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1.  Association Assessment of Copy Number Polymorphism and Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration 
Ophthalmology  2011;118(12):2442-2446.
Purpose
We previously identified a genetic copy number polymorphism (CNP147) that was statistically associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and which resides downstream of the complement factor H (CFH) gene. Factor H protein is polymorphic at amino acid 402 in which the resulting histidine containing moiety has been established to impart significant risk of AMD. Here we present a method to precisely determine the exact copy number of CNP147 and examine in more detail the association with AMD.
Design
Case-control Study
Participants
421 AREDS (Age-related Eye Disease cohort Study) subjects of whom approximately 35% were diagnosed with neovascular disease, 19% with geographic atrophy, 16% with both, 30% with large drusen and 215 controls.
Methods
Using copy number assays available from Applied Biosystems Inc., we examined four loci spanning CNP147 and neighboring CNP148 in an AREDS matched case-control sample set. We analyzed these data by copy number while controlling for two high-risk CFH variants, rs1061170 (Y402H) and rs1410996. We phased the high risk CFH variants with CNP147 and analyzed haplotype frequencies in cases and controls. To further validate copy numbers, six Utah CEPH families (Centre D’etude du Polymorphism Humaine) were typed for CNP147 and the segregation assessed.
Main Outcome Measures
Increased or decreased risk of AMD from genetic loci.
Results
Having fewer than 2 copies of CNP147 is associated with an estimated 43% reduction in odds of having AMD in this sample set (adjusted odds ratio=0.57, P=0.006). CNP148 variation is rare in Caucasians and it was not statistically significant. Common haplotypes reveal that the risk alleles for rs1061170 and rs1410996 most frequently segregate with higher copy numbers for CNP147; but not exclusively, and that one haplotype that carried a deletion of CNP147 was highly protective (odds ratio=0.25 P=1.3×10−13) when compared to the reference.
Conclusions
In this matched subset of AREDS subjects, after adjusting for two known risk variants in CFH, CNP147 deletion statistically associates with diminished risk for AMD.
doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2011.05.027
PMCID: PMC3223559  PMID: 21856016
Copy number polymorphism; age-related macular degeneration; HapMap 3; TaqMan Copy Number Assays; qPCR
2.  Evidence of association of APOE with age-related macular degeneration - a pooled analysis of 15 studies 
Human mutation  2011;32(12):1407-1416.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of incurable visual impairment in high-income countries. Previous studies report inconsistent associations between AMD and apolipoprotein E (APOE), a lipid transport protein involved in low-density cholesterol modulation. Potential interaction between APOE and sex, and smoking status, has been reported. We present a pooled analysis (n=21,160) demonstrating associations between late AMD and APOε4 (OR=0.72 per haplotype; CI: 0.65–0.74; P=4.41×10−11) and APOε2 (OR=1.83 for homozygote carriers; CI: 1.04–3.23; P=0.04), following adjustment for age-group and sex within each study and smoking status. No evidence of interaction between APOE and sex or smoking was found. Ever smokers had significant increased risk relative to never smokers for both neovascular (OR=1.54; CI: 1.38–1.72; P=2.8×10−15) and atrophic (OR=1.38; CI: 1.18–1.61; P=3.37×10−5) AMD but not early AMD (OR=0.94; CI: 0.86–1.03; P=0.16), implicating smoking as a major contributing factor to disease progression from early signs to the visually disabling late forms. Extended haplotype analysis incorporating rs405509 did not identify additional risks beyondε2 and ε4 haplotypes. Our expanded analysis substantially improves our understanding of the association between the APOE locus and AMD. It further provides evidence supporting the role of cholesterol modulation, and low-density cholesterol specifically, in AMD disease etiology.
doi:10.1002/humu.21577
PMCID: PMC3217135  PMID: 21882290
age-related macular degeneration; AMD; apolipoprotein E; APOE; case-control association study
3.  Differential Gene and MicroRNA Expression between Etoposide Resistant and Etoposide Sensitive MCF7 Breast Cancer Cell Lines 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45268.
In order to develop targeted strategies for combating drug resistance it is essential to understand it’s basic molecular mechanisms. In an exploratory study we have found several possible indicators of etoposide resistance operating in MCF7VP cells, including up-regulation of ABC transporter genes, modulation of miRNA, and alteration in copy numbers of genes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045268
PMCID: PMC3445463  PMID: 23028896
4.  Variations in Apolipoprotein E Frequency With Age in a Pooled Analysis of a Large Group of Older People 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2011;173(12):1357-1364.
Variation in the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) has been reported to be associated with longevity in humans. The authors assessed the allelic distribution of APOE isoforms ε2, ε3, and ε4 among 10,623 participants from 15 case-control and cohort studies of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in populations of European ancestry (study dates ranged from 1990 to 2009). The authors included only the 10,623 control subjects from these studies who were classified as having no evidence of AMD, since variation within the APOE gene has previously been associated with AMD. In an analysis stratified by study center, gender, and smoking status, there was a decreasing frequency of the APOE ε4 isoform with increasing age (χ2 for trend = 14.9 (1 df); P = 0.0001), with a concomitant increase in the ε3 isoform (χ2 for trend = 11.3 (1 df); P = 0.001). The association with age was strongest in ε4 homozygotes; the frequency of ε4 homozygosity decreased from 2.7% for participants aged 60 years or less to 0.8% for those over age 85 years, while the proportion of participants with the ε3/ε4 genotype decreased from 26.8% to 17.5% across the same age range. Gender had no significant effect on the isoform frequencies. This study provides strong support for an association of the APOE gene with human longevity.
doi:10.1093/aje/kwr015
PMCID: PMC3145394  PMID: 21498624
aged; apolipoprotein E2; apolipoprotein E3; apolipoprotein E4; apolipoproteins E; longevity; meta-analysis; multicenter study
5.  The ERCC6 Gene and Age-Related Macular Degeneration 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e13786.
Background
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible visual loss in the developed countries and is caused by both environmental and genetic factors. A recent study (Tuo et al., PNAS) reported an association between AMD and a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (rs3793784) in the ERCC6 (NM_000124) gene. The risk allele also increased ERCC6 expression. ERCC6 is involved in DNA repair and mutations in ERCC6 cause Cockayne syndrome (CS). Amongst others, photosensitivity and pigmentary retinopathy are hallmarks of CS.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Separate and combined data from three large AMD case-control studies and a prospective population-based study (The Rotterdam Study) were used to analyse the genetic association between ERCC6 and AMD (2682 AMD cases and 3152 controls). We also measured ERCC6 mRNA levels in retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells of healthy and early AMD affected human donor eyes. Rs3793784 conferred a small increase in risk for late AMD in the Dutch population (The Rotterdam and AMRO-NL study), but this was not replicated in two non-European studies (AREDS, Columbia University). In addition, the AMRO-NL study revealed no significant association for 9 other variants spanning ERCC6. Finally, we determined that ERCC6 expression in the human RPE did not depend on rs3793784 genotype, but, interestingly, on AMD status: Early AMD-affected donor eyes had a 50% lower ERCC6 expression than healthy donor eyes (P = 0.018).
Conclusions/Significance
Our meta-analysis of four Caucasian cohorts does not replicate the reported association between SNPs in ERCC6 and AMD. Nevertheless, our findings on ERCC6 expression in the RPE suggest that ERCC6 may be functionally involved in AMD. Combining our data with those of the literature, we hypothesize that the AMD-related reduced transcriptional activity of ERCC6 may be caused by diverse, small and heterogeneous genetic and/or environmental determinants.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013786
PMCID: PMC2967476  PMID: 21072178
6.  A Rare Null Allele Potentially Encoding a Dominant-Negative TRIM5α Protein in Baka Pygmies 
Virology  2009;391(1):140-147.
The global acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) pandemic is thought to have arisen by the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1)-like viruses from chimpanzees in southeastern Cameroon to humans. TRIM5α is a restriction factor that can decrease the susceptibility of cells of particular mammalian species to retrovirus infection. A survey of TRIM5 genes in 127 indigenous individuals from southeastern Cameroon revealed that approximately 4 percent of the Baka pygmies studied were heterozygous for a rare variant with a stop codon in exon 8. The predicted product of this allele, TRIM5 R332X, is truncated in the functionally important B30.2(SPRY) domain, does not restrict retrovirus infection, and acts as a dominant-negative inhibitor of wild-type human TRIM5α. Thus, some indigenous African forest dwellers potentially exhibit diminished TRIM5α function; such genetic factors, along with the high frequency of exposure to chimpanzee body fluids, may have predisposed to the initial cross-species transmission of HIV-1-like viruses.
doi:10.1016/j.virol.2009.05.038
PMCID: PMC2760473  PMID: 19577266
HIV-1; susceptibility; restriction factor; cross-species transmission; polymorphism; mutant; Africa
7.  Multilocus analysis of age-related macular degeneration 
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a late onset vision disorder. Recent studies demonstrate that alterations in complement cascade genes are associated with AMD. Of the three identified complement loci, variants in complement factor H (CFH) have the highest impact as does an independent locus at 10q26. Our matched case–control study using the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) cohort confirms and extends the associations in these loci. Subjects were genotyped for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from CFH, complement component 2 (C2), complement component 3 (C3), complement factor B (CFB), age-related maculopathy susceptibility (ARMS2), HtrA serine peptidase 1 (HTRA1), and apolipoprotein E (APOE). Individual SNPs, and haplotypes showed risk trends consistent with those seen in other population studies for CFH, C3, C2, and CFB. SNP rs10490924 on chromosome 10 in exon 1 of the ARMS2 gene showed a highly significant association with an odds ratio (OR) of 3.2 (95% CI 2.4–4.2) for the risk allele and rs11200638 located in the proximal promoter region of HTRA1 showed a higher significant association with an OR of 3.4 (95% CI 2.5–4.6) with our AMD cases. We found that APOE haplotypes were not significantly associated with disease status. Adjustments for other risk factors did not significantly alter the observed associations. This study validates the complement pathway’s involvement in AMD and suggests that allelic variants in complement genes have a direct role in disease. These results also support previous findings that variants in the region of 10q26 exert an independent risk for AMD.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2009.23
PMCID: PMC2729805  PMID: 19259132
age-related macular degeneration; complement; ARMS2; HTRA1
8.  Multilocus analysis of age-related macular degeneration 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2009;17(9):1190-1199.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a late onset vision disorder. Recent studies demonstrate that alterations in complement cascade genes are associated with AMD. Of the three identified complement loci, variants in complement factor H (CFH) have the highest impact as does an independent locus at 10q26. Our matched case–control study using the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) cohort confirms and extends the associations in these loci. Subjects were genotyped for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from CFH, complement component 2 (C2), complement component 3 (C3), complement factor B (CFB), age-related maculopathy susceptibility (ARMS2), HtrA serine peptidase 1 (HTRA1), and apolipoprotein E (APOE). Individual SNPs, and haplotypes showed risk trends consistent with those seen in other population studies for CFH, C3, C2, and CFB. SNP rs10490924 on chromosome 10 in exon 1 of the ARMS2 gene showed a highly significant association with an odds ratio (OR) of 3.2 (95% CI 2.4–4.2) for the risk allele and rs11200638 located in the proximal promoter region of HTRA1 showed a higher significant association with an OR of 3.4 (95% CI 2.5–4.6) with our AMD cases. We found that APOE haplotypes were not significantly associated with disease status. Adjustments for other risk factors did not significantly alter the observed associations. This study validates the complement pathway's involvement in AMD and suggests that allelic variants in complement genes have a direct role in disease. These results also support previous findings that variants in the region of 10q26 exert an independent risk for AMD.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2009.23
PMCID: PMC2729805  PMID: 19259132
age-related macular degeneration; complement; ARMS2; HTRA1

Results 1-8 (8)