The Alzheimer amyloid protein precursor (APP) is subject to proteolysis by ADAM10 and ADAM17, precluding the formation of Aβ. Recently, coding variations in ADAM10 resulting in altered function have been reported in familial Alzheimer disease (AD). We carried out a large-scale (n=576: Controls, 271; AD, 305) resequencing study of ADAM10 in sporadic AD. Our results do not support a significant role for ADAM10 mutations in AD. Our results also make it clear that the careful examination of ancestry required in any case-control comparison is especially true with rare variations, where even a very small number of variations might form the basis of scientific conclusions.
Mutation; rare variation; genetics; association
Variations in a locus at chromosome 10q26 are strongly associated with the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The most significantly associated haplotype includes a nonsynonymous SNP rs10490924 in the exon 1 of ARMS2 and rs11200638 in the promoter region of HTRA1. It is under debate which gene(s), ARMS2, HTRA1 or some other genes are functionally responsible for the genetic association. To verify whether the associated variants correlate with a higher HTRA1 expression level as previously reported, HTRA1 mRNA and protein were measured in a larger human retina-RPE-choroid samples (n = 82). Results show there is no significant change of HTRA1 mRNA level among genotypes at rs11200638, rs10490924 or an indel variant of ARMS2. Furthermore, two AMD-associated synonymous SNPs rs1049331 and rs2293870 in HTRA1 exon 1 do not change its protein level either. These results suggest that the AMD-associated variants in the chromosome 10q26 locus do not significantly affect the expression of HTRA1.
Alzheimer's disease is a common debilitating dementia with known heritability, for which 20 late onset susceptibility loci have been identified, but more remain to be discovered. This study sought to identify new susceptibility genes, using an alternative gene-wide analytical approach which tests for patterns of association within genes, in the powerful genome-wide association dataset of the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project Consortium, comprising over 7 m genotypes from 25,580 Alzheimer's cases and 48,466 controls.
In addition to earlier reported genes, we detected genome-wide significant loci on chromosomes 8 (TP53INP1, p = 1.4×10−6) and 14 (IGHV1-67 p = 7.9×10−8) which indexed novel susceptibility loci.
The additional genes identified in this study, have an array of functions previously implicated in Alzheimer's disease, including aspects of energy metabolism, protein degradation and the immune system and add further weight to these pathways as potential therapeutic targets in Alzheimer's disease.
Eleven susceptibility loci for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) were identified by previous studies; however, a large portion of the genetic risk for this disease remains unexplained. We conducted a large, two-stage meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in individuals of European ancestry. In stage 1, we used genotyped and imputed data (7,055,881 SNPs) to perform meta-analysis on 4 previously published GWAS data sets consisting of 17,008 Alzheimer’s disease cases and 37,154 controls. In stage 2,11,632 SNPs were genotyped and tested for association in an independent set of 8,572 Alzheimer’s disease cases and 11,312 controls. In addition to the APOE locus (encoding apolipoprotein E), 19 loci reached genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8) in the combined stage 1 and stage 2 analysis, of which 11 are newly associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the central nervous system (CNS) with a strong genetic component. Variation in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) on chromosome 6p21, specifically the HLA-DRB1*15 haplotype, is the strongest genetic factor for MS, yet it is estimated to account for only a portion of risk for the disease. Previous evidence has implicated the nitric oxide synthase gene (NOS2A) encoding inducible NOS (inos) on chromosome 17q11 as a potential MS susceptibility gene. To determine whether variation in the NOS2A gene contributes to MS risk, we investigated a total of 50 polymorphisms within or flanking the locus for evidence of association using a comprehensive analytical strategy. A total of 6,265 members from 1,858 well-characterized MS families were utilized. No evidence for over-transmission of any individual SNP allele or haplotype to the MS affected individuals was observed. Furthermore, different transmission rates were not observed in either DRB1*15 positive or DRB1*15 negative family subgroups, or when extreme clinical outcomes characterizing disease progression were examined. The very largest study of NOS2A variation in MS, to date, excludes even a modest role for this locus in susceptibility.
Using the ImmunoChip custom genotyping array, we analysed 14,498 multiple sclerosis subjects and 24,091 healthy controls for 161,311 autosomal variants and identified 135 potentially associated regions (p-value < 1.0 × 10-4). In a replication phase, we combined these data with previous genome-wide association study (GWAS) data from an independent 14,802 multiple sclerosis subjects and 26,703 healthy controls. In these 80,094 individuals of European ancestry we identified 48 new susceptibility variants (p-value < 5.0 × 10-8); three found after conditioning on previously identified variants. Thus, there are now 110 established multiple sclerosis risk variants in 103 discrete loci outside of the Major Histocompatibility Complex. With high resolution Bayesian fine-mapping, we identified five regions where one variant accounted for more than 50% of the posterior probability of association. This study enhances the catalogue of multiple sclerosis risk variants and illustrates the value of fine-mapping in the resolution of GWAS signals.
Recently, a hexanucleotide repeat expansion in the C9ORF72 gene has been identified to account for a significant portion of Caucasian families affected by frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Given the clinical overlap of FTD with Alzheimer disease (AD), we hypothesized that C9ORF72 expansions may contribute to AD. In Caucasians, we found C9ORF72 expansions in the pathogenic range of FTD/ALS (>30 repeats) at a rate of 0.76% in AD cases versus zero in controls (p=3.3E-03, 1,182 cases, 1,039 controls). In contrast, no large expansions were detected in individuals of African American ethnicity (291 cases, 620 controls). However, in the range of normal variation of C9ORF72 expansions (0–23 repeat copies), we detected significant differences in distribution and mean repeat counts between Caucasians and African Americans. Clinical and pathological reevaluation of identified C9ORF72 expansion carriers revealed nine clinical and/or autopsy confirmed AD and two FTD finial diagnoses. Thus, our results support the notion that large C9ORF72 expansions lead to a phenotypic spectrum of neurodegenerative disease including AD.
C9ORF72; repeat expansion; Alzheimer Disease; genetic association; repeat-primed PCR; spectrum of neurodegenerative phenotypes
Relatively little is known about the interaction between genes and environment in the complex etiology of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This study aimed to identify novel factors associated with AMD by analyzing gene-smoking interactions in a genome-wide association study of 1207 AMD cases and 686 controls of Caucasian background with genotype data on 668,238 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) after quality control. Participants’ history of smoking at least 100 cigarettes lifetime was determined by a self-administered questionnaire. SNP associations modeled the effect of the minor allele additively on AMD using logistic regression, with adjustment for age, sex, and ever/never smoking. Joint effects of SNPs and smoking were examined comparing a null model containing only age, sex, and smoking against an extended model including genotypic and interaction terms. Genome-wide significant main effects were detected at three known AMD loci: CFH (P=7.51×10−30), ARMS2 (P=1.94×10−23), and RDBP/CFB/C2 (P=4.37×10−10), while joint effects analysis revealed three genomic regions with P<10−5. Analyses stratified by smoking found genetic associations largely restricted to non-smokers, with one notable exception: the chromosome 18q22.1 intergenic SNP rs17073641 (between SERPINB8 and CDH7), more strongly associated in non-smokers (OR=0.57, P=2.73×10−5), with an inverse association among smokers (OR=1.42, P=0.00228), suggesting that smoking modifies the effect of some genetic polymorphisms on AMD risk.
Age-related macular degeneration; age-related maculopathy; genome wide association studies (GWAS); gene-environment interaction; genome wide gene-environment interaction studies; smoking; smoking-gene interactions
Macular degeneration is a common cause of blindness in the elderly. To identify rare coding variants associated with a large increase in risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), we sequenced 2,335 cases and 789 controls in 10 candidate loci (57 genes). To increase power, we augmented our control set with ancestry-matched exome sequenced controls. An analysis of coding variation in 2,268 AMD cases and 2,268 ancestry matched controls revealed two large-effect rare variants; previously described R1210C in the CFH gene (fcase = 0.51%, fcontrol = 0.02%, OR = 23.11), and newly identified K155Q in the C3 gene (fcase = 1.06%, fcontrol = 0.39%, OR = 2.68). The variants suggest decreased inhibition of C3 by Factor H, resulting in increased activation of the alternative complement pathway, as a key component of disease biology.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tau, tau phosphorylated at threonine 181 (ptau) and Aβ42 are established biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), and have been used as quantitative traits for genetic analyses. We performed the largest genome-wide association study for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tau/ptau levels published to date (n=1,269), identifying three novel genome-wide significant loci for CSF tau and ptau: rs9877502 (P=4.89×10−9 for tau) located at 3q28 between GEMC1 and OSTN, rs514716 (P=1.07×10−8 and P=3.22×10−9 for tau and ptau respectively), located at 9p24.2 within GLIS3 and rs6922617 (P = 3.58×10−8 for CSF ptau) at 6p21.1 within the TREM gene cluster, a region recently reported to harbor rare variants that increase AD risk. In independent datasets rs9877502 showed a strong association with risk for AD, tangle pathology and global cognitive decline (P=2.67×10−4, 0.039, 4.86×10−5 respectively) illustrating how this endophenotype-based approach can be used to identify new AD risk loci.
The human tau gene, which promotes assembly of neuronal microtubules, has been associated with several rare neurologic diseases that clinically include parkinsonian features. We recently observed linkage in idiopathic Parkinson disease (PD) to a region on chromosome 17q21 that contains the tau gene. These factors make tau a good candidate for investigation as a susceptibility gene for idiopathic PD, the most common form of the disease.
To investigate whether the tau gene is involved in idiopathic PD.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Among a sample of 1056 individuals from 235 families selected from 13 clinical centers in the United States and Australia and from a family ascertainment core center, we tested 5 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the tau gene for association with PD, using family-based tests of association. Both affected (n = 426) and unaffected (n = 579) family members were included; 51 individuals had unclear PD status. Analyses were conducted to test individual SNPs and SNP haplotypes within the tau gene.
Main Outcome Measure
Family-based tests of association, calculated using asymptotic distributions.
Analysis of association between the SNPs and PD yielded significant evidence of association for 3 of the 5 SNPs tested: SNP 3, P = .03; SNP 9i, P = .04; and SNP 11, P = .04. The 2 other SNPs did not show evidence of significant association (SNP 9ii, P = .11, and SNP 9iii, P = .87). Strong evidence of association was found with haplotype analysis, with a positive association with one haplotype (P = .009) and a negative association with another haplotype (P = .007). Substantial linkage disequilibrium (P<.001) was detected between 4 of the 5 SNPs (SNPs 3,9i, 9ii, and 11).
This integrated approach of genetic linkage and positional association analyses implicates tau as a susceptibility gene for idiopathic PD.
Recent genome wide association studies have identified CLU, CR1, ABCA7
BIN1, PICALM and MS4A6A/MS4A6E in addition to the long established APOE, as loci for Alzheimer’s disease. We have systematically examined each of these loci to assess whether common coding variability contributes to the risk of disease. We have also assessed the regional expression of all the genes in the brain and whether there is evidence of an eQTL explaining the risk. In agreement with other studies we find that coding variability may explain the ABCA7 association, but common coding variability does not explain any of the other loci. We were not able to show that any of the loci had eQTLs within the power of this study. Furthermore the regional expression of each of the loci did not match the pattern of brain regional distribution in Alzheimer pathology.
Although these results are mainly negative, they allow us to start defining more realistic alternative approaches to determine the role of all the genetic loci involved in Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease; genetic risk; GWAS
To assess the association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the gene region containing cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor 2B antisense noncoding RNA (CDKN2B-AS1) and glaucoma features among primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) patients.
Retrospective observational case series.
We studied associations between ten CDKN2B-AS1 SNPs and glaucoma features among 976 POAG cases from the Glaucoma Genes and Environment (GLAUGEN) study and 1971 cases from the National Eye Institute Glaucoma Human Genetics Collaboration (NEIGHBOR) consortium. For each patient, we chose the feature from the eye with the higher value. We created cohort-specific multivariable models for glaucoma features and then meta-analyzed the results.
For nine of the ten protective CDKN2B-AS1 SNPs with minor alleles associated with reduced disease risk (e.g., the G allele at rs2157719), POAG patients carrying these minor alleles had smaller cup-disc ratio (0.05 units smaller per G allele at diagnosis; 95% CI: −0.08, −0.03; p=6.23E-05) despite having higher intraocular pressure (IOP) (0.70 mm Hg higher per G allele at DNA collection; 95% CI: 0.40, 1.00; P=5.45E-06). For the one adverse rs3217992 SNP with minor allele A associated with increased disease risk, POAG patients with A alleles had larger cup-disc ratio (0.05 units larger per A allele at diagnosis; 95% CI: 0.02, 0.07; P=4.74E-04) despite having lower IOP (−0.57 mm Hg per A allele at DNA collection; 95% CI: −0.84, −0.29; P=6.55E-05).
Alleles of CDKN2B-AS1 SNPs, which influence risk of developing POAG, also modulate optic nerve degeneration among POAG patients, underscoring the role of CDKN2B-AS1 in POAG.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) comprise a range of neurodevelopmental conditions of varying severity, characterized by marked qualitative difficulties in social relatedness, communication, and behavior. Despite overwhelming evidence of high heritability, results from genetic studies to date show that ASD etiology is extremely heterogeneous and only a fraction of autism genes have been discovered.
To help unravel this genetic complexity, we performed whole exome sequencing on 100 ASD individuals from 40 families with multiple distantly related affected individuals. All families contained a minimum of one pair of ASD cousins. Each individual was captured with the Agilent SureSelect Human All Exon kit, sequenced on the Illumina Hiseq 2000, and the resulting data processed and annotated with Burrows-Wheeler Aligner (BWA), Genome Analysis Toolkit (GATK), and SeattleSeq. Genotyping information on each family was utilized in order to determine genomic regions that were identical by descent (IBD). Variants identified by exome sequencing which occurred in IBD regions and present in all affected individuals within each family were then evaluated to determine which may potentially be disease related. Nucleotide alterations that were novel and rare (minor allele frequency, MAF, less than 0.05) and predicted to be detrimental, either by altering amino acids or splicing patterns, were prioritized.
We identified numerous potentially damaging, ASD associated risk variants in genes previously unrelated to autism. A subset of these genes has been implicated in other neurobehavioral disorders including depression (SLIT3), epilepsy (CLCN2, PRICKLE1), intellectual disability (AP4M1), schizophrenia (WDR60), and Tourette syndrome (OFCC1). Additional alterations were found in previously reported autism candidate genes, including three genes with alterations in multiple families (CEP290, CSMD1, FAT1, and STXBP5). Compiling a list of ASD candidate genes from the literature, we determined that variants occurred in ASD candidate genes 1.65 times more frequently than in random genes captured by exome sequencing (P = 8.55 × 10-5).
By studying these unique pedigrees, we have identified novel DNA variations related to ASD, demonstrated that exome sequencing in extended families is a powerful tool for ASD candidate gene discovery, and provided further evidence of an underlying genetic component to a wide range of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric diseases.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD); Identical by descent (IBD); Single nucleotide variant (SNV); Whole exome sequencing
Despite the increasing speculation that oxidative stress and abnormal energy metabolism may play a role in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and the observation that patients with mitochondrial defects have symptoms consistent with ASD, there are no comprehensive published studies examining the role of mitochondrial variation in autism. Therefore, we have sought to comprehensively examine the role of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation with regard to ASD risk, employing a multi-phase approach.
In phase 1 of our experiment, we examined 132 mtDNA single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) genotyped as part of our genome-wide association studies of ASD. In phase 2 we genotyped the major European mitochondrial haplogroup-defining variants within an expanded set of autism probands and controls. Finally in phase 3, we resequenced the entire mtDNA in a subset of our Caucasian samples (~400 proband-father pairs). In each phase we tested whether mitochondrial variation showed evidence of association to ASD. Despite a thorough interrogation of mtDNA variation, we found no evidence to suggest a major role for mtDNA variation in ASD susceptibility. Accordingly, while there may be attractive biological hints suggesting the role of mitochondria in ASD our data indicate that mtDNA variation is not a major contributing factor to the development of ASD.
mitochondrial DNA; autism; autism spectrum disorders; association studies; genetic
Alzheimer disease (AD) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease affecting more than five million Americans. In this study, we have used updated genetic linkage data from chromosome 10 in combination with expression data from serial analysis of gene expression to choose a new set of thirteen candidate genes for genetic analysis in late onset Alzheimer disease (LOAD). Results in this study identify the KIAA1462 locus as a candidate locus for LOAD in APOE4 carriers. Two genes exist at this locus, KIAA1462, a gene associated with coronary artery disease, and “rokimi”, encoding an untranslated spliced RNA The genetic architecture at this locus suggests that the gene product important in this association is either “rokimi”, or a different isoform of KIAA1462 than the isoform that is important in cardiovascular disease. Expression data suggests that isoform f of KIAA1462 is a more attractive candidate for association with LOAD in APOE4 carriers than “rokimi” which had no detectable expression in brain.
Notch signaling plays pivotal roles in the pathogenesis of vascular disease. However, little is known about its role in atherosclerosis. We sought to investigate the potential involvement of the Notch signaling in atherosclerosis.
Expression of Notch pathway components in mouse and human aorta with or without atherosclerosis plaque was examined by immuno-histochemistry. Expression of Notch target genes in young versus aged human endothelial cells (EC) was examined by PCRArray and immunoblot. In vitro loss- and gain-of-function approaches were utilized to evaluate the role of Notch signaling in inducing EC senescence and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines by ProteinArray. Notch gene profile was studied in 1054 blood samples of patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). Genotyping was performed using the Genome-Wide Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) Array.
Notch pathway components were upregulated in luminal EC at atherosclerotic lesions from mouse and human aortas. In addition, the Notch pathway was activated in aged but not young human EC. Enforced Notch activation resulted in EC senescence and significantly upregulated expression of several molecules implicated in the inflammatory response (IL-6/IL-8/IL-1α/RANTES/ICAM-1). The upregulated IL-6 was partially responsible for mediating leukocyte transendothelial migration. Genetic association analysis detected, of 82 SNPs across 6 Notch pathway genes analyzed, 4 SNPs with nominal association with CAD burden.
Notch pathway is activated in luminal EC at atherosclerotic plaques and results in pro-inflammatory response and senescence of EC. Notch signaling may be linked to human CAD risk. These findings implicate a potential involvement of Notch signaling in atherosclerosis.
Notch; Endothelial cells (EC); Atherosclerosis; EC Senescence; Vascular inflammation
The methyl-CpG-binding domain (MBD) gene family was first linked to autism over a decade ago when Rett syndrome, which falls under the umbrella of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), was revealed to be predominantly caused by MECP2 mutations. Since that time, MECP2 alterations have been recognized in idiopathic ASD patients by us and others. Individuals with deletions across the MBD5 gene also present with ASDs, impaired speech, intellectual difficulties, repetitive behaviors, and epilepsy. These findings suggest that further investigations of the MBD gene family may reveal additional associations related to autism. We now describe the first study evaluating individuals with ASD for rare variants in four autosomal MBD family members, MBD5, MBD6, SETDB1, and SETDB2, and expand our initial screening in the MECP2 gene. Each gene was sequenced over all coding exons and evaluated for copy number variations in 287 patients with ASD and an equal number of ethnically matched control individuals. We identified 186 alterations through sequencing, approximately half of which were novel (96 variants, 51.6%). We identified seventeen ASD specific, nonsynonymous variants, four of which were concordant in multiplex families: MBD5 Tyr1269Cys, MBD6 Arg883Trp, MECP2 Thr240Ser, and SETDB1 Pro1067del. Furthermore, a complex duplication spanning the MECP2 gene was identified in two brothers who presented with developmental delay and intellectual disability. From our studies, we provide the first examples of autistic patients carrying potentially detrimental alterations in MBD6 and SETDB1, thereby demonstrating that the MBD gene family potentially plays a significant role in rare and private genetic causes of autism.
autism spectrum disorders (ASDs); copy number variation (CNV); methyl-CpG-binding domain (MBD); Rett syndrome; single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)
Alzheimer disease (AD) is highly prevalent in Wadi Ara, despite the low frequency of APOE ε4 in this genetically isolated Arab community in northern Israel. We hypothesized that the reduced genetic variability in combination with increased homozygosity would facilitate identification of genetic variants that contribute to the high rate of AD in this community. AD cases (N=124) and controls (N=142) from Wadi Ara were genotyped for a a genome-wide set of more than 300,000 single nucleotides polymorphisms (SNPs) which were used to calculate measures of population stratification and inbreeding, and to identify regions of autozygosity. Although a high degree of relatedness was evident in both cases and controls, controls were significantly more related and contained more autozygous regions than cases (P = 0.004). Eight autozygous regions on seven different chromosomes were more frequent in controls than cases, and 105 SNPs in these regions, primarily on chromosomes 6 and 9, were nominally associated with AD. Associations with SNPs in NOTCH4 and AGPAT1 (both on chromosome 6) were confirmed in a meta analysis of four genome-wide association study (GWAS) datasets. Analysis of the full Wadi Ara GWAS dataset revealed 99 SNP associations with AD at P ≤ 10−5, however none of these were confirmed in the replication GWAS datasets. The unique population structure of Wadi Ara enhanced efforts to identify genetic variants that might partially explain the high prevalence of AD in the region. Several of these variants show modest evidence for association in other Caucasian populations.
Alzheimer Disease; Genome-Wide Association Study; Population Groups; Meta-Analysis
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by memory and cognitive impairment and is the leading cause of dementia in the elderly. A number of genome wide association studies and subsequent replication studies have been published recently on late onset AD (LOAD). These studies identified several new susceptibility genes including phosphatidylinositol-binding clathrin assembly protein (PICALM) on chromosome 11. The aim of our study was to examine the entire coding sequence of PICALM to determine if the association could be explained by any previously undetected sequence variation. Therefore, we sequenced 48 cases and 48 controls homozygous for the risk allele in the signal SNP rs3851179. We did not find any new variants; however, rs592297, a known coding synonymous SNP that is part of an exonic splice enhancer region in exon 5, is in strong linkage disequilibrium with rs3851179 and should be examined for functional significance in Alzheimer pathophysiology.
Alzheimer; Neurodegenerative disease; PICALM; Sequencing; Exonic splicing
Pathway analysis based on Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) data has become popular as a secondary analysis strategy. Although many pathway analysis tools have been developed for case–control studies, there is no tool that can use all information from raw genotypes in general nuclear families. We developed Pathway-PDT, which uses the framework of Pedigree Disequilibrium Test (PDT) for general family data, to perform pathway analysis based on raw genotypes in family-based GWAS.
Simulation results showed that Pathway-PDT is more powerful than the p-value based method, ALIGATOR. Pathway-PDT also can be more powerful than the PLINK set-based test when analyzing general nuclear families with multiple siblings or missing parents. Additionally, Pathway-PDT has a flexible and convenient user interface, which allows users to modify their analysis parameters as well as to apply various types of gene and pathway definitions.
The Pathway-PDT method is implemented in C++ with POSIX threads and is computationally feasible for pathway analysis with large scale family GWAS datasets. The Windows binary along with Makefile and source codes for the Linux are available at https://sourceforge.net/projects/pathway-pdt/.
Pathway; GWAS; PDT; GSEA; Kolmogorov-Smirnov-like running sum statistic; Pedigree GWAS
To identify novel late-onset Alzheimer disease (LOAD) risk genes, we have analyzed Amish populations of Ohio and Indiana. We performed genome-wide SNP linkage and association studies on 798 individuals (109 with LOAD). We tested association using the Modified Quasi-Likelihood Score (MQLS) test and also performed two-point and multipoint linkage analyses. We found that LOAD was significantly associated with APOE (P=9.0×10-6) in all our ascertainment regions except for the Adams County, Indiana, community (P=0.55). Genome-wide, the most strongly associated SNP was rs12361953 (P=7.92×10-7). A very strong, genome-wide significant multipoint peak (recessive HLOD=6.14, dominant HLOD=6.05) was detected on 2p12. Three additional loci with multipoint HLOD scores >3 were detected on 3q26, 9q31, and 18p11. Converging linkage and association results, the most significantly associated SNP under the 2p12 peak was at rs2974151 (P=1.29×10-4). This SNP is located in CTNNA2, which encodes catenin alpha 2, a neuronal-specific catenin known to have function in the developing brain. These results identify CTNNA2 as a novel candidate LOAD gene, and implicate three other regions of the genome as novel LOAD loci. These results underscore the utility of using family-based linkage and association analysis in isolated populations to identify novel loci for traits with complex genetic architecture.
GWAS; Linkage; founder population; Amish; Alzheimer
Successful aging (SA) is a multi-dimensional phenotype involving preservation of cognitive ability, physical function, and social engagement throughout life. Multiple components of SA are heritable, supporting a genetic component. The Old Order Amish are genetically and socially isolated with homogeneous lifestyles, making them a suitable population for studying the genetics of SA. DNA and measures of SA were collected on 214 cognitively intact Amish individuals over age 80. Individuals were grouped into a 13-generation pedigree using the Anabaptist Genealogy Database. A linkage screen of 5,944 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was performed using 12 informative sub-pedigrees with an affected-only 2-point and multipoint linkage analysis. Eleven SNPs produced 2-point LOD scores >2, suggestive of linkage. Multipoint linkage analyses, allowing for heterogeneity, detected significant lod scores on chromosomes 6 (HLOD = 4.50), 7 (LOD* = 3.11), and 14 (HLOD = 4.17), suggesting multiple new loci underlying SA.
Amish; longevity; genetic epidemiology; family-based study; population isolate
Rare mutations in the gene encoding for tau (MAPT, microtubule-associated protein tau) cause frontotemporal dementia-spectrum (FTD-s) disorders, including FTD, progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and corticobasal syndrome, and a common extended haplotype spanning across the MAPT locus is associated with increased risk of PSP and Parkinson's disease. We identified a rare tau variant (p.A152T) in a patient with a clinical diagnosis of PSP and assessed its frequency in multiple independent series of patients with neurodegenerative conditions and controls, in a total of 15 369 subjects.
Tau p.A152T significantly increases the risk for both FTD-s (n = 2139, OR = 3.0, CI: 1.6–5.6, P = 0.0005) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) (n = 3345, OR = 2.3, CI: 1.3–4.2, P = 0.004) compared with 9047 controls. Functionally, p.A152T (i) decreases the binding of tau to microtubules and therefore promotes microtubule assembly less efficiently; and (ii) reduces the tendency to form abnormal fibers. However, there is a pronounced increase in the formation of tau oligomers. Importantly, these findings suggest that other regions of the tau protein may be crucial in regulating normal function, as the p.A152 residue is distal to the domains considered responsible for microtubule interactions or aggregation. These data provide both the first genetic evidence and functional studies supporting the role of MAPT p.A152T as a rare risk factor for both FTD-s and AD and the concept that rare variants can increase the risk for relatively common, complex neurodegenerative diseases, but since no clear significance threshold for rare genetic variation has been established, some caution is warranted until the findings are further replicated.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are highly heritable, yet relatively few associated genetic loci have been replicated. Copy number variations (CNVs) have been implicated in autism; however, the majority of loci contribute to <1% of the disease population. Therefore, independent studies are important to refine associated CNV regions and discover novel susceptibility genes. In this study, a genome-wide SNP array was utilized for CNV detection by two distinct algorithms in a European ancestry case–control data set. We identify a significantly higher burden in the number and size of deletions, and disrupting more genes in ASD cases. Moreover, 18 deletions larger than 1 Mb were detected exclusively in cases, implicating novel regions at 2q22.1, 3p26.3, 4q12 and 14q23. Case-specific CNVs provided further evidence for pathways previously implicated in ASDs, revealing new candidate genes within the GABAergic signaling and neural development pathways. These include DBI, an allosteric binder of GABA receptors, GABARAPL1, the GABA receptor-associated protein, and SLC6A11, a postsynaptic GABA transporter. We also identified CNVs in COBL, deletions of which cause defects in neuronal cytoskeleton morphogenesis in model vertebrates, and DNER, a neuron-specific Notch ligand required for cerebellar development. Moreover, we found evidence of genetic overlap between ASDs and other neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric diseases. These genes include glutamate receptors (GRID1, GRIK2 and GRIK4), synaptic regulators (NRXN3, SLC6A8 and SYN3), transcription factor (ZNF804A) and RNA-binding protein FMR1. Taken together, these CNVs may be a few of the missing pieces of ASD heritability and lead to discovering novel etiological mechanisms.