Human longevity and personality traits are both heritable and are consistently linked at the phenotypic level. We test the hypothesis that candidate genes influencing longevity in lower organisms are associated with variance in the five major dimensions of human personality (measured by the NEO-FFI and IPIP inventories) plus related mood states of anxiety and depression. Seventy single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in six brain expressed, longevity candidate genes (AFG3L2, FRAP1, MAT1A, MAT2A, SYNJ1 and SYNJ2) were typed in over one thousand 70-year old participants from the Lothian Birth Cohort of 1936 (LBC1936). No SNPs were associated with the personality and psychological distress traits at a Bonferroni corrected level of significance (p < 0.0002), but there was an over-representation of nominally significant (p < 0.05) SNPs in the synaptojanin-2 (SYNJ2) gene associated with agreeableness and symptoms of depression. Eight SNPs which showed nominally significant association across personality measurement instruments were tested in an extremely large replication sample of 17 106 participants. SNP rs350292, in SYNJ2, was significant: the minor allele was associated with an average decrease in NEO agreeableness scale scores of 0.25 points, and 0.67 points in the restricted analysis of elderly cohorts (most aged > 60 years). Because we selected a specific set of longevity genes based on functional genomics findings, further research on other longevity gene candidates is warranted to discover whether they are relevant candidates for personality and psychological distress traits.
NEO personality; IPIP personality; anxiety; depressive symptoms; ageing; genetics
We have used targeted genomic sequencing of high-complexity DNA pools based on long-range PCR and deep DNA sequencing by the SOLiD technology. The method was used for sequencing of 286 kb from four chromosomal regions with quantitative trait loci (QTL) influencing blood plasma lipid and uric acid levels in DNA pools of 500 individuals from each of five European populations. The method shows very good precision in estimating allele frequencies as compared with individual genotyping of SNPs (r2=0.95, P<10−16). Validation shows that the method is able to identify novel SNPs and estimate their frequency in high-complexity DNA pools. In our five populations, 17% of all SNPs and 61% of structural variants are not available in the public databases. A large fraction of the novel variants show a limited geographic distribution, with 62% of the novel SNPs and 59% of novel structural variants being detected in only one of the populations. The large number of population-specific novel SNPs underscores the need for comprehensive sequencing of local populations in order to identify the causal variants of human traits.
pooling; next-generation DNA sequencing; SOLiD; SNP; indels
Recessive mutations in the F-box only protein 7 gene (FBXO7) cause PARK15, a Mendelian form of early-onset, levodopa-responsive parkinsonism with severe loss of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons. However, the function of the protein encoded by FBXO7, and the pathogenesis of PARK15 remain unknown. No animal models of this disease exist. Here, we report the generation of a vertebrate model of PARK15 in zebrafish. We first show that the zebrafish Fbxo7 homolog protein (zFbxo7) is expressed abundantly in the normal zebrafish brain. Next, we used two zFbxo7-specific morpholinos (targeting protein translation and mRNA splicing, respectively), to knock down the zFbxo7 expression. The injection of either of these zFbxo7-specific morpholinos in the fish embryos induced a marked decrease in the zFbxo7 protein expression, and a range of developmental defects. Furthermore, whole-mount in situ mRNA hybridization showed abnormal patterning and significant decrease in the number of diencephalic tyrosine hydroxylase-expressing neurons, corresponding to the human nigrostriatal or ventral tegmental dopaminergic neurons. Of note, the number of the dopamine transporter-expressing neurons was much more severely depleted, suggesting dopaminergic dysfunctions earlier and larger than those due to neuronal loss. Last, the zFbxo7 morphants displayed severe locomotor disturbances (bradykinesia), which were dramatically improved by the dopaminergic agonist apomorphine. The severity of these morphological and behavioral abnormalities correlated with the severity of zFbxo7 protein deficiency. Moreover, the effects of the co-injection of zFbxo7- and p53-specific morpholinos were similar to those obtained with zFbxo7-specific morpholinos alone, supporting further the contention that the observed phenotypes were specifically due to the knock down of zFbxo7. In conclusion, this novel vertebrate model reproduces pathologic and behavioral hallmarks of human parkinsonism (dopaminergic neuronal loss and dopamine-dependent bradykinesia), representing therefore a valid tool for investigating the mechanisms of selective dopaminergic neuronal death, and screening for modifier genes and therapeutic compounds.
The heat shock protein (HSP) 70 family has been implicated in the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In this study, we examined common genetic variations in the 80 genes encoding HSP70 and its co-chaperones. We conducted a study in a series of 462 patients and 5238 unaffected participants derived from the Rotterdam Study, a population-based study including 7983 persons aged 55 years and older. We genotyped a total of 12,053 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) using the HumanHap550K Genotyping BeadChip from Illumina. Replication was performed in two independent cohort studies, the Framingham Heart study (FHS; N=806) and Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS; N=2150). When adjusting for multiple testing, we found a small but consistent, though not significant effect of rs12118313 located 32kb from PFDN2, with an OR of 1.19 (p-value from meta-analysis =0.003). However this SNP was in the intron of another gene, suggesting it is unlikely this SNP reflects the effect of PFDN2. In a formal pathway analysis we found nominally significant evidence for an association of BAG, DNAJA and prefoldin with AD. These findings corroborate with those of a study of 2032 AD patients and 5328 controls, in which several members of the prefoldin family showed evidence for association to AD. Our study did not reveal evidence for a genetic variant if the HSP70 family with a major effect on AD. However, our findings of the single SNP analysis and pathway analysis suggest that multiple genetic variants in prefoldin are associated with AD.
Heat-Shock Proteins; Alzheimer Disease; prefoldin; Genetic Association Studies
The FMR1 gene contains a CGG-repeat present in the 5’UTR which can be unstable upon transmission to the next generation. The repeat is up to 55 CGGs long in the normal population. In patients with fragile X syndrome, a repeat length exceeding 200 CGGs (full mutation: FM) generally leads to methylation of the repeat and the promoter region, which is accompanied by silencing of the FMR1 gene. The absence of FMR1 protein, FMRP, seen in FM is the cause of the mental retardation in patients with fragile X syndrome. The premutation (PM) is defined as 55-200 CGGs. Female PM carriers are at risk of developing primary ovarian insufficiency. Elderly PM carriers might develop a progressive neurodegenerative disorder called fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome. Although arising from the mutations in the same gene, distinct mechanisms lead to fragile X syndrome (absence of FMRP), FXTAS (toxic RNA gain of function) and FXPOI. The pathogenic mechanisms thought to underlie these disorders are discussed. This review gives insight on the implications of all possible repeat length categories seen in fragile X families.
CGG repeat; FMR1; FXPOI; FXTAS; mental retardation; treatment
Serum concentrations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), triglycerides (TGs) and total cholesterol (TC) are important heritable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Although genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of circulating lipid levels have identified numerous loci, a substantial portion of the heritability of these traits remains unexplained. Evidence of unexplained genetic variance can be detected by combining multiple independent markers into additive genetic risk scores. Such polygenic scores, constructed using results from the ENGAGE Consortium GWAS on serum lipids, were applied to predict lipid levels in an independent population-based study, the Rotterdam Study-II (RS-II). We additionally tested for evidence of a shared genetic basis for different lipid phenotypes. Finally, the polygenic score approach was used to identify an alternative genome-wide significance threshold before pathway analysis and those results were compared with those based on the classical genome-wide significance threshold. Our study provides evidence suggesting that many loci influencing circulating lipid levels remain undiscovered. Cross-prediction models suggested a small overlap between the polygenic backgrounds involved in determining LDL-C, HDL-C and TG levels. Pathway analysis utilizing the best polygenic score for TC uncovered extra information compared with using only genome-wide significant loci. These results suggest that the genetic architecture of circulating lipids involves a number of undiscovered variants with very small effects, and that increasing GWAS sample sizes will enable the identification of novel variants that regulate lipid levels.
serum lipids; polygenic; genome-wide association; polygenic score; pathway analysis
Common diseases such as type 2 diabetes are phenotypically heterogeneous. Obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, but patients vary appreciably in body mass index. We hypothesized that the genetic predisposition to the disease may be different in lean (BMI<25 Kg/m2) compared to obese cases (BMI≥30 Kg/m2). We performed two case-control genome-wide studies using two accepted cut-offs for defining individuals as overweight or obese. We used 2,112 lean type 2 diabetes cases (BMI<25 kg/m2) or 4,123 obese cases (BMI≥30 kg/m2), and 54,412 un-stratified controls. Replication was performed in 2,881 lean cases or 8,702 obese cases, and 18,957 un-stratified controls. To assess the effects of known signals, we tested the individual and combined effects of SNPs representing 36 type 2 diabetes loci. After combining data from discovery and replication datasets, we identified two signals not previously reported in Europeans. A variant (rs8090011) in the LAMA1 gene was associated with type 2 diabetes in lean cases (P = 8.4×10−9, OR = 1.13 [95% CI 1.09–1.18]), and this association was stronger than that in obese cases (P = 0.04, OR = 1.03 [95% CI 1.00–1.06]). A variant in HMG20A—previously identified in South Asians but not Europeans—was associated with type 2 diabetes in obese cases (P = 1.3×10−8, OR = 1.11 [95% CI 1.07–1.15]), although this association was not significantly stronger than that in lean cases (P = 0.02, OR = 1.09 [95% CI 1.02–1.17]). For 36 known type 2 diabetes loci, 29 had a larger odds ratio in the lean compared to obese (binomial P = 0.0002). In the lean analysis, we observed a weighted per-risk allele OR = 1.13 [95% CI 1.10–1.17], P = 3.2×10−14. This was larger than the same model fitted in the obese analysis where the OR = 1.06 [95% CI 1.05–1.08], P = 2.2×10−16. This study provides evidence that stratification of type 2 diabetes cases by BMI may help identify additional risk variants and that lean cases may have a stronger genetic predisposition to type 2 diabetes.
Individuals with Type 2 diabetes (T2D) can present with variable clinical characteristics. It is well known that obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, yet patients can vary considerably—there are many lean diabetes patients and many overweight people without diabetes. We hypothesized that the genetic predisposition to the disease may be different in lean (BMI<25 Kg/m2) compared to obese cases (BMI≥30 Kg/m2). Specifically, as lean T2D patients had lower risk than obese patients, they must have been more genetically susceptible. Using genetic data from multiple genome-wide association studies, we tested genetic markers across the genome in 2,112 lean type 2 diabetes cases (BMI<25 kg/m2), 4,123 obese cases (BMI≥30 kg/m2), and 54,412 healthy controls. We confirmed our results in an additional 2,881 lean cases, 8,702 obese cases, and 18,957 healthy controls. Using these data we found differences in genetic enrichment between lean and obese cases, supporting our original hypothesis. We also searched for genetic variants that may be risk factors only in lean or obese patients and found two novel gene regions not previously reported in European individuals. These findings may influence future study design for type 2 diabetes and provide further insight into the biology of the disease.
Deficiency in fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) results in fragile X syndrome (FXS), an inherited form of intellectual disability. Despite extensive research, how FMRP deficiency contributes to the cognitive deficits in FXS is unclear. We have previously shown that Fmrp-null mice exhibit reduced adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Since Fmrp is also enriched in mature neurons, we explored the functional significance of Fmrp expression in neural stem and progenitor cells (aNSCs) and its role in adult neurogenesis. Here we show ablation of Fmrp in aNSCs via inducible gene recombination leads to reduced hippocampal neurogenesis in vitro and in vivo, as well as significantly impaired hippocampus-dependent learning in mice. Conversely, restoration of Fmrp expression specifically in aNSCs rescues these learning deficits. These data suggest that defective adult neurogenesis may contribute to the learning impairment seen in FXS, and these learning deficits can be rectified by delayed restoration of Fmrp specifically in aNSCs.
genome-wide association study; genetic epidemiology; genetics; subclinical atherosclerosis; carotid intima media thickness; cardiovascular disease; cohort study; meta-analysis; risk
Circulating levels of adiponectin, a hormone produced predominantly by adipocytes, are highly heritable and are inversely associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) and other metabolic traits. We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies in 39,883 individuals of European ancestry to identify genes associated with metabolic disease. We identified 8 novel loci associated with adiponectin levels and confirmed 2 previously reported loci (P = 4.5×10−8–1.2×10−43). Using a novel method to combine data across ethnicities (N = 4,232 African Americans, N = 1,776 Asians, and N = 29,347 Europeans), we identified two additional novel loci. Expression analyses of 436 human adipocyte samples revealed that mRNA levels of 18 genes at candidate regions were associated with adiponectin concentrations after accounting for multiple testing (p<3×10−4). We next developed a multi-SNP genotypic risk score to test the association of adiponectin decreasing risk alleles on metabolic traits and diseases using consortia-level meta-analytic data. This risk score was associated with increased risk of T2D (p = 4.3×10−3, n = 22,044), increased triglycerides (p = 2.6×10−14, n = 93,440), increased waist-to-hip ratio (p = 1.8×10−5, n = 77,167), increased glucose two hours post oral glucose tolerance testing (p = 4.4×10−3, n = 15,234), increased fasting insulin (p = 0.015, n = 48,238), but with lower in HDL-cholesterol concentrations (p = 4.5×10−13, n = 96,748) and decreased BMI (p = 1.4×10−4, n = 121,335). These findings identify novel genetic determinants of adiponectin levels, which, taken together, influence risk of T2D and markers of insulin resistance.
Serum adiponectin levels are highly heritable and are inversely correlated with the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D), coronary artery disease, stroke, and several metabolic traits. To identify common genetic variants associated with adiponectin levels and risk of T2D and metabolic traits, we conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of 45,891 multi-ethnic individuals. In addition to confirming that variants at the ADIPOQ and CDH13 loci influence adiponectin levels, our analyses revealed that 10 new loci also affecting circulating adiponectin levels. We demonstrated that expression levels of several genes in these candidate regions are associated with serum adiponectin levels. Using a powerful novel method to assess the contribution of the identified variants with other traits using summary-level results from large-scale GWAS consortia, we provide evidence that the risk alleles for adiponectin are associated with deleterious changes in T2D risk and metabolic syndrome traits (triglycerides, HDL, post-prandial glucose, insulin, and waist-to-hip ratio), demonstrating that the identified loci, taken together, impact upon metabolic disease.
Genome-wide association studies have identified 32 loci associated with body mass index (BMI), a measure that does not allow distinguishing lean from fat mass. To identify adiposity loci, we meta-analyzed associations between ~2.5 million SNPs and body fat percentage from 36,626 individuals, and followed up the 14 most significant (P<10−6) independent loci in 39,576 individuals. We confirmed the previously established adiposity locus in FTO (P=3×10−26), and identified two new loci associated with body fat percentage, one near IRS1 (P=4×10−11) and one near SPRY2 (P=3×10−8). Both loci harbour genes with a potential link to adipocyte physiology, of which the locus near IRS1 shows an intriguing association pattern. The body-fat-decreasing allele associates with decreased IRS1 expression and with an impaired metabolic profile, including decreased subcutaneous-to-visceral fat ratio, increased insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, risk of diabetes and coronary artery disease, and decreased adiponectin levels. Our findings provide new insights into adiposity and insulin resistance.
Congenital dyserythropoietic anemia type II (CDAII), the most common form of CDA, is an autosomal recessive condition. CDAII diagnosis is based on invasive, expensive, and time consuming tests that are available only in specialized laboratories. The recent identification of SEC23B mutations as the cause of CDAII opens new possibilities for the molecular diagnosis of the disease. The aim of this study was to characterize molecular genomic SEC23B defects in 16 unrelated patients affected by CDAII and correlate the identified genetic alterations with SEC23B transcript and protein levels in erythroid precursors.
SEC23B was sequenced in 16 patients, their relatives and 100 control participants. SEC23B transcript level were studied by quantitative PCR (qPCR) in peripheral erythroid precursors and lymphocytes from the patients and healthy control participants. Sec23B protein content was analyzed by immunoblotting in samples of erythroblast cells from CDAII patients and healthy controls.
All of the investigated cases carried SEC23B mutations on both alleles, with the exception of two patients in which a single heterozygous mutation was found. We identified 15 different SEC23B mutations, of which four represent novel mutations: p.Gln214Stop, p.Thr485Ala, p.Val637Gly, and p.Ser727Phe. The CDAII patients exhibited a 40-60% decrease of SEC23B mRNA levels in erythroid precursors when compared with the corresponding cell type from healthy participants. The largest decrease was observed in compound heterozygote patients with missense/nonsense mutations. In three patients, Sec23B protein levels were evaluated in erythroid precursors and found to be strictly correlated with the reduction observed at the transcript level. We also demonstrate that Sec23B mRNA expression levels in lymphocytes and erythroblasts are similar.
In this study, we identified four novel SEC23B mutations associated with CDAII disease. We also demonstrate that the genetic alteration results in a significant decrease of SEC23B transcript in erythroid precursors. Similar down-regulation was observed in peripheral lymphocytes, suggesting that the use of these cells might be sufficient in the identification of Sec23B gene alterations. Finally, we demonstrate that decreased Sec23B protein levels in erythroid precursors correlate with down-regulation of the SEC23B mRNA transcript.
Congenital dyserythropoietic anemia; CDA II; SEC23B; Red blood cell; Coat complex protein II
Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is caused by a lack of the fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP); FMRP deficiency in neurons of patients with FXS causes intellectual disability (IQ<70) and several behavioural problems, including hyperactivity and autistic-like features. In the brain, no gross morphological malformations have been found, although subtle spine abnormalities have been reported. FXS has been linked to altered group I metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR)-dependent and independent forms of synaptic plasticity. Here, we discuss potential targeted therapeutic strategies developed to specifically correct disturbances in the excitatory mGluR and the inhibitory gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) receptor pathways that have been tested in animal models and/or in clinical trials with patients with FXS.
fragile X syndrome; therapy; metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs); gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) receptor
Migraine is a common neurological disorder with a genetically complex background. This paper describes a meta-analysis of genome-wide association (GWA) studies on migraine, performed by the Dutch–Icelandic migraine genetics (DICE) consortium, which brings together six population-based European migraine cohorts with a total sample size of 10 980 individuals (2446 cases and 8534 controls). A total of 32 SNPs showed marginal evidence for association at a P-value<10−5. The best result was obtained for SNP rs9908234, which had a P-value of 8.00 × 10−8. This top SNP is located in the nerve growth factor receptor (NGFR) gene. However, this SNP did not replicate in three cohorts from the Netherlands and Australia. Of the other 31 SNPs, 18 SNPs were tested in two replication cohorts, but none replicated. In addition, we explored previously identified candidate genes in the meta-analysis data set. This revealed a modest gene-based significant association between migraine and the metadherin (MTDH) gene, previously identified in the first clinic-based GWA study (GWAS) for migraine (Bonferroni-corrected gene-based P-value=0.026). This finding is consistent with the involvement of the glutamate pathway in migraine. Additional research is necessary to further confirm the involvement of glutamate.
migraine; meta-analysis; genome-wide association; population-based
Mutations in the TARDBP gene are a cause of autosomal dominant amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), but they have not been found so far in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). A founder TARDBP mutation (p.Ala382Thr) was recently identified as the cause of ~30% of ALS cases in Sardinia, a Mediterranean genetic isolate. We studied 327 consecutive Sardinian patients with clinically diagnosed PD (88 familial, 239 sporadic) and 578 Sardinian controls. One family with FTLD and parkinsonism was also included. The p.Ala382Thr heterozygous mutation was detected in eight unrelated PD patients (2.5%). The three patients from the FTLD/parkinsonism family also carried this mutation. Within the control group, there were three heterozygous mutation carriers. During follow-up, one of these individuals developed motoneuron disease and another, a rapidly progressive dementia; the third remains healthy at the age of 79 but two close relatives developed motoneuron disease and dementia. The eight PD patients carrying the p.Ala382Thr mutation had all sporadic disease presentation. Their average onset age was 70.0 years (SD 9.4, range 51–79), which is later but not significantly different from that of the patients who did not carry this mutation. In conclusion, we expand the clinical spectrum associated with TARDBP mutations to FTLD with parkinsonism without motoneuron disease and to clinically definite PD. The TDP-43 protein might be directly involved in a broader neurodegenerative spectrum, including not only motoneuron disease and FTLD but also PD.
Parkinson’s disease; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Sardinia; TARDBP; Mutation
Adiponectin, a hormone secreted by adipose tissue, is of particular interest in metabolic syndrome, because it is inversely correlated with obesity and insulin sensitivity. However, it is not known to what extent the genetics of plasma adiponectin and the genetics of obesity and insulin sensitivity are interrelated. We aimed to evaluate the heritability of plasma adiponectin and its genetic correlation with the metabolic syndrome and metabolic syndrome–related traits and the association between these traits and 10 ADIPOQ single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We made use of a family-based population, the Erasmus Rucphen Family study (1,258 women and 967 men). Heritability analysis was performed using a polygenic model. Genetic correlations were estimated using bivariate heritability analyses. Genetic association analysis was performed using a mixed model.
Plasma adiponectin showed a heritability of 55.1%. Genetic correlations between plasma adiponectin HDL cholesterol and plasma insulin ranged from 15 to 24% but were not significant for fasting glucose, triglycerides, blood pressure, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), and C-reactive protein. A significant association with plasma adiponectin was found for ADIPOQ variants rs17300539 and rs182052. A nominally significant association was found with plasma insulin and HOMA-IR and ADIPOQ variant rs17300539 after adjustment for plasma adiponectin.
The significant genetic correlation between plasma adiponectin and HDL cholesterol and plasma insulin should be taken into account in the interpretation of genome-wide association studies. Association of ADIPOQ SNPs with plasma adiponectin was replicated, and we showed association between one ADIPOQ SNP and plasma insulin and HOMA-IR.
Mutations in the F-box only protein 7 gene (FBXO7) cause PARK15, an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disease presenting with severe levodopa-responsive parkinsonism and pyramidal disturbances. Understanding the PARK15 pathogenesis might thus provide clues on the mechanisms of maintenance of brain dopaminergic neurons, the same which are lost in Parkinson's disease. The protein(s) encoded by FBXO7 remain very poorly characterized. Here, we show that two protein isoforms are expressed from the FBXO7 gene in normal human cells. The isoform 1 is more abundant, particularly in primary skin fibroblasts. Both isoforms are undetectable in cell lines from the PARK15 patient of an Italian family; the isoform 1 is undetectable and the isoform 2 is severely decreased in the patients from a Dutch PARK15 family. In human cell lines and mouse primary neurons, the endogenous or over-expressed, wild type FBXO7 isoform 1 displays mostly a diffuse nuclear localization. An intact N-terminus is needed for the nuclear FBXO7 localization, as N-terminal modification by PARK15-linked missense mutation, or N-terminus tag leads to cytoplasmic mislocalization. Furthermore, the N-terminus of wild type FBXO7 (but not of mutant FBXO7) is able to confer nuclear localization to profilin (a cytoplasmic protein). Our data also suggest that overexpressed mutant FBXO7 proteins (T22M, R378G and R498X) have decreased stability compared to their wild type counterpart. In human brain, FBXO7 immunoreactivity was highest in the nuclei of neurons throughout the cerebral cortex, intermediate in the globus pallidum and the substantia nigra, and lowest in the hippocampus and cerebellum. In conclusion, the common cellular abnormality found in the PARK15 patients from the Dutch and Italian families is the depletion of the FBXO7 isoform 1, which normally localizes in the cell nucleus. The activity of FBXO7 in the nucleus appears therefore crucial for the maintenance of brain neurons and the pathogenesis of PARK15.
Plasma adiponectin is strongly associated with various components of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular outcomes. Concentrations are highly heritable and differ between men and women. We therefore aimed to investigate the genetics of plasma adiponectin in men and women.
We combined genome-wide association scans of three population-based studies including 4659 persons. For the replication stage in 13795 subjects, we selected the 20 top signals of the combined analysis, as well as the 10 top signals with p-values less than 1.0*10-4 for each the men- and the women-specific analyses. We further selected 73 SNPs that were consistently associated with metabolic syndrome parameters in previous genome-wide association studies to check for their association with plasma adiponectin.
The ADIPOQ locus showed genome-wide significant p-values in the combined (p=4.3*10-24) as well as in both women- and men-specific analyses (p=8.7*10-17 and p=2.5*10-11, respectively). None of the other 39 top signal SNPs showed evidence for association in the replication analysis. None of 73 SNPs from metabolic syndrome loci exhibited association with plasma adiponectin (p>0.01).
We demonstrated the ADIPOQ gene as the only major gene for plasma adiponectin, which explains 6.7% of the phenotypic variance. We further found that neither this gene nor any of the metabolic syndrome loci explained the sex differences observed for plasma adiponectin. Larger studies are needed to identify more moderate genetic determinants of plasma adiponectin.
adiponectin; genome-wide association study; polymorphism; cardiovascular disease; metabolic syndrome
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common neuropsychiatric disorder. Genetics has an important role in the aetiology of this disease. In this study, we describe the clinical findings in a Dutch family with eight patients suffering from ADHD, in whom five had at least one other psychiatric disorder. We performed a genome-wide (parametric and nonparametric) affected-only linkage analysis. Two genomic regions on chromosomes 7 and 14 showed an excess of allele sharing among the definitely affected members of the family with suggestive LOD scores (2.1 and 2.08). Nonparametric linkage analyses (NPL) yielded a maxNPL of 2.92 (P=0.001) for marker D7S502 and a maxNPL score of 2.56 (P=0.003) for marker D14S275. We confirmed that all patients share the same haplotype in each region of 7p15.1–q31.33 and 14q11.2–q22.3. Interestingly, both loci have been reported before in Dutch (affected sib pairs) and German (extended families) ADHD linkage studies. Hopefully, the genome-wide association studies in ADHD will help to highlight specific polymorphisms and genes within the broad areas detected by our, as well as other, linkage studies.
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; genome-wide linkage analysis
SIRT1 has pleiotropic metabolic functions. We investigated whether SIRT1 genetic variation is associated with obesity.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
In 6,251 elderly subjects from the prospective, population-based Rotterdam Study, three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the SIRT1 gene were studied in relation to BMI and risk of obesity (BMI ≥30 kg/m2) and prospectively with BMI change after 6.4 years of follow-up. We used cross-sectional data from 2,347 participants from the Erasmus Rucphen Family (ERF) study for replication.
Minor alleles of rs7895833 (G = 20.2%) and rs1467568 (A = 36.8%) were associated with lower BMI in the Rotterdam Study (P = 0.02 and 0.04) and in the replication cohort ERF study (P = 0.03 and 0.008) and in both studies combined (P = 0.002 for both SNPs), with a 0.2–0.4 kg/m2 decrease in BMI per allele copy. Carriers of these alleles had 13–18% decreased risk of obesity (for rs7895833 in the Rotterdam Study: odds ratio 0.79 [95% CI 0.67–0.94], P = 0.007; in the ERF study: 0.93 [0.73–1.19], P = 0.37; and in the studies combined 0.87 [0.77–0.97], P = 0.02; for rs1467568 in the Rotterdam Study: 0.80 [0.68–0.94], P = 0.007; in the ERF study: 0.85 [0.72–0.99], P = 0.04; and in the studies combined: 0.82 [0.73–0.92], P = 0.0009). In the Rotterdam Study, the two variants were also associated with a lower BMI increase during 6.4 years of follow-up (P = 0.01 and 0.08).
Two common variants in SIRT1 are associated with lower BMI in two independent Dutch populations. Carriers of these variants have 13–18% decreased risk of obesity and gain less weight over time. The availability of SIRT1 stimulators makes these findings relevant in light of the growing obesity epidemic.
Mutations in the ATP13A2 (PARK9) and FBXO7 (PARK15) genes are linked to different forms of autosomal recessive juvenile-onset neurodegenerative diseases with overlapping phenotypes, including levodopa-responsive parkinsonism, pyramidal disturbances, cognitive decline, and supranuclear gaze disturbance. However, the associated genotypes and phenotypes are poorly characterized due to the small number of patients described. Here, we report clinical, instrumental, and genetic findings in an Italian family with novel PARK9 and PARK15 mutations. The proband developed a severe progressive phenotype including juvenile-onset parkinsonism, pyramidal disturbances, cognitive decline, and oculomotor abnormalities. On the contrary, his brother only shows mild abnormalities (pyramidal, cognitive, and oculomotor) on the neurological examination at the age of 31 years. These two brothers both carry a novel homozygous PARK9 missense (p.G877R) and a novel heterozygous PARK15 mutation (p.R481C). The PARK9 mutation replaces a crucial residue for the ATPase activity, and is therefore most likely a loss-of-function mutation and disease-causing in homozygous state. The pathogenic significance of the PARK15 single heterozygous mutation remains unclear. In both sibs, DaTSCAN single photon emission computed tomography showed marked nigrostriatal dopaminergic defects, and transcranial magnetic stimulation detected prolonged central motor conduction time. MRI, including T2*-weighted imaging, detected no evidence of brain iron accumulation. This family, the third reported with homozygous PARK9 mutations and the first with mutations in two genes for atypical juvenile parkinsonism, illustrates that PARK9-linked disease might display wide intra-familial clinical variability and milder phenotypes, suggesting the existence of strong, still unknown, modifiers.
Parkinsonism; Movement disorders; PARK9; PARK15; ATP13A2; FBXO7
Fragile X syndrome is caused by lack of the protein FMRP. FMRP mediates mRNA binding, dendritic mRNA transport and translational control at spines. We examined the role of functional domains of FMRP in neuronal RNA-granule formation and dendritic transport using different FMRP variants, including the mutant FMRP_I304N and the splice-variant FMRP_Iso12. Both variants are absent from dendritic RNA-granules in Fmr1 knockout neurons. Co-transfection experiments showed that wild-type FMRP recruits both FMRP variants into dendritic RNA-granules. Co-transfection of FXR2, an FMRP homologue, also resulted in redistribution of both variants into dendritic RNA-granules. Furthermore, the capacity of the variants to transport their mRNAs and the mRNA localization of an FMR1 construct containing silent point-mutations affecting only the G-quartet-structure was investigated. In conclusion, we show that wild-type FMRP and FXR2P are able to recruit FMRP variants into RNA-granules and that the G-quartet-structure in FMR1 mRNA is not essential for its incorporation in RNA-granules.
Fragile X syndrome; FMRP; Fmr1; mRNA transport; FXR2P; RNA-granules
Fragile X-associated Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome (FXTAS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that has been diagnosed in a substantial fraction of older male fragile X premutation carriers. Patients affected by FXTAS have elevated levels of ribo-rCGG repeat containing FMR1 mRNA with normal to slightly reduced levels of FMRP in blood leukocytes. Coupled with the absence of FXTAS in fragile X syndrome patients, this suggests premutation-sized elongated rCGG repeats in the FMR1 transcript rather than alterations in the levels of FMRP are responsible for the FXTAS pathology. Mice expressing rCGG in the context of Fmr1 or the enhanced green fluorescent protein specifically in Purkinje neurons were generated to segregate the effects of rCGG from alterations in Fmr1 and to provide evidence that rCGG is necessary and sufficient to cause pathology similar to human FXTAS. The models exhibit the presence of intranuclear inclusions in Purkinje neurons, Purkinje neuron cell death and behavioral deficits. These results demonstrate that rCGG expressed in Purkinje neurons outside the context of Fmr1 mRNA can result in neuronal pathology in a mammalian system and demonstrate that expanded CGG repeats in RNA are the likely cause of the neurodegeneration in FXTAS.
The optic nerve head is involved in many ophthalmic disorders, including common diseases such as myopia and open-angle glaucoma. Two of the most important parameters are the size of the optic disc area and the vertical cup-disc ratio (VCDR). Both are highly heritable but genetically largely undetermined. We performed a meta-analysis of genome-wide association (GWA) data to identify genetic variants associated with optic disc area and VCDR. The gene discovery included 7,360 unrelated individuals from the population-based Rotterdam Study I and Rotterdam Study II cohorts. These cohorts revealed two genome-wide significant loci for optic disc area, rs1192415 on chromosome 1p22 (p = 6.72×10−19) within 117 kb of the CDC7 gene and rs1900004 on chromosome 10q21.3-q22.1 (p = 2.67×10−33) within 10 kb of the ATOH7 gene. They revealed two genome-wide significant loci for VCDR, rs1063192 on chromosome 9p21 (p = 6.15×10−11) in the CDKN2B gene and rs10483727 on chromosome 14q22.3-q23 (p = 2.93×10−10) within 40 kbp of the SIX1 gene. Findings were replicated in two independent Dutch cohorts (Rotterdam Study III and Erasmus Rucphen Family study; N = 3,612), and the TwinsUK cohort (N = 843). Meta-analysis with the replication cohorts confirmed the four loci and revealed a third locus at 16q12.1 associated with optic disc area, and four other loci at 11q13, 13q13, 17q23 (borderline significant), and 22q12.1 for VCDR. ATOH7 was also associated with VCDR independent of optic disc area. Three of the loci were marginally associated with open-angle glaucoma. The protein pathways in which the loci of optic disc area are involved overlap with those identified for VCDR, suggesting a common genetic origin.
Morphologic characteristics of the optic nerve head are involved in many ophthalmic diseases. Its size, called the optic disc area, is an important measure and has been associated with e.g. myopia and open-angle glaucoma (OAG). Another important and clinical parameter of the optic disc is the vertical cup-disc ratio (VCDR). Although studies have shown a high heritability of optic disc area and VCDR, its genetic determinants are still undetermined. We therefore conducted a genome-wide association (GWA) study on these quantitative traits, using data of over 11,000 Caucasian participants, and related the findings to myopia and OAG. We found evidence for association of three loci with optic disc area: CDC7/TGFBR3 region, ATOH7, and SALL1; and six with VCDR: CDKN2B, SIX1, SCYL1, CHEK2, ATOH7, and DCLK1; and additionally one borderline significant locus: BCAS3. None of the loci could be related to myopia. There was marginal evidence for association of ATOH7, CDKN2B, and SIX1 with OAG, which remains to be confirmed. The present study reveals new insights into the physiological development of the optic nerve and may shed light on the pathophysiological protein pathways leading to (neuro-) ophthalmologic diseases such as OAG.