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1.  Common Variation in Fatty Acid Metabolic Genes and Risk of Incident Sudden Cardiac Arrest 
There is limited information on genetic factors associated with sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
To assess the association of common variation in genes in fatty acid pathways with SCA risk.
We selected 85 candidate genes and 1155 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) tagging common variation in each gene. We investigated the SNP associations with SCA in a population-based case-control study. Cases (n=2160) were from a repository of SCA in the greater Seattle area. Controls (n=2615), frequency-matched on age and sex, were from the same area. We used linear logistic regression to examine SNP associations with SCA. We performed p-min permutation tests to account for multiple comparisons within each gene. The SNP associations with corrected p-value < 0.05 were then examined in a meta-analysis of these SNP associations in nine replication studies totaling 2129 SCA cases and 23833 non-cases.
Eight SNPs in or near 8 genes were associated with SCA risk in the discovery study, one of which was nominally significant in the replication phase (rs7737692, minor allele frequency 36%, near the LPCAT1 gene). For each copy of the minor allele, rs7737692 was associated with 13% lower SCA risk (−21% to −5%) in the discovery phase and 9% lower risk (95% CI −16% to - 1%) in the replication phase.
While none of the associations reached significance with Bonferroni correction, a common genetic variant near LPCAT1, a gene involved in the remodeling of phospholipids, was nominally associated with incident SCA risk. Further study is needed to validate this observation.
PMCID: PMC3966996  PMID: 24418166
death; sudden; genetic epidemiology
2.  Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies Novel Loci Associated With Concentrations of Four Plasma Phospholipid Fatty Acids in the De Novo Lipogenesis Pathway: Results from the CHARGE Consortium 
Palmitic acid(16:0), stearic acid(18:0), palmitoleic acid(16:1n-7), and oleic acid(18:1n-9) are major saturated and mono-unsaturated fatty acids that affect cellular signaling and metabolic pathways. They are synthesized via de novo lipogenesis (DNL) and are the main saturated and mono-unsaturated fatty acids in the diet. Levels of these fatty acids have been linked to diseases including type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.
Methods and Results
Genome-wide association studies were conducted in 5 population-based cohorts comprising 8,961 participants of European ancestry to investigate the association of common genetic variation with plasma levels of these four fatty acids. We identified polymorphisms in 7 novel loci associated with circulating levels of one or more of these fatty acids. ALG14 (asparagine-linked glycosylation 14 homolog) polymorphisms were associated with higher 16:0(P=2.7×10-11) and lower 18:0(P=2.2×10-18). FADS1 and FADS2 (desaturases) polymorphisms were associated with higher 16:1n-7(P=6.6×10-13) and 18:1n-9(P=2.2×10-32), and lower 18:0(P =1.3×10-20). LPGAT1 (lysophosphatidylglycerol acyltransferase) polymorphisms were associated with lower 18:0(P=2.8×10-9). GCKR(glucokinase regulator, P =9.8×10-10) and HIF1AN(factor inhibiting hypoxia-inducible factor-1, P=5.7×10-9) polymorphisms were associated with higher 16:1n-7, whereas PKD2L1(polycystic kidney disease 2-like 1, P=5.7×10-15) and a locus on chromosome 2(not near known genes) were associated with lower 16:1n-7(P=4.1×10-8).
Our findings provide novel evidence that common variations in genes with diverse functions, including protein-glycosylation, polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolism, phospholipid modeling, and glucose- and oxygen-sensing pathways, are associated with circulating levels of four fatty acids in the DNL pathway. These results expand our knowledge of genetic factors relevant to DNL and fatty acid biology.
PMCID: PMC3891054  PMID: 23362303
epidemiology; fatty acids; genome-wide association study
3.  Molecular genetics of addiction and related heritable phenotypes: genome wide association approaches identify “connectivity constellation” and drug target genes with pleiotropic effects 
Genome wide association (GWA) can elucidate molecular genetic bases for human individual differences in “complex” phenotypes that include vulnerability to addiction. Here, we review: a) evidence that supports polygenic models with (at least) modest heterogeneity for the genetic architectures of addiction and several related phenotypes; b) technical and ethical aspects of importance for understanding genome wide association data: genotyping in individual samples vs DNA pools, analytic approaches, power estimation and ethical issues in genotyping individuals with illegal behaviors; c) the samples and the data that shape our current understanding of the molecular genetics of individual differences in vulnerability to substance dependence and related phenotypes; d) overlaps between GWA datasets for dependence on different substances; e) overlaps between GWA data for addictions vs other heritable, brain-based phenotypes that include: i) bipolar disorder, ii) cognitive ability, iii) frontal lobe brain volume, iv) ability to successfully quit smoking, v) neuroticism and vi) Alzheimer’s disease. These convergent results identify potential targets for drugs that might modify addictions and play roles in these other phenotypes. They add to evidence that individual differences in the quality and quantity of brain connections make pleiotropic contributions to individual differences in vulnerability to addictions and to related brain disorders and phenotypes. A “connectivity constellation” of brain phenotypes and disorders appears to receive substantial pathogenic contributions from individual differences in a constellation of genes whose variants provide individual differences in the specification of brain connectivities during development and in adulthood. Heritable brain differences that underlie addiction vulnerability thus lie squarely in the midst of the repertoire of heritable brain differences that underlie vulnerability to other common brain disorders and phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC3922196  PMID: 18991966
pleiotropic; cell adhesion; monte carlo
4.  Pooled association genome scanning for alcohol dependence using 104,268 SNPs: Validation and use to identify alcoholism vulnerability loci in unrelated individuals from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism 
Association genome scanning can identify markers for the allelic variants that contribute to vulnerability to complex disorders, including alcohol dependence. To improve the power and feasibility of this approach, we report validation of “100k” microarray-based allelic frequency assessments in pooled DNA samples. We then use this approach with unrelated alcohol dependent vs control individuals sampled from pedigrees collected by the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA). Allele frequency differences between alcohol-dependent and control individuals are assessed in quadruplicate at 104,268 autosomal SNPs in pooled samples. One hundred eighty eight SNPs provide 1) the largest allele frequency differences between dependent vs control individuals, 2) t values ≥ 3 for these differences and 3) clustering, so that 51 relatively small chromosomal regions contain at least three SNPs that satisfy criteria 1 and 2 above (Monte Carlo p=0.00034). These positive SNP clusters nominate interesting genes whose products are implicated in cellular signaling, gene regulation, development, “cell adhesion” and Mendelian disorders. The results converge with linkage and association results for alcohol and other addictive phenotypes. The data support polygenic contributions to vulnerability to alcohol dependence These SNPs provide new tools to aid the understanding, prevention and treatment of alcohol abuse and dependence.
PMCID: PMC3922200  PMID: 16894614
5.  Common Variation in Fatty Acid Genes and Resuscitation from Sudden Cardiac Arrest 
Fatty acids provide energy and structural substrates for the heart and brain and may influence resuscitation from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). We investigated whether genetic variation in fatty acid metabolism pathways was associated with SCA survival.
Methods and Results
Subjects (mean age 67, 80% male, Caucasian) were out-of-hospital SCA patients found in ventricular fibrillation in King County, WA. We compared subjects who survived to hospital admission (n=664) with those who did not (n=689), and subjects who survived to hospital discharge (n=334) with those who did not (n=1019). Associations between survival and genetic variants were assessed using logistic regression adjusting for age, gender, location, time to arrival of paramedics, whether the event was witnessed, and receipt of bystander CPR. Within-gene permutation tests were used to correct for multiple comparisons. Variants in five genes were significantly associated with SCA survival. After correction for multiple comparisons, SNPs in ACSL1 and ACSL3 were significantly associated with survival to hospital admission. SNPs in ACSL3, AGPAT3, MLYCD, and SLC27A6 were significantly associated with survival to hospital discharge.
Our findings indicate that variants in genes important in fatty acid metabolism are associated with SCA survival in this population.
PMCID: PMC3422654  PMID: 22661490
epidemiology; fatty acids; genetics; heart arrest
6.  Evolution of signal multiplexing by 14-3-3-binding 2R-ohnologue protein families in the vertebrates 
Open Biology  2012;2(7):120103.
14-3-3 proteins regulate cellular responses to stimuli by docking onto pairs of phosphorylated residues on target proteins. The present study shows that the human 14-3-3-binding phosphoproteome is highly enriched in 2R-ohnologues, which are proteins in families of two to four members that were generated by two rounds of whole genome duplication at the origin of the vertebrates. We identify 2R-ohnologue families whose members share a ‘lynchpin’, defined as a 14-3-3-binding phosphosite that is conserved across members of a given family, and aligns with a Ser/Thr residue in pro-orthologues from the invertebrate chordates. For example, the human receptor expression enhancing protein (REEP) 1–4 family has the commonest type of lynchpin motif in current datasets, with a phosphorylatable serine in the –2 position relative to the 14-3-3-binding phosphosite. In contrast, the second 14-3-3-binding sites of REEPs 1–4 differ and are phosphorylated by different kinases, and hence the REEPs display different affinities for 14-3-3 dimers. We suggest a conceptual model for intracellular regulation involving protein families whose evolution into signal multiplexing systems was facilitated by 14-3-3 dimer binding to lynchpins, which gave freedom for other regulatory sites to evolve. While increased signalling complexity was needed for vertebrate life, these systems also generate vulnerability to genetic disorders.
PMCID: PMC3411107  PMID: 22870394
Branchiostoma; Ciona; hereditary spastic paraplegia; RAB3GAP1; RAB3GAP2
7.  “Replicated” genome wide association for dependence on illegal substances: genomic regions identified by overlapping clusters of nominally positive SNPs 
Declaring “replication” from results of genome wide association (GWA) studies is straightforward when major gene effects provide genome-wide significance for association of the same allele of the same SNP in each of multiple independent samples. However, such unambiguous replication may be unlikely when phenotypes display polygenic genetic architecture, allelic heterogeneity, locus heterogeneity and when different samples display linkage disequilibria with different fine structures. We seek chromosomal regions that are tagged by clustered SNPs that display nominally-significant association in each of several independent samples. This approach provides one “nontemplate” approach to identifying overall replication of groups of GWA results in the face of difficult genetic architectures. We apply this strategy to 1M SNP Affymetrix and Illumina GWA results for dependence on illegal substances. This approach provides high confidence in rejecting the null hypothesis that chance alone accounts for the extent to which clustered, nominally-significant SNPs from samples of the same racial/ethnic background identify the same chromosomal regions. There is more modest confidence in: a) identification of individual chromosomal regions and genes and b) overlap between results from samples of different racial/ethnic backgrounds. The strong overlap identified among the samples with similar racial/ethnic backgrounds, together with prior work that identified overlapping results in samples of different racial/ethnic backgrounds, support contributions to individual differences in vulnerability to addictions that come from both relatively older allelic variants that are common in many current human populations and newer allelic variants that are common in fewer current human populations.
PMCID: PMC3282182  PMID: 21302341
substance dependence; microarray
8.  “Higher order” addiction molecular genetics: convergent data from genome-wide association in humans and mice 
Biochemical Pharmacology  2007;75(1):98-111.
Family, adoption and twin data each support substantial heritability for addictions. Most of this heritable influence is not substance-specific. The overlapping genetic vulnerability for developing dependence on a variety of addictive substances suggests large roles for “higher order” pharamacogenomics in addiction molecular genetics. We and others have now completed genome-wide association (GWA) studies of DNAs from individuals with dependence on a variety of addictive substances vs appropriate controls. Recently reported replicated GWA observations identify a number of genes based on comparisons between controls and European-American and African-American polysubstance abusers. Here we review the convergence between these results and data that compares control samples and a) alcohol dependent European Americans, b) methamphetamine dependent Asians and c) nicotine dependent samples from European backgrounds. We also compare these human data to quantitative trait locus (QTL) results from studies of addiction-related phenotypes in mice that focus on alcohol, methamphetamine and barbiturates. These comparisons support a genetic architecture built from largely-polygenic contributions of common allelic variants to dependence on a variety of legal and illegal substances. Many of the gene variants identified in this way are likely to alter specification and maintenance of neuronal connections.
PMCID: PMC3282179  PMID: 17764662
Association genome scanning; substance dependence; microarray; pooled; neuronal connections
9.  Meta-analysis and genome-wide interpretation of genetic susceptibility to drug addiction 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:508.
Classical genetic studies provide strong evidence for heritable contributions to susceptibility to developing dependence on addictive substances. Candidate gene and genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have sought genes, chromosomal regions and allelic variants likely to contribute to susceptibility to drug addiction.
Here, we performed a meta-analysis of addiction candidate gene association studies and GWAS to investigate possible functional mechanisms associated with addiction susceptibility. From meta-data retrieved from 212 publications on candidate gene association studies and 5 GWAS reports, we linked a total of 843 haplotypes to addiction susceptibility. We mapped the SNPs in these haplotypes to functional and regulatory elements in the genome and estimated the magnitude of the contributions of different molecular mechanisms to their effects on addiction susceptibility. In addition to SNPs in coding regions, these data suggest that haplotypes in gene regulatory regions may also contribute to addiction susceptibility. When we compared the lists of genes identified by association studies and those identified by molecular biological studies of drug-regulated genes, we observed significantly higher participation in the same gene interaction networks than expected by chance, despite little overlap between the two gene lists.
These results appear to offer new insights into the genetic factors underlying drug addiction.
PMCID: PMC3215751  PMID: 21999673
10.  Genomic Regions Identified by Overlapping Clusters of Nominally-Positive SNPs from Genome-Wide Studies of Alcohol and Illegal Substance Dependence 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e19210.
Declaring “replication” from results of genome wide association (GWA) studies is straightforward when major gene effects provide genome-wide significance for association of the same allele of the same SNP in each of multiple independent samples. However, such unambiguous replication is unlikely when phenotypes display polygenic genetic architecture, allelic heterogeneity, locus heterogeneity and when different samples display linkage disequilibria with different fine structures. We seek chromosomal regions that are tagged by clustered SNPs that display nominally-significant association in each of several independent samples. This approach provides one “nontemplate” approach to identifying overall replication of groups of GWA results in the face of difficult genetic architectures. We apply this strategy to 1 M SNP GWA results for dependence on: a) alcohol (including many individuals with dependence on other addictive substances) and b) at least one illegal substance (including many individuals dependent on alcohol). This approach provides high confidence in rejecting the null hypothesis that chance alone accounts for the extent to which clustered, nominally-significant SNPs from samples of the same racial/ethnic background identify the same sets of chromosomal regions. It identifies several genes that are also reported in other independent alcohol-dependence GWA datasets. There is more modest confidence in: a) identification of individual chromosomal regions and genes that are not also identified by data from other independent samples, b) the more modest overlap between results from samples of different racial/ethnic backgrounds and c) the extent to which any gene not identified herein is excluded, since the power of each of these individual samples is modest. Nevertheless, the strong overlap identified among the samples with similar racial/ethnic backgrounds supports contributions to individual differences in vulnerability to addictions that come from newer allelic variants that are common in subsets of current humans.
PMCID: PMC3144872  PMID: 21818250
11.  Visualization and Biochemical Analyses of the Emerging Mammalian 14-3-3-Phosphoproteome* 
Molecular & Cellular Proteomics : MCP  2011;10(10):M110.005751.
Hundreds of candidate 14-3-3-binding (phospho)proteins have been reported in publications that describe one interaction at a time, as well as high-throughput 14-3-3-affinity and mass spectrometry-based studies. Here, we transcribed these data into a common format, deposited the collated data from low-throughput studies in MINT (, and compared the low- and high-throughput data in VisANT graphs that are easy to analyze and extend. Exploring the graphs prompted questions about technical and biological specificity, which were addressed experimentally, resulting in identification of phosphorylated 14-3-3-binding sites in the mitochondrial import sequence of the iron-sulfur cluster assembly enzyme (ISCU), cytoplasmic domains of the mitochondrial fission factor (MFF), and endoplasmic reticulum-tethered receptor expression-enhancing protein 4 (REEP4), RNA regulator SMAUG2, and cytoskeletal regulatory proteins, namely debrin-like protein (DBNL) and kinesin light chain (KLC) isoforms. Therefore, 14-3-3s undergo physiological interactions with proteins that are destined for diverse subcellular locations. Graphing and validating interactions underpins efforts to use 14-3-3-phosphoproteomics to identify mechanisms and biomarkers for signaling pathways in health and disease.
PMCID: PMC3205853  PMID: 21725060
12.  How soon can smear positive TB patients be released from inpatient isolation? 
Identification of predictors of time to sputum smear conversion in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) could be used for programmatic planning and the counseling of TB patients. Time estimates of smear conversion based on the presence of risk factors may assist. We identify significant factors associated with time to sputum smear conversion using time-to-event analysis.
We performed a cohort study using proportional hazards models to identify factors associated with time to smear conversion. All cases of sputum smear positive pulmonary TB managed by Public Health - Seattle & King County TB Control Program in 2003 and 2004 were reviewed. We defined the time to sputum smear conversion as the time elapsed from the start of treatment to the first date of sustained conversion.
There were 98 patients whose sputum was AFB smear positive. Lower initial smear grade (on 1+ to 4+ scale), and absence of cavitation on chest radiograph were associated with earlier sputum smear conversion on bivariate analysis. In multiple regression analysis, initial smear grade (hazard ratio [HR] 0.45, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.35–0.57) and drug resistance (HR 2.30, 95% CI 1.08–4.89) remained significant. Culture conversion preceding smear conversion was uncommon except for patients with initial 4+ smears (occurred in 38%).
Initial smear grade was the strongest predictor of time to sputum smear and culture conversion in pulmonary TB patients and may be a useful predictor for programmatic planning and patient counseling.
PMCID: PMC3046814  PMID: 19968490
13.  Addition of Fructooligosaccharides and Dried Plum to Soy-Based Diets Reverses Bone Loss in the Ovariectomized Rat 
Dietary bioactive components that play a role in improving skeletal health have received considerable attention in complementary and alternative medicine practices as a result of their increased efficacy to combat chronic diseases. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the additive or synergistic effects of dried plum and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and to determine whether dried plum and FOS or their combination in a soy protein-based diet can restore bone mass in ovarian hormone deficient rats. For this purpose, 72 3-month-old female Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into six groups (n = 12) and either ovariectomized (Ovx, five groups) or sham-operated (sham, one group). The rats were maintained on a semipurified standard diet for 45 days after surgery to establish bone loss. Thereafter, the rats were placed on one of the following dietary treatments for 60 days: casein-based diet (Sham and Ovx), soy-based diet (Ovx + soy) or soy-based diet with dried plum (Ovx + soy + plum), FOS (Ovx + soy + FOS) and combination of dried plum and FOS (Ovx + soy + plum + FOS). Soy protein in combination with the test compounds significantly improved whole-body bone mineral density (BMD). All test compounds in combination with soy protein significantly increased femoral BMD but the combination of soy protein, dried plum and FOS had the most pronounced effect in increasing lumbar BMD. Similarly, all of the test compounds increased ultimate load, indicating improved biomechanical properties. The positive effects of these test compounds on bone may be due to their ability to modulate bone resorption and formation, as shown by suppressed urinary deoxypyridinoline excretion and enhanced alkaline phosphatase activity.
PMCID: PMC3137675  PMID: 18955356
14.  Genome-wide association for smoking cessation success: participants in the Patch in Practice trial of nicotine replacement 
Pharmacogenomics  2010;11(3):357-367.
To confirm and extend to primary care settings prior genome-wide association results that distinguish smokers who successfully quit from individuals who were not able to quit smoking in clinical trials.
Materials & methods
Affymetrix® 6.0 Arrays were used to study DNA from successful quitters and matched individuals who did not quit from the Patch in Practice study of 925 smokers in 26 UK general practices who were provided with 15 mg/16 h nicotine-replacement therapy and varying degrees of behavioral support.
Only a few SNPs provided results near ‘genome-wide’ levels of significance. Nominally significant (p < 0.01) SNP results identify the same chromosomal regions identified by prior genome-wide association studies to a much greater extent than expected by chance.
Ability to change smoking behavior in a general practice setting appears to share substantial underlying genetics with the ability to change this behavior in clinical trials, though the modest sample sizes available for these studies provides some caution to these conclusions.
PMCID: PMC3040594  PMID: 20235792
DNA microarray; genetic susceptibility; nicotine dependence; nicotine replacement; smoking cessation
16.  Genome-Wide Association for Smoking Cessation Success in a Trial of Precessation Nicotine Replacement 
Molecular Medicine  2010;16(11-12):513-526.
Abilities to successfully quit smoking display substantial evidence for heritability in classic and molecular genetic studies. Genome-wide association (GWA) studies have demonstrated single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and haplotypes that distinguish successful quitters from individuals who were unable to quit smoking in clinical trial participants and in community samples. Many of the subjects in these clinical trial samples were aided by nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). We now report novel GWA results from participants in a clinical trial that sought dose/response relationships for “precessation” NRT. In this trial, 369 European-American smokers were randomized to 21 or 42 mg NRT, initiated 2 wks before target quit dates. Ten-week continuous smoking abstinence was assessed on the basis of self-reports and carbon monoxide levels. SNP genotyping used Affymetrix 6.0 arrays. GWA results for smoking cessation success provided no P value that reached “genome-wide” significance. Compared with chance, these results do identify (a) more clustering of nominally positive results within small genomic regions, (b) more overlap between these genomic regions and those identified in six prior successful smoking cessation GWA studies and (c) sets of genes that fall into gene ontology categories that appear to be biologically relevant. The 1,000 SNPs with the strongest associations form a plausible Bayesian network; no such network is formed by randomly selected sets of SNPs. The data provide independent support, based on individual genotyping, for many loci previously nominated on the basis of data from genotyping in pooled DNA samples. These results provide further support for the idea that aid for smoking cessation may be personalized on the basis of genetic predictors of outcome.
PMCID: PMC2972392  PMID: 20811658
17.  Genetic Variation in ACE-related pathways associated with Sudden Cardiac Arrest Risk 
Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE)-related pathways influence arrhythmias and sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) risk.
We investigated whether genetic variation in ACE-related pathways are associated with SCA risk. Because these pathways are sex-dependent and influenced by estrogen, we examined these genotype-SCA associations in the full study population, and tested for interaction with gender.
In a population-based case-control study set in King County WA, we genotyped 211 SCA cases (mean age 59, 80% male) and 730 age- and gender-matched controls of European descent for 47 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in eight genes (ACE, AGT, REN, AGTR1, AGTR2, ACE2, KNG1, BDKRB2). We examined association of SNPs and haplotypes with SCA risk using logistic regression.
AGTR1 SNP rs1492099 (allele frequency=15%) was associated with decreased SCA risk (OR=0.62, 95%CI=0.4–0.9). Haplotype variation in AGTR2 was associated with SCA risk (global haplotype test p=0.001), with haplotype 2 (allele frequency=27%) associated with increased risk (OR=1.26, 95%CI=1.1–1.5). There was interaction with gender on SCA risk for variation in KNG1 (interaction p-value range=0.0004–0.017 for 6/8 SNPs). KNG1 SNP rs710448 (allele frequency=42%) was associated with decreased risk (OR=0.44, 95%CI=0.3–0.8) among women but not men. Other SNPs and haplotypes in the eight genes examined were not associated with SCA risk after multiple testing correction.
Variation in AGTR1 and AGTR2 are associated with SCA risk in a population-based case-control study. There was evidence of interaction with gender on SCA risk for variation in KNG1. Our findings, if replicated, suggest that variation in genes in ACE-related pathways influence SCA risk.
PMCID: PMC2757102  PMID: 19716087
sudden death; cardiac arrest; epidemiology; genetics; polymorphism; renin-angiotensin system
18.  Personalized Smoking Cessation: Interactions between Nicotine Dose, Dependence and Quit-Success Genotype Score 
Molecular Medicine  2010;16(7-8):247-253.
Improving and targeting nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) are cost-effective strategies for reducing adverse health consequences for smokers. Treatment studies document the efficacy of precessation NRT and support important roles for level of nicotine dependence and precessation smoking reduction in successful quitting. However, prior work has not identified the optimal precessation dose or means for personalizing NRT. Genome-wide association has identified groups of genomic markers associated with successful quitting, allowing us to develop a v1.0 “quit-success” genotype score. We now report influences of v1.0 quit-success genotype score, level of dependence and precessation smoking reduction in a smoking cessation trial that examined effects of 21 versus 42 mg/24 h precessation NRT. Four hundred seventy-nine smokers were randomized to 21 or 42 mg NRT, initiated 2 wks prior to target quit dates. We monitored self-reported abstinence and end–expired air carbon monoxide (CO). Genotyping used Affymetrix arrays (Santa Clara, CA, USA). The primary outcome was 10-wk continuous smoking abstinence. NRT dose, level of nicotine dependence and genotype scores displayed significant interactive effects on successful quitting. Successful abstinence also was predicted by CO reductions during precessation NRT. These results document ways in which smoking cessation strategies can be personalized based on levels of nicotine dependence, genotype scores and CO monitoring. These assessments, taken together, can help match most smokers with optimal NRT doses and help rapidly identify some who may be better treated using other methods.
PMCID: PMC2896464  PMID: 20379614
19.  Bioinformatic and experimental survey of 14-3-3-binding sites 
Biochemical Journal  2010;427(Pt 1):69-78.
More than 200 phosphorylated 14-3-3-binding sites in the literature were analysed to define 14-3-3 specificities, identify relevant protein kinases, and give insights into how cellular 14-3-3/phosphoprotein networks work. Mode I RXX(pS/pT)XP motifs dominate, although the +2 proline residue occurs in less than half, and LX(R/K)SX(pS/pT)XP is prominent in plant 14-3-3-binding sites. Proline at +1 is rarely reported, and such motifs did not stand up to experimental reanalysis of human Ndel1. Instead, we discovered that 14-3-3 interacts with two residues that are phosphorylated by basophilic kinases and located in the DISC1 (disrupted-in-schizophrenia 1)-interacting region of Ndel1 that is implicated in cognitive disorders. These data conform with the general findings that there are different subtypes of 14-3-3-binding sites that overlap with the specificities of different basophilic AGC (protein kinase A/protein kinase G/protein kinase C family) and CaMK (Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase) protein kinases, and a 14-3-3 dimer often engages with two tandem phosphorylated sites, which is a configuration with special signalling, mechanical and evolutionary properties. Thus 14-3-3 dimers can be digital logic gates that integrate more than one input to generate an action, and coincidence detectors when the two binding sites are phosphorylated by different protein kinases. Paired sites are generally located within disordered regions and/or straddle either side of functional domains, indicating how 14-3-3 dimers modulate the conformations and/or interactions of their targets. Finally, 14-3-3 proteins bind to members of several multi-protein families. Two 14-3-3-binding sites are conserved across the class IIa histone deacetylases, whereas other protein families display differential regulation by 14-3-3s. We speculate that 14-3-3 dimers may have contributed to the evolution of such families, tailoring regulatory inputs to different physiological demands.
PMCID: PMC2860806  PMID: 20141511
14-3-3 protein; AGC protein kinase; Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase; disrupted-in-schizophrenia 1 (DISC1); evolution; AANAT, serotonin acetyltransferase; AGC, protein kinase A/protein kinase G/protein kinase C family kinase; AMPK, AMP-activated protein kinase; BAD, Bcl-XL/Bcl-2-associated death promoter; CaMK, Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase; CDK5, cyclin-dependent kinase 5; DIG, digoxigenin; DISC1, disrupted-in-schizophrenia 1; DSTT, Division of Signal Transduction Therapy; EST, expressed sequence tag; FOXO, Forkhead box O; GLUT4, glucose transporter 4; GST, glutathione transferase; HA, haemagglutinin; HAP1A, Huntingtin-associated protein 1A; HDAC, histone deacetylase; HEK, human embryonic kidney; KLC, kinesin light chain; MARK, microtubule affinity-regulating kinase; PI4K, phosphoinositide 4-kinase; PKB, protein kinase B; PKC, protein kinase C; PP2A, protein phosphatase 2A; RSK, ribosomal S6 kinase; YAP1, yes-associated protein 1
20.  Lateral femoral traction pin entry: risk to the femoral artery and other medial neurovascular structures 
Femoral skeletal traction assists in the reduction and transient stabilization of pelvic, acetabular, hip, and femoral fractures when splinting is ineffective. Traditional teaching has recommended a medial entry site for insertion of the traction pin in order to minimize injury to the femoral artery as it passes through Hunter's canal. The present anatomical study evaluates the risk to the femoral artery and other medial neurovascular structures using a lateral entry approach.
Six embalmed cadavers (twelve femurs) were obtained for dissection. Steinman pins were drilled from lateral to medial at the level of the superior pole of the patella, at 2 cm, and at 4 cm proximal to this point. Medial superficial dissection was then performed to identify the saphenous nerve, the superior medial geniculate artery, the adductor hiatus, the tendinous insertion of the adductor magnus and the femoral artery. Measurements localizing these anatomic structures relative to the pins were obtained.
The femoral artery was relatively safe and was no closer than 29.6 mm (mean) from any of the three Steinman pins. The superior medial geniculate artery was the medial structure at most risk.
Lateral femoral traction pin entry is a safe procedure with minimal risk to the saphenous nerve and femoral artery. Of the structures examined, only the superior medial geniculate artery is at a risk of iatrogenic injury due to its position. The incidence of such injury in clinical practice and its clinical significance is not known. Lateral insertion facilitates traction pin placement since it minimizes the need to move the contralateral extremity out of the way of the drilling equipment or the need to elevate or externally rotate the injured extremity relative to the contralateral extremity.
PMCID: PMC2827386  PMID: 20205875
21.  Genome Wide Association for Addiction: Replicated Results and Comparisons of Two Analytic Approaches 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(1):e8832.
Vulnerabilities to dependence on addictive substances are substantially heritable complex disorders whose underlying genetic architecture is likely to be polygenic, with modest contributions from variants in many individual genes. “Nontemplate” genome wide association (GWA) approaches can identity groups of chromosomal regions and genes that, taken together, are much more likely to contain allelic variants that alter vulnerability to substance dependence than expected by chance.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We report pooled “nontemplate” genome-wide association studies of two independent samples of substance dependent vs control research volunteers (n = 1620), one European-American and the other African-American using 1 million SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) Affymetrix genotyping arrays. We assess convergence between results from these two samples using two related methods that seek clustering of nominally-positive results and assess significance levels with Monte Carlo and permutation approaches. Both “converge then cluster” and “cluster then converge” analyses document convergence between the results obtained from these two independent datasets in ways that are virtually never found by chance. The genes identified in this fashion are also identified by individually-genotyped dbGAP data that compare allele frequencies in cocaine dependent vs control individuals.
These overlapping results identify small chromosomal regions that are also identified by genome wide data from studies of other relevant samples to extents much greater than chance. These chromosomal regions contain more genes related to “cell adhesion” processes than expected by chance. They also contain a number of genes that encode potential targets for anti-addiction pharmacotherapeutics. “Nontemplate” GWA approaches that seek chromosomal regions in which nominally-positive associations are found in multiple independent samples are likely to complement classical, “template” GWA approaches in which “genome wide” levels of significance are sought for SNP data from single case vs control comparisons.
PMCID: PMC2809089  PMID: 20098672
22.  Nicotine abstinence genotyping: assessing the impact on smoking cessation clinical trials 
The pharmacogenomics journal  2008;9(2):111-115.
Twin studies document substantial heritability for successful abstinence from smoking. A genome-wide association study has identified markers whose allele frequencies differ with nominal p < 0.005 in nicotine-dependent clinical trial participants who were successful vs unsuccessful in abstaining from smoking; many of these results are also supported by data from two additional samples. More study is required to precisely determine the variance in quitting success that can be accounted for by the SNPs that are currently identified and to precisely classify individuals who may display varying degrees of genetic vs environmental effects into quitters or nonquitters. However, the data at hand do allow us to model the effects of genotypic stratification in smoking cessation trials. We identify relationships between the costs of identifying and genotyping prospective trial participants vs the costs of performing the clinical trials. We quantitate the increasing savings that result from genetically-stratified designs as recruiting/genotyping costs go down and trial costs increase. This model helps to define the circumstances in which genetically-stratified designs may enhance power and reduce costs for smoking cessation clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC2659728  PMID: 18781146
23.  Genome-Wide Association for Smoking Cessation Success: Participants in a Trial with Adjunctive Denicotinized Cigarettes 
Molecular Medicine  2009;15(7-8):268-274.
The ability to quit smoking successfully displays substantial heritability in classical and molecular genetic studies. Twin studies suggest that some of the genetics for the ability to quit overlap with genetic components of nicotine dependence, but many do not. Genome-wide association (GWA) studies have demonstrated haplotypes that distinguish successful quitters from individuals who were not able to quit smoking in: i) clinical trials that employed nicotine replacement; ii) clinical trials that employed bupropion; and iii) community quitter samples. We now report novel GWA results from participants in a clinical trial that document the efficacy of adjunctive use of denicotinized cigarettes. These results buttress data from our prior GWA studies of smoking cessation. They suggest that ability to change smoking behavior using denicotinized cigarettes shares substantial underlying genetics with the ability to change this behavior in community settings or in response to treatments with nicotine replacement or bupropion.
PMCID: PMC2707518  PMID: 19593411
24.  Genome-Wide Association for Nicotine Dependence and Smoking Cessation Success in NIH Research Volunteers 
Molecular Medicine  2008;15(1-2):21-27.
Phenotypes related to both nicotine dependence and ability to successfully quit smoking display substantial heritabilities in classical and molecular genetic studies. Twin studies suggest that some genetic components for dependence overlap with genetic components of ability to quit, but that many components do not overlap. Initial genome-wide association (GWA) studies have demonstrated haplotypes that distinguish nicotine-dependent from nondependent smokers. These haplotypes overlap partially with those that distinguish individuals who successfully quit smoking from those who were not able to quit smoking in clinical trials for smoking cessation. We now report novel genome-wide association results from National Institutes of Health research volunteers who reported smoking histories, symptoms of nicotine dependence, and ability to successfully quit smoking outside the context of a clinical trial. These results buttress data from several prior GWA studies. The data from these volunteers support the idea that previously reported studies of genes associated with smoking cessation success in clinical trial participants may also apply to smokers who are more or less able to initiate and sustain abstinence outside of clinical trial settings.
PMCID: PMC2581605  PMID: 19009022
25.  Genome wide association for substance dependence: convergent results from epidemiologic and research volunteer samples 
BMC Medical Genetics  2008;9:113.
Dependences on addictive substances are substantially-heritable complex disorders whose molecular genetic bases have been partially elucidated by studies that have largely focused on research volunteers, including those recruited in Baltimore. Maryland. Subjects recruited from the Baltimore site of the Epidemiological Catchment Area (ECA) study provide a potentially-useful comparison group for possible confounding features that might arise from selecting research volunteer samples of substance dependent and control individuals. We now report novel SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism) genome wide association (GWA) results for vulnerability to substance dependence in ECA participants, who were initially ascertained as members of a probability sample from Baltimore, and compare the results to those from ethnically-matched Baltimore research volunteers.
We identify substantial overlap between the home address zip codes reported by members of these two samples. We find overlapping clusters of SNPs whose allele frequencies differ with nominal significance between substance dependent vs control individuals in both samples. These overlapping clusters of nominally-positive SNPs identify 172 genes in ways that are never found by chance in Monte Carlo simulation studies. Comparison with data from human expressed sequence tags suggests that these genes are expressed in brain, especially in hippocampus and amygdala, to extents that are greater than chance.
The convergent results from these probability sample and research volunteer sample datasets support prior genome wide association results. They fail to support the idea that large portions of the molecular genetic results for vulnerability to substance dependence derive from factors that are limited to research volunteers.
PMCID: PMC2637238  PMID: 19094236

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