrey Y. | Murgia, Federico | Trompet, Stella | Imboden, Medea | Kollerits, Barbara | Pistis, Giorgio | Harris, Tamara B. | Launer, Lenore J. | Aspelund, Thor | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Mitchell, Braxton D. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Schmidt, Helena | Cavalieri, Margherita | Rao, Madhumathi | Hu, Frank B. | Demirkan, Ayse | Oostra, Ben A. | de Andrade, Mariza | Turner, Stephen T. | Ding, Jingzhong | Andrews, Jeanette S. | Freedman, Barry I. | Koenig, Wolfgang | Illig, Thomas | Döring, Angela | Wichmann, H.-Erich | Kolcic, Ivana | Zemunik, Tatijana | Boban, Mladen | Minelli, Cosetta | Wheeler, Heather E. | Igl, Wilmar | Zaboli, Ghazal | Wild, Sarah H. | Wright, Alan F. | Campbell, Harry | Ellinghaus, David | Nöthlings, Ute | Jacobs, Gunnar | Biffar, Reiner | Endlich, Karlhans | Ernst, Florian | Homuth, Georg | Kroemer, Heyo K. | Nauck, Matthias | Stracke, Sylvia | Völker, Uwe | Völzke, Henry | Kovacs, Peter | Stumvoll, Michael | Mägi, Reedik | Hofman, Albert | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Aulchenko, Yurii S. | Polasek, Ozren | Hastie, Nick | Vitart, Veronique | Helmer, Catherine | Wang, Jie Jin | Ruggiero, Daniela | Bergmann, Sven | Kähönen, Mika | Viikari, Jorma | Nikopensius, Tiit | Province, Michael | Ketkar, Shamika | Colhoun, Helen | Doney, Alex | Robino, Antonietta | Giulianini, Franco | Krämer, Bernhard K. | Portas, Laura | Ford, Ian | Buckley, Brendan M. | Adam, Martin | Thun, Gian-Andri | Paulweber, Bernhard | Haun, Margot | Sala, Cinzia | Metzger, Marie | Mitchell, Paul | Ciullo, Marina | Kim, Stuart K. | Vollenweider, Peter | Raitakari, Olli | Metspalu, Andres | Palmer, Colin | Gasparini, Paolo | Pirastu, Mario | Jukema, J. Wouter | Probst-Hensch, Nicole M. | Kronenberg, Florian | Toniolo, Daniela | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Coresh, Josef | Schmidt, Reinhold | Ferrucci, Luigi | Siscovick, David S. | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Borecki, Ingrid | Kardia, Sharon L. R. | Liu, Yongmei | Curhan, Gary C. | Rudan, Igor | Gyllensten, Ulf | Wilson, James F. | Franke, Andre | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Rettig, Rainer | Prokopenko, Inga | Witteman, Jacqueline C. M. | Hayward, Caroline | Ridker, Paul | Parsa, Afshin | Bochud, Murielle | Heid, Iris M. | Goessling, Wolfram | Chasman, Daniel I. | Kao, W. H. Linda | Fox, Caroline S. | Gibson, Greg
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(3):e1002584.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an important public health problem with a genetic component. We performed genome-wide association studies in up to 130,600 European ancestry participants overall, and stratified for key CKD risk factors. We uncovered 6 new loci in association with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), the primary clinical measure of CKD, in or near MPPED2, DDX1, SLC47A1, CDK12, CASP9, and INO80. Morpholino knockdown of mpped2 and casp9 in zebrafish embryos revealed podocyte and tubular abnormalities with altered dextran clearance, suggesting a role for these genes in renal function. By providing new insights into genes that regulate renal function, these results could further our understanding of the pathogenesis of CKD.
Author Summary
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an important public health problem with a hereditary component. We performed a new genome-wide association study in up to 130,600 European ancestry individuals to identify genes that may influence kidney function, specifically genes that may influence kidney function differently depending on sex, age, hypertension, and diabetes status of individuals. We uncovered 6 new loci associated with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), the primary measure of renal function, in or near MPPED2, DDX1, SLC47A1, CDK12, CASP9, and INO80. CDK12 effect was stronger in younger and absent in older individuals. MPPED2, DDX1, SLC47A1, and CDK12 loci were associated with eGFR in African ancestry samples as well, highlighting the cross-ethnicity validity of our findings. Using the zebrafish model, we performed morpholino knockdown of mpped2 and casp9 in zebrafish embryos and revealed podocyte and tubular abnormalities with altered dextran clearance, suggesting a role for these genes in renal function. These results further our understanding of the pathogenesis of CKD and provide insights into potential novel mechanisms of disease.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002584
PMCID: PMC3315455  PMID: 22479191
6.  Genetic Association for Renal Traits among Participants of African Ancestry Reveals New Loci for Renal Function 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(9):e1002264.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an increasing global public health concern, particularly among populations of African ancestry. We performed an interrogation of known renal loci, genome-wide association (GWA), and IBC candidate-gene SNP association analyses in African Americans from the CARe Renal Consortium. In up to 8,110 participants, we performed meta-analyses of GWA and IBC array data for estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), CKD (eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73 m2), urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR), and microalbuminuria (UACR >30 mg/g) and interrogated the 250 kb flanking region around 24 SNPs previously identified in European Ancestry renal GWAS analyses. Findings were replicated in up to 4,358 African Americans. To assess function, individually identified genes were knocked down in zebrafish embryos by morpholino antisense oligonucleotides. Expression of kidney-specific genes was assessed by in situ hybridization, and glomerular filtration was evaluated by dextran clearance. Overall, 23 of 24 previously identified SNPs had direction-consistent associations with eGFR in African Americans, 2 of which achieved nominal significance (UMOD, PIP5K1B). Interrogation of the flanking regions uncovered 24 new index SNPs in African Americans, 12 of which were replicated (UMOD, ANXA9, GCKR, TFDP2, DAB2, VEGFA, ATXN2, GATM, SLC22A2, TMEM60, SLC6A13, and BCAS3). In addition, we identified 3 suggestive loci at DOK6 (p-value = 5.3×10−7) and FNDC1 (p-value = 3.0×10−7) for UACR, and KCNQ1 with eGFR (p = 3.6×10−6). Morpholino knockdown of kcnq1 in the zebrafish resulted in abnormal kidney development and filtration capacity. We identified several SNPs in association with eGFR in African Ancestry individuals, as well as 3 suggestive loci for UACR and eGFR. Functional genetic studies support a role for kcnq1 in glomerular development in zebrafish.
Author Summary
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an increasing global public health problem and disproportionately affects populations of African ancestry. Many studies have shown that genetic variants are associated with the development of CKD; however, similar studies are lacking in African ancestry populations. The CARe consortium consists of more than 8,000 individuals of African ancestry; genome-wide association analysis for renal-related phenotypes was conducted. In cross-ethnicity analyses, we found that 23 of 24 previously identified SNPs in European ancestry populations have the same effect direction in our samples of African ancestry. We also identified 3 suggestive genetic variants associated with measurement of kidney function. We then tested these genes in zebrafish knockdown models and demonstrated that kcnq1 is involved in kidney development in zebrafish. These results highlight the similarity of genetic variants across ethnicities and show that cross-species modeling in zebrafish is feasible for genes associated with chronic human disease.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002264
PMCID: PMC3169523  PMID: 21931561
7.  Higher Serotonin 1A Binding in a Second Major Depression Cohort: Modeling and Reference Region Considerations 
Biological psychiatry  2010;68(2):170-178.
Background
Serotonin 1A receptors (5-HT1A) are implicated in major depressive disorder (MDD). We previously reported higher 5-HT1A binding potential (BPF=Bavail/KD) in antidepressant naïve MDD subjects compared to controls while other studies report lower BPND(BPND=fNDBavail/KD). Discrepancies can be related to differences in study population or methodology. We sought to replicate our findings in a novel cohort and determine whether choice of reference region and outcome measure could explain discrepancies.
Methods
Nine new controls and 22 new not recently medicated (4 years, NRM) MDD subjects underwent positron emission tomography with [11C]WAY100635. BPF and BPND were determined using a metabolite and free fraction corrected arterial input function. BPND was also determined using cerebellar gray matter (CGM) and cerebellar white matter (CWM) reference regions as input functions.
Results
BPF is higher in the new NRM cohort (p=0.037) compared to new controls, which is comparable to the effect in the previous cohort (p=0.04). We combined the cohorts to examine the effects of the reference region and outcome measure. In the combined cohort, BPF is higher in the NRM compared to controls (p=0.0001). Neither BPND using CWM (p=0.86) nor VT (p=0.374) differs between groups. When CGM is used, the NRM group has lower 5HT1A BPND compared with controls (p=0.03). CGM VT is higher in NRM compared to controls (p=0.007).
Conclusions
Choice of reference region and outcome measure can produce different 5-HT1A findings in MDD. Higher 5-HT1A BPF in MDD was found with the method with fewest assumptions about nonspecific binding and a reference region without receptors.
doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.03.023
PMCID: PMC2900398  PMID: 20497898
Unipolar; genotype; polymorphism; medication; antidepressants; modeling
8.  Methods for Assessing Familial Aggregation: Family History Measures and Confounding in the Standard Cohort, Reconstructed Cohort and Case-Control Designs 
Human Heredity  2009;68(3):201-208.
Objectives
To test whether case-control-based familial aggregation studies produce estimates of risk to relatives that are inherently biased or confounded by age and family size, and to compare case-control-derived estimates with those from the reconstructed cohort method. In addition, we test if the definition of family history affects the accuracy of results obtained from either design. We use simulated data, which allows us to know the true data origin.
Methods
We simulated populations of three generation families. Both a dominant genetic disease and a non-genetic disease were present in the population. We compared the effect estimates from different measures of family history with those derived from the actual genetic cause of disease.
Results
Effect estimates from family history measures that used multiple family members were more accurate than those derived from measures based on a single relative. Neither family size nor age of family members defining family history were confounders in the case-control design.
Conclusion
The case-control and reconstructed cohort designs are equally valid in assessing familial aggregation of disease.
doi:10.1159/000224640
PMCID: PMC2869073  PMID: 19521102
Epidemiology; Family history; Computer simulation; Sensitivity; Specificity; Confounding
9.  Familial Transmission of Suicidal Behavior: Factors Mediating the Relationship Between Childhood Abuse and Offspring Suicide Attempts 
Background
Self-reported childhood sexual abuse is associated with major depression and with suicidal behavior. The current study investigates the relationship between reported childhood abuse and the familial transmission of suicidal behavior and other related risk factors.
Method
507 offspring of 271 parent probands with DSM-IV major depressive disorder were compared according to the reported childhood abuse history on demographic, diagnostic, and clinical variables related to risk for suicidal behavior. Both self-report and clinical interview measures assessed history of childhood physical and sexual abuse. The study was conducted from May 1997 to February 2004.
Results
Reported childhood sexual abuse, but not physical abuse, in the proband correlated with suicide attempts, posttraumatic stress disorder, earlier onset of major depressive disorder, higher levels of impulsivity, and greater likelihood of childhood sexual abuse in the offspring and was rarely perpetrated by the affected parent. A reported history of childhood physical abuse was related to more lifetime aggression in the offspring.
Conclusions
Reported childhood sexual abuse is a risk factor for suicidal behavior in parent and offspring. Transmission of suicide risk across generations is related to the familial transmission of sexual abuse and impulsivity. Sexual abuse is not directly transmitted by the victim to the next generation and may be related to family dynamics related to sexual abuse.
PMCID: PMC2754138  PMID: 18373384

Results 1-9 (9)