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1.  TMEM106B p.T185S regulates TMEM106B protein levels: implications for frontotemporal dementia 
Journal of neurochemistry  2013;126(6):781-791.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is the second leading cause of dementia in individuals under age 65. In many patients, the predominant pathology includes neuronal cytoplasmic or intranuclear inclusions of ubiquitinated TAR DNA binding protein 43 (FTLDTDP). Recently, a genome-wide association study identified the first FTLD-TDP genetic risk factor, in which variants in and around the TMEM106B gene (top SNP rs1990622) were significantly associated with FTLD-TDP risk. Intriguingly, the most significant association was in FTLD-TDP patients carrying progranulin (GRN) mutations. Here we investigated to what extent the coding variant, rs3173615 (p.T185S) in linkage disequilibrium with rs1990622, affects progranulin protein (PGRN) biology and TMEM106B protein regulation.
First, we confirmed the association of TMEM106B variants with FTLD-TDP in a new cohort of GRN mutation carriers. We next generated and characterized a TMEM106B-specific antibody for investigation of this protein. Enzyme-linked immunoassay analysis of PGRN levels showed similar effects upon T185 and S185 TMEM106B overexpression. However, overexpression of T185 consistently led to higher TMEM106B protein levels than S185. Cycloheximide treatment experiments revealed that S185 degrades faster than T185 TMEM106B, potentially due to differences in N-glycosylation at residue N183. Together, our results provide a potential mechanism by which TMEM106B variants lead to differences in FTLD-TDP risk.
doi:10.1111/jnc.12329
PMCID: PMC3766501  PMID: 23742080
TMEM106B; frontotemporal dementia; progranulin; glycosylation
2.  Association of MAPT haplotypes with Alzheimer’s disease risk and MAPT brain gene expression levels 
Introduction
MAPT encodes for tau, the predominant component of neurofibrillary tangles that are neuropathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Genetic association of MAPT variants with late-onset AD (LOAD) risk has been inconsistent, although insufficient power and incomplete assessment of MAPT haplotypes may account for this.
Methods
We examined the association of MAPT haplotypes with LOAD risk in more than 20,000 subjects (n-cases = 9,814, n-controls = 11,550) from Mayo Clinic (n-cases = 2,052, n-controls = 3,406) and the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium (ADGC, n-cases = 7,762, n-controls = 8,144). We also assessed associations with brain MAPT gene expression levels measured in the cerebellum (n = 197) and temporal cortex (n = 202) of LOAD subjects. Six single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) which tag MAPT haplotypes with frequencies greater than 1% were evaluated.
Results
H2-haplotype tagging rs8070723-G allele associated with reduced risk of LOAD (odds ratio, OR = 0.90, 95% confidence interval, CI = 0.85-0.95, p = 5.2E-05) with consistent results in the Mayo (OR = 0.81, p = 7.0E-04) and ADGC (OR = 0.89, p = 1.26E-04) cohorts. rs3785883-A allele was also nominally significantly associated with LOAD risk (OR = 1.06, 95% CI = 1.01-1.13, p = 0.034). Haplotype analysis revealed significant global association with LOAD risk in the combined cohort (p = 0.033), with significant association of the H2 haplotype with reduced risk of LOAD as expected (p = 1.53E-04) and suggestive association with additional haplotypes. MAPT SNPs and haplotypes also associated with brain MAPT levels in the cerebellum and temporal cortex of AD subjects with the strongest associations observed for the H2 haplotype and reduced brain MAPT levels (β = -0.16 to -0.20, p = 1.0E-03 to 3.0E-03).
Conclusions
These results confirm the previously reported MAPT H2 associations with LOAD risk in two large series, that this haplotype has the strongest effect on brain MAPT expression amongst those tested and identify additional haplotypes with suggestive associations, which require replication in independent series. These biologically congruent results provide compelling evidence to screen the MAPT region for regulatory variants which confer LOAD risk by influencing its brain gene expression.
doi:10.1186/alzrt268
PMCID: PMC4198935  PMID: 25324900
3.  ApoE variant p.V236E is associated with markedly reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease 
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) have identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) which show significant association at the well-known APOE locus and at nineteen additional loci. Among the functional, disease-associated variants at these loci, missense variants are particularly important because they can be readily investigated in model systems to search for novel therapeutic targets. It is now possible to perform a low-cost search for these “actionable” variants by genotyping the missense variants at known LOAD loci already cataloged on the Exome Variant Server (EVS). In this proof-of-principle study designed to explore the efficacy of this approach, we analyzed three rare EVS variants in APOE, p.L28P, p.R145C and p.V236E, in our case control series of 9114 subjects. p.R145C proved to be too rare to analyze effectively. The minor allele of p.L28P, which was in complete linkage disequilibrium (D’ = 1) with the far more common APOE ϵ4 allele, showed no association with LOAD (P = 0.75) independent of the APOE ϵ4 allele. p.V236E was significantly associated with a marked reduction in risk of LOAD (P = 7.5×10−05; OR = 0.10, 0.03 to 0.45). The minor allele of p.V236E, which was in complete linkage disequilibrium (D’ = 1) with the common APOE ϵ3 allele, identifies a novel LOAD-associated haplotype (APOE ϵ3b) which is associated with decreased risk of LOAD independent of the more abundant APOE ϵ2, ϵ3 and ϵ4 haplotypes. Follow-up studies will be important to confirm the significance of this association and to better define its odds ratio. The ApoE p.V236E substitution is the first disease-associated change located in the lipid-binding, C-terminal domain of the protein. Thus our study (i) identifies a novel APOE missense variant which may profitably be studied to better understand how ApoE function may be modified to reduce risk of LOAD and (ii) indicates that analysis of protein-altering variants cataloged on the EVS can be a cost-effective way to identify actionable functional variants at recently discovered LOAD loci.
doi:10.1186/1750-1326-9-11
PMCID: PMC3995879  PMID: 24607147
4.  Genetic architecture of resilience of executive functioning* 
Brain imaging and behavior  2012;6(4):621-633.
The genetic basis of resilience, defined as better cognitive functioning than predicted based on neuroimaging or neuropathology, is not well understood. Our objective was to identify genetic variation associated with executive functioning resilience. We computed residuals from regression models of executive functioning, adjusting for age, sex, education, Hachinski score, and MRI findings (lacunes, cortical thickness, volumes of white matter hyperintensities and hippocampus). We estimated heritability and analyzed these residuals in models for each SNP. We further evaluated our most promising SNP result by evaluating cis-associations with brain levels of nearby (±100 kb) genes from a companion data set, and comparing expression levels in cortex and cerebellum from decedents with AD with those from other non-AD diseases. Complete data were available for 750 ADNI participants of European descent. Executive functioning resilience was highly heritable (H2=0.76; S.E. = 0.44). rs3748348 on chromosome 14 in the region of RNASE13 was associated with executive functioning resilience (p-value=4.31×10−7). rs3748348 is in strong linkage disequilibrium (D′ of 1.00 and 0.96) with SNPs that map to TPPP2, a member of the α-synuclein family of proteins. We identified nominally significant associations between rs3748348 and expression levels of three genes (FLJ10357, RNASE2, and NDRG2). The strongest association was for FLJ10357 in cortex, which also had the most significant difference in expression between AD and non-AD brains, with greater expression in cortex of decedents with AD (p-value=7×10−7). Further research is warranted to determine whether this signal can be replicated and whether other loci may be associated with cognitive resilience.
doi:10.1007/s11682-012-9184-1
PMCID: PMC3607298  PMID: 22711244
Memory; Executive functioning; Alzheimer’s disease; Psychometrics; Resilience; GWAS
5.  Novel late-onset Alzheimer disease loci variants associate with brain gene expression 
Neurology  2012;79(3):221-228.
Objective:
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of late-onset Alzheimer disease (LOAD) identified 9 novel risk loci. Discovery of functional variants within genes at these loci is required to confirm their role in Alzheimer disease (AD). Single nucleotide polymorphisms that influence gene expression (eSNPs) constitute an important class of functional variants. We therefore investigated the influence of the novel LOAD risk loci on human brain gene expression.
Methods:
We measured gene expression levels in the cerebellum and temporal cortex of autopsied AD subjects and those with other brain pathologies (∼400 total subjects). To determine whether any of the novel LOAD risk variants are eSNPs, we tested their cis-association with expression of 6 nearby LOAD candidate genes detectable in human brain (ABCA7, BIN1, CLU, MS4A4A, MS4A6A, PICALM) and an additional 13 genes ±100 kb of these SNPs. To identify additional eSNPs that influence brain gene expression levels of the novel candidate LOAD genes, we identified SNPs ±100 kb of their location and tested for cis-associations.
Results:
CLU rs11136000 (p = 7.81 × 10−4) and MS4A4A rs2304933/rs2304935 (p = 1.48 × 10−4–1.86 × 10−4) significantly influence temporal cortex expression levels of these genes. The LOAD-protective CLU and risky MS4A4A locus alleles associate with higher brain levels of these genes. There are other cis-variants that significantly influence brain expression of CLU and ABCA7 (p = 4.01 × 10−5–9.09 × 10−9), some of which also associate with AD risk (p = 2.64 × 10−2–6.25 × 10−5).
Conclusions:
CLU and MS4A4A eSNPs may at least partly explain the LOAD risk association at these loci. CLU and ABCA7 may harbor additional strong eSNPs. These results have implications in the search for functional variants at the novel LOAD risk loci.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182605801
PMCID: PMC3398432  PMID: 22722634
6.  TREM2 in neurodegeneration: evidence for association of the p.R47H variant with frontotemporal dementia and Parkinson’s disease 
Background
A rare variant in the Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) gene has been reported to be a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease by two independent groups (Odds ratio between 2.9-4.5). Given the key role of TREM2 in the effective phagocytosis of apoptotic neuronal cells by microglia, we hypothesized that dysfunction of TREM2 may play a more generalized role in neurodegeneration. With this in mind we set out to assess the genetic association of the Alzheimer’s disease-related risk variant in TREM2 (rs75932628, p.R47H) with other related neurodegenerative disorders.
Results
The study included 609 patients with frontotemporal dementia, 765 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, 1493 with Parkinson’s disease, 772 with progressive supranuclear palsy, 448 with ischemic stroke and 1957 controls subjects free of neurodegenerative disease. A significant association was observed for the TREM2 p.R47H substitution in susceptibility to frontotemporal dementia (OR = 5.06; p-value = 0.001) and Parkinson’s disease (OR = 2.67; p-value = 0.026), while no evidence of association with risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, progressive supranuclear palsy or ischemic stroke was observed.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that the TREM2 p.R47H substitution is a risk factor for frontotemporal dementia and Parkinson’s disease in addition to Alzheimer’s disease. These findings suggest a more general role for TREM2 dysfunction in neurodegeneration, which could be related to its role in the immune response.
doi:10.1186/1750-1326-8-19
PMCID: PMC3691612  PMID: 23800361
TREM2; Frontotemporal dementia; Parkinson disease; Genetic association
7.  LRRTM3 Interacts with APP and BACE1 and Has Variants Associating with Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease (LOAD) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e64164.
Leucine rich repeat transmembrane protein 3 (LRRTM3) is member of a synaptic protein family. LRRTM3 is a nested gene within α-T catenin (CTNNA3) and resides at the linkage peak for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) risk and plasma amyloid β (Aβ) levels. In-vitro knock-down of LRRTM3 was previously shown to decrease secreted Aβ, although the mechanism of this is unclear. In SH-SY5Y cells overexpressing APP and transiently transfected with LRRTM3 alone or with BACE1, we showed that LRRTM3 co-localizes with both APP and BACE1 in early endosomes, where BACE1 processing of APP occurs. Additionally, LRRTM3 co-localizes with APP in primary neuronal cultures from Tg2576 mice transduced with LRRTM3-expressing adeno-associated virus. Moreover, LRRTM3 co-immunoprecipitates with both endogenous APP and overexpressed BACE1, in HEK293T cells transfected with LRRTM3. SH-SY5Y cells with knock-down of LRRTM3 had lower BACE1 and higher CTNNA3 mRNA levels, but no change in APP. Brain mRNA levels of LRRTM3 showed significant correlations with BACE1, CTNNA3 and APP in ∼400 humans, but not in LRRTM3 knock-out mice. Finally, we assessed 69 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within and flanking LRRTM3 in 1,567 LOADs and 2,082 controls and identified 8 SNPs within a linkage disequilibrium block encompassing 5′UTR-Intron 1 of LRRTM3 that formed multilocus genotypes (MLG) with suggestive global association with LOAD risk (p = 0.06), and significant individual MLGs. These 8 SNPs were genotyped in an independent series (1,258 LOADs and 718 controls) and had significant global and individual MLG associations in the combined dataset (p = 0.02–0.05). Collectively, these results suggest that protein interactions between LRRTM3, APP and BACE1, as well as complex associations between mRNA levels of LRRTM3, CTNNA3, APP and BACE1 in humans might influence APP metabolism and ultimately risk of AD.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0064164
PMCID: PMC3672107  PMID: 23750206
8.  Alternative Approaches in Gene Discovery and Characterization in Alzheimer’s Disease 
Uncovering the genetic risk and protective factors for complex diseases is of fundamental importance for advancing therapeutic and biomarker discoveries. This endeavor is particularly challenging for neuropsychiatric diseases where diagnoses predominantly rely on the clinical presentation, which may be heterogeneous, possibly due to the heterogeneity of the underlying genetic susceptibility factors and environmental exposures. Although genome-wide association studies of various neuropsychiatric diseases have recently identified susceptibility loci, there likely remain additional genetic risk factors that underlie the liability to these conditions. Furthermore, identification and characterization of the causal risk variant(s) in each of these novel susceptibility loci constitute a formidable task, particularly in the absence of any prior knowledge about their function or mechanism of action. Biologically relevant, quantitative phenotypes, i.e., endophenotypes, provide a powerful alternative to the more traditional, binary disease phenotypes in the discovery and characterization of susceptibility genes for neuropsychiatric conditions. In this review, we focus on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) as a model neuropsychiatric disease and provide a synopsis of the recent literature on the use of endophenotypes in AD genetics. We highlight gene expression, neuropathology and cognitive endophenotypes in AD, with examples demonstrating the utility of these alternative approaches in the discovery of novel susceptibility genes and pathways. In addition, we discuss how these avenues generate testable hypothesis about the pathophysiology of genetic factors that have far-reaching implications for therapies.
doi:10.1007/s40142-013-0007-5
PMCID: PMC3584671  PMID: 23482655
Alzheimer’s disease; Endophenotype; Gene expression; Neuropathology; Cognition; Genetics
9.  Brain Expression Genome-Wide Association Study (eGWAS) Identifies Human Disease-Associated Variants 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(6):e1002707.
Genetic variants that modify brain gene expression may also influence risk for human diseases. We measured expression levels of 24,526 transcripts in brain samples from the cerebellum and temporal cortex of autopsied subjects with Alzheimer's disease (AD, cerebellar n = 197, temporal cortex n = 202) and with other brain pathologies (non–AD, cerebellar n = 177, temporal cortex n = 197). We conducted an expression genome-wide association study (eGWAS) using 213,528 cisSNPs within ±100 kb of the tested transcripts. We identified 2,980 cerebellar cisSNP/transcript level associations (2,596 unique cisSNPs) significant in both ADs and non–ADs (q<0.05, p = 7.70×10−5–1.67×10−82). Of these, 2,089 were also significant in the temporal cortex (p = 1.85×10−5–1.70×10−141). The top cerebellar cisSNPs had 2.4-fold enrichment for human disease-associated variants (p<10−6). We identified novel cisSNP/transcript associations for human disease-associated variants, including progressive supranuclear palsy SLCO1A2/rs11568563, Parkinson's disease (PD) MMRN1/rs6532197, Paget's disease OPTN/rs1561570; and we confirmed others, including PD MAPT/rs242557, systemic lupus erythematosus and ulcerative colitis IRF5/rs4728142, and type 1 diabetes mellitus RPS26/rs1701704. In our eGWAS, there was 2.9–3.3 fold enrichment (p<10−6) of significant cisSNPs with suggestive AD–risk association (p<10−3) in the Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Consortium GWAS. These results demonstrate the significant contributions of genetic factors to human brain gene expression, which are reliably detected across different brain regions and pathologies. The significant enrichment of brain cisSNPs among disease-associated variants advocates gene expression changes as a mechanism for many central nervous system (CNS) and non–CNS diseases. Combined assessment of expression and disease GWAS may provide complementary information in discovery of human disease variants with functional implications. Our findings have implications for the design and interpretation of eGWAS in general and the use of brain expression quantitative trait loci in the study of human disease genetics.
Author Summary
Genetic variants that regulate gene expression levels can also influence human disease risk. Discovery of genomic loci that alter brain gene expression levels (brain expression quantitative trait loci = eQTLs) can be instrumental in the identification of genetic risk underlying both central nervous system (CNS) and non–CNS diseases. To systematically assess the role of brain eQTLs in human disease and to evaluate the influence of brain region and pathology in eQTL mapping, we performed an expression genome-wide association study (eGWAS) in 773 brain samples from the cerebellum and temporal cortex of ∼200 autopsied subjects with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and ∼200 with other brain pathologies (non–AD). We identified ∼3,000 significant associations between cisSNPs near ∼700 genes and their cerebellar transcript levels, which replicate in ADs and non–ADs. More than 2,000 of these associations were reproducible in the temporal cortex. The top cisSNPs are enriched for both CNS and non–CNS disease-associated variants. We identified novel and confirmed previous cisSNP/transcript associations for many disease loci, suggesting gene expression regulation as their mechanism of action. These findings demonstrate the reproducibility of the eQTL approach across different brain regions and pathologies, and advocate the combined use of gene expression and disease GWAS for identification and functional characterization of human disease-associated variants.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002707
PMCID: PMC3369937  PMID: 22685416
10.  Glutathione S-transferase omega genes in Alzheimer and Parkinson disease risk, age-at-diagnosis and brain gene expression: an association study with mechanistic implications 
Background
Glutathione S-transferase omega-1 and 2 genes (GSTO1, GSTO2), residing within an Alzheimer and Parkinson disease (AD and PD) linkage region, have diverse functions including mitigation of oxidative stress and may underlie the pathophysiology of both diseases. GSTO polymorphisms were previously reported to associate with risk and age-at-onset of these diseases, although inconsistent follow-up study designs make interpretation of results difficult. We assessed two previously reported SNPs, GSTO1 rs4925 and GSTO2 rs156697, in AD (3,493 ADs vs. 4,617 controls) and PD (678 PDs vs. 712 controls) for association with disease risk (case-controls), age-at-diagnosis (cases) and brain gene expression levels (autopsied subjects).
Results
We found that rs156697 minor allele associates with significantly increased risk (odds ratio = 1.14, p = 0.038) in the older ADs with age-at-diagnosis > 80 years. The minor allele of GSTO1 rs4925 associates with decreased risk in familial PD (odds ratio = 0.78, p = 0.034). There was no other association with disease risk or age-at-diagnosis. The minor alleles of both GSTO SNPs associate with lower brain levels of GSTO2 (p = 4.7 × 10-11-1.9 × 10-27), but not GSTO1. Pathway analysis of significant genes in our brain expression GWAS, identified significant enrichment for glutathione metabolism genes (p = 0.003).
Conclusion
These results suggest that GSTO locus variants may lower brain GSTO2 levels and consequently confer AD risk in older age. Other glutathione metabolism genes should be assessed for their effects on AD and other chronic, neurologic diseases.
doi:10.1186/1750-1326-7-13
PMCID: PMC3393625  PMID: 22494505
GSTO genes; Disease risk; Gene expression; Association
11.  Association of common KIBRA variants with episodic memory and AD risk 
Neurobiology of aging  2010;32(3):557.e1-557.e9.
KIBRA SNP rs17070145 was identified in a GWAS of memory performance, with some but not all follow-up studies confirming association of its T allele with enhanced memory. This allele was associated with reduced Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk in one study, which also found overexpression of KIBRA in memory-related brain regions of ADs. We genotyped rs17070145 and 14 additional SNPs in 2571 LOADs vs. 2842 controls, including African-Americans. We found significantly reduced risk for rs17070145 T allele in the older African-American subjects (p=0.007) and a suggestive effect in the older Caucasian series. Meta-analysis of this allele in >8000 subjects from our and published series showed a suggestive protective effect (p=0.07). Analysis of episodic memory in control subjects did not identify associations with rs17070145, though other SNPs showed significant associations in one series. KIBRA showed evidence of overexpression in the AD temporal cortex (p=0.06) but not cerebellum. These results suggest a modest role for KIBRA as a cognition and AD risk gene, and also highlight the multifactorial complexity of its genetic associations.
doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2010.11.004
PMCID: PMC3065956  PMID: 21185624
Alzheimer's disease; Association studies in genetics; Case control studies
12.  Gene expression endophenotypes: a novel approach for gene discovery in Alzheimer's disease 
Uncovering the underlying genetic component of any disease is key to the understanding of its pathophysiology and may open new avenues for development of therapeutic strategies and biomarkers. In the past several years, there has been an explosion of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) resulting in the discovery of novel candidate genes conferring risk for complex diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases. Despite this success, there still remains a substantial genetic component for many complex traits and conditions that is unexplained by the GWAS findings. Additionally, in many cases, the mechanism of action of the newly discovered disease risk variants is not inherently obvious. Furthermore, a genetic region with multiple genes may be identified via GWAS, making it difficult to discern the true disease risk gene. Several alternative approaches are proposed to overcome these potential shortcomings of GWAS, including the use of quantitative, biologically relevant phenotypes. Gene expression levels represent an important class of endophenotypes. Genetic linkage and association studies that utilize gene expression levels as endophenotypes determined that the expression levels of many genes are under genetic influence. This led to the postulate that there may exist many genetic variants that confer disease risk via modifying gene expression levels. Results from the handful of genetic studies which assess gene expression level endophenotypes in conjunction with disease risk suggest that this combined phenotype approach may both increase the power for gene discovery and lead to an enhanced understanding of their mode of action. This review summarizes the evidence in support of gene expression levels as promising endophenotypes in the discovery and characterization of novel candidate genes for complex diseases, which may also represent a novel approach in the genetic studies of Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.
doi:10.1186/1750-1326-6-31
PMCID: PMC3113300  PMID: 21569597
13.  Genetics of Alzheimer disease in the pre- and post-GWAS era 
Since the 1990s, the genetics of Alzheimer disease (AD) has been an active area of research. The identification of deterministic mutations in the APP, PSEN1, and PSEN2 genes responsible for early-onset autosomal dominant familial forms of AD led to a better understanding of the pathophysiology of this disease. In the past decade, the plethora of candidate genes and regions emerging from genetic linkage and smaller-scale association studies yielded intriguing 'hits' that have often proven difficult to replicate consistently. In the last two years, 11 published genome-wide association studies (GWASs) in AD confirmed the universally accepted role of APOE as a genetic risk factor for late-onset AD as well as generating additional candidate genes that require confirmation. It is unclear whether GWASs, though a promising novel approach in the genetics of complex diseases, can help explain most of the underlying genetic risk for AD. This review provides a brief summary of the genetic studies in AD preceding the GWAS era, with the main focus on the findings from recent GWASs. Potential approaches that could provide further insight into the genetics of AD in the post-GWAS era are also discussed.
doi:10.1186/alzrt26
PMCID: PMC2874262  PMID: 20236449
14.  Fine mapping of the α-T catenin gene to a quantitative trait locus on chromosome 10 in late-onset Alzheimer’s disease pedigrees 
Human molecular genetics  2003;12(23):3133-3143.
Using plasma amyloid β protein (Aβ42) levels as an intermediate, quantitative phenotype for late onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD), we previously obtained significant linkage at ~80 cM on chromosome 10. Linkage to the same region was obtained independently in a study of affected LOAD sib-pairs. Together, these two studies provide strong evidence for a novel LOAD locus on chromosome 10 that acts to increase Aβ42. VR22 is a large (1.7 Mb) gene located at 80 cM that encodes α-T catenin, which is a binding partner of β catenin. This makes VR22 an attractive candidate gene because β catenin interacts with presenilin 1, which has many mutations that elevate Aβ42 and cause early onset familial AD. We identified two intronic VR22 SNPs (4360 and 4783) in strong linkage disequilibrium (LD) that showed highly significant association (P = 0.0001 and 0.0006) with plasma Aβ42 in 10 extended LOAD families. This association clearly contributed to the linkage at ~80 cM because the lod scores decreased when linkage analysis was performed conditional upon the VR22 association. This association replicated in another independent set of 12 LOAD families (P = 0.04 for 4783 and P = 0.08 for 4360). Bounding of the association region using multiple SNPs showed VR22 to be the only confirmed gene within the region of association. These findings indicate that VR22 has variant(s) which influence Aβ42 and contribute to the previously reported linkage for plasma Aβ42 in LOAD families.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddg343
PMCID: PMC2836540  PMID: 14559775
15.  Genetics of Alzheimer’s Disease: A Centennial Review 
Neurologic clinics  2007;25(3):611-v.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) genetics may be one of the most prolifically published areas in medicine and biology. There are nearly 200 reviews on this topic since 1991, when the first report on an autosomal dominant mutation in the amyloid precursor protein gene (APP) came out. Three early-onset AD genes with causative mutations (APP, PS1, PS2) and one late-onset AD susceptibility gene (ApoE) exist with ample biological, genetic and epidemiological data and essentially universal acceptance about their roles in AD. Evidence from family and twin studies suggest a significant genetic component underlying AD which is not explained by the known genetic risk factors. The past 10 years in AD genetics research have led to ten independent whole genome linkage and association studies with implications for multiple genomic areas for harboring AD susceptibility genes. To date, there are about 900 papers reporting associations between variations in more than 350 genes spread over 23 autosomes. One hundred years after the first published article on Alzheimer’s disease, much is known about the pathophysiology of this disease, however much more remains to be discovered about its etiology. This review summarizes the evidence for the genetic component in AD, identification of the early-onset familial AD genes and ApoE, and the current state of knowledge for additional AD susceptibility loci and alleles. The future directions for genetic research in Alzheimer’s disease as a common and complex condition are also discussed.
doi:10.1016/j.ncl.2007.03.009
PMCID: PMC2735049  PMID: 17659183
Alzheimer’s disease; genetics; complex disease

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