H7 subtype influenza A viruses, responsible for numerous outbreaks in land-based poultry in Europe and the Americas, have caused over 100 cases of confirmed or presumed human infection over the last decade. The emergence of a highly pathogenic avian influenza H7N3 virus in poultry throughout the state of Jalisco, Mexico, resulting in two cases of human infection, prompted us to examine the virulence of this virus (A/Mexico/InDRE7218/2012 [MX/7218]) and related avian H7 subtype viruses in mouse and ferret models. Several high- and low-pathogenicity H7N3 and H7N9 viruses replicated efficiently in the respiratory tract of mice without prior adaptation following intranasal inoculation, but only MX/7218 virus caused lethal disease in this species. H7N3 and H7N9 viruses were also detected in the mouse eye following ocular inoculation. Virus from both H7N3 and H7N9 subtypes replicated efficiently in the upper and lower respiratory tracts of ferrets; however, only MX/7218 virus infection caused clinical signs and symptoms and was capable of transmission to naive ferrets in a direct-contact model. Similar to other highly pathogenic H7 viruses, MX/7218 replicated to high titers in human bronchial epithelial cells, yet it downregulated numerous genes related to NF-κB-mediated signaling transduction. These findings indicate that the recently isolated North American lineage H7 subtype virus associated with human conjunctivitis is capable of causing severe disease in mice and spreading to naive-contact ferrets, while concurrently retaining the ability to replicate within ocular tissue and allowing the eye to serve as a portal of entry.
Capecitabine, an oral 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) prodrug, is widely used in the treatment of breast, colorectal, and gastric cancers. To guide selection of patients potentially at greatest benefit of experiencing antitumor efficacy, or, alternatively, of developing toxicities, identifying genomic predictors of capecitabine sensitivity could permit its more informed use.
Our objective was to perform capecitabine sensitivity genome-wide association studies (GWAS) using 503 well-genotyped human cell lines from individuals representing multiple different world populations. Meta-analysis including all ethnic populations then enabled identification of novel germline determinants (SNPs) of capecitabine susceptibility.
First, intra-population GWAS of Caucasian individuals identified rs4702484 (within ADCY2) at a level reaching genome-wide significance (P=5.2×10−8). This SNP is located upstream of MTRR (5-methyltetrahydrofolate-homocysteine methyltransferase reductase), a gene whose enzyme is known to be involved in the methionine-folate biosynthesis and metabolism pathway that is the primary target of 5-FU-related compounds, although we were unable to find a direct relationship between rs4702484 and MTRR expression in a tested subset of cells. In the meta-analysis, 4 SNPs comprised the top hits including again rs4702484 and three additional SNPs (rs8101143, rs576523, rs361433) that approached genome-wide significance (P values 1.9×10−7—8.8×10−7). Meta-analysis also identified one missense variant (rs11722476; Ser to Asn) within SMARCAD1, a novel gene for association with capecitabine/5-FU susceptibility.
Toward the goal of individualizing cancer chemotherapy, our study identified novel SNPs and genes associated with capecitabine sensitivity that are potentially informative and testable in any patient, regardless of ethnicity.
capecitabine; susceptibility; pharmacogenomics; genome-wide; meta-analysis
Platinating agents are used in the treatment of many cancers, yet they can induce toxicities and resistance that limit their utility. Using previously published and additional world population panels of diverse ancestry totaling 608 lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs), we performed meta-analyses of over 3 million SNPs for both carboplatin- and cisplatin-induced cytotoxicity. The most significant SNP in the carboplatin meta-analysis is located in an intron of NBAS (p = 5.1 × 10−7). The most significant SNP in the cisplatin meta-analysis is upstream of KRT16P2 (p = 5.8 × 10−7). We also show that cisplatin-susceptibility SNPs are enriched for carboplatin-susceptibility SNPs. Most of the variants that associate with platinum-induced cytotoxicity are polymorphic across multiple world populations; therefore, they could be tested in follow-up studies in diverse clinical populations. Seven genes previously implicated in platinating agent response, including BCL2, GSTM1, GSTT1, ERCC2, and ERCC6 were also implicated in our meta-analyses.
meta-analysis; pharmacogenomics; cisplatin; carboplatin; cross-population
During the past century, 4 influenza pandemics occurred. After the emergence of a novel influenza virus of swine origin in 1976, national, state, and local US public health authorities began planning efforts to respond to future pandemics. Several events have since stimulated progress in public health emergency planning: the 1997 avian influenza A(H5N1) outbreak in Hong Kong, China; the 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States; the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome; and the 2003 reemergence of influenza A(H5N1) virus infection in humans. We outline the evolution of US pandemic planning since the late 1970s, summarize planning accomplishments, and explain their ongoing importance. The public health community’s response to the 2009 influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 pandemic demonstrated the value of planning and provided insights into improving future plans and response efforts. Preparedness planning will enhance the collective, multilevel response to future public health crises.
pandemic influenza; influenza; public health preparedness; pandemic planning; viruses
Given recent advances in the generation of high-throughput data such as whole-genome genetic variation and transcriptome expression, it is critical to come up with novel methods to integrate these heterogeneous datasets and to assess the significance of identified phenotype-genotype relationships. Recent studies show that genome-wide association findings are likely to fall in loci with gene regulatory effects such as expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs), demonstrating the utility of such integrative approaches. When genotype and gene expression data are available on the same individuals, we and others developed methods wherein top phenotype-associated genetic variants are prioritized if they are associated, as eQTLs, with gene expression traits that are themselves associated with the phenotype. Yet there has been no method to determine an overall p-value for the findings that arise specifically from the integrative nature of the approach. We propose a computationally feasible permutation method that accounts for the assimilative nature of the method and the correlation structure among gene expression traits and among genotypes. We apply the method to data from a study of cellular sensitivity to etoposide, one of the most widely used chemotherapeutic drugs. To our knowledge, this study is the first statistically sound quantification of the overall significance of the genotype-phenotype relationships resulting from applying an integrative approach. This method can be easily extended to cases in which gene expression data are replaced by other molecular phenotypes of interest, e.g., microRNA or proteomic data. This study has important implications for studies seeking to expand on genetic association studies by the use of omics data. Finally, we provide an R code to compute the empirical false discovery rate when p-values for the observed and simulated phenotypes are available.
eQTLs; FDR; gene expression; genomics; GWAS; integrative genomics; permutation; phenotype
Multiple breast cancer susceptibility loci have been identified in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in populations of European and Asian ancestry using array chips optimized for populations of European ancestry. It is important to examine whether these loci are associated with breast cancer risk in women of African ancestry. We evaluated 25 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at 19 loci in a pooled case–control study of breast cancer, which included 1509 cases and 1383 controls. Cases and controls were enrolled in Nigeria, Barbados and the USA; all women were of African ancestry. We found significant associations for three SNPs, which were in the same direction and of similar magnitude as those reported in previous fine-mapping studies in women of African ancestry. The allelic odds ratios were 1.24 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04–1.47; P = 0.018] for the rs2981578-G allele (10q26/FGFR2), 1.34 (95% CI: 1.10–1.63; P = 0.0035) for the rs9397435-G allele (6q25) and 1.12 (95% CI: 1.00–1.25; P = 0.04) for the rs3104793-C allele (16q12). Although a significant association was observed for an additional index SNP (rs3817198), it was in the opposite direction to prior GWAS studies. In conclusion, this study highlights the complexity of applying current GWAS findings across racial/ethnic groups, as none of GWAS-identified index SNPs could be replicated in women of African ancestry. Further fine-mapping studies in women of African ancestry will be needed to reveal additional and causal variants for breast cancer.
Over the past several years, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have succeeded in identifying hundreds of genetic markers associated with common diseases. However, most of these markers confer relatively small increments of risk and explain only a small proportion of familial clustering. To identify obstacles to future progress in genetic epidemiology research and provide recommendations to NIH for overcoming these barriers, the National Cancer Institute sponsored a workshop entitled “Next Generation Analytic Tools for Large-Scale Genetic Epidemiology Studies of Complex Diseases” on September 15–16, 2010. The goal of the workshop was to facilitate discussions on (1) statistical strategies and methods to efficiently identify genetic and environmental factors contributing to the risk of complex disease; and (2) how to develop, apply, and evaluate these strategies for the design, analysis, and interpretation of large-scale complex disease association studies in order to guide NIH in setting the future agenda in this area of research. The workshop was organized as a series of short presentations covering scientific (gene-gene and gene-environment interaction, complex phenotypes, and rare variants and next generation sequencing) and methodological (simulation modeling and computational resources and data management) topic areas. Specific needs to advance the field were identified during each session and are summarized.
gene-gene interactions; gene-environment interactions; rare variants; next generation sequencing; complex phenotypes; simulations; computational resources
DNA variants that affect alternative splicing and the relative quantities of different gene transcripts have been shown to be risk alleles for some Mendelian diseases. However, for complex traits characterized by a low odds ratio for any single contributing variant, very few studies have investigated the contribution of splicing variants. The overarching goal of this study is to discover and characterize the role that variants affecting alternative splicing may play in the genetic etiology of complex traits, which include a significant number of the common human diseases. Specifically, we hypothesize that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in splicing regulatory elements can be characterized in silico to identify variants affecting splicing, and that these variants may contribute to the etiology of complex diseases as well as the inter-individual variability in the ratios of alternative transcripts. We leverage high-throughput expression profiling to 1) experimentally validate our in silico predictions of skipped exons and 2) characterize the molecular role of intronic genetic variations in alternative splicing events in the context of complex human traits and diseases. We propose that intronic SNPs play a role as genetic regulators within splicing regulatory elements and show that their associated exon skipping events can affect protein domains and structure. We find that SNPs we would predict to affect exon skipping are enriched among the set of SNPs reported to be associated with complex human traits.
Alternative splicing is a common eukaryotic cellular mechanism that allows for the production of multiple proteins from one gene and occurs in 40%–90% of all human genes. Alternative splicing has been shown to be important for many critical biological processes, including development, evolution, and even psychological behavior. Additionally, alternative splicing has been associated with 15%–50% of human genetic diseases, including breast cancer; however, the precise mechanism by which genetic variations regulate this process remains to be fully elucidated. In this study, we develop an integrative approach that utilizes sequence-based analysis and genome-wide expression profiling to identify genetic variations that may affect alternative splicing. We also evaluate their enrichment among established disease-associated variations. Our study provides insights into the functionality of these variations and emphasizes their importance for complex human traits and diseases.
The purpose of this study is to attempt to replicate the top single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) associations from a previous genome-wide association study (GWAS) for the sight-threatening complications of diabetic retinopathy in an independent cohort of diabetic subjects from the Wisconsin Epidemiologic Study of Diabetic Retinopathy (WESDR).
This study included 469 type 1 diabetic, Caucasian subjects from WESDR. Cases (n = 208) were defined by prior laser treatment for either proliferative diabetic retinopathy or diabetic macular edema. Controls (n = 261) were all other subjects in the cohort. Three hundred eighty-nine SNPs were tested for association using the Illumina GoldenGate custom array. A retinopathy-only subanalysis was conducted in 437 subjects by removing those with end-stage renal disease. Evaluation for association between cases and controls was conducted by using chi-square tests. A combined analysis incorporated the results from WESDR with the prior GWAS.
No associations were significant at a genome-wide level. The analysis did identify SNPs that can be pursued in future replication studies. The top association was at rs4865047, an intronic SNP, in the gene CEP135 (P value 2.06 × 10−5). The top association from the subanalysis was at rs1902491 (P value 2.81 × 10−5), a SNP that sits upstream of the gene NPY2R.
This study nominates several novel genetic loci that may be associated with severe diabetic retinopathy. In order to confirm these findings, replication and extension in additional cohorts will be necessary as susceptibility alleles for diabetic retinopathy appear to be of modest effect.
In an attempt to replicate the top single nucleotide polymorphism associations from a previous genome-wide association, this study nominates genetic loci that may be associated with severe diabetic retinopathy.
A promoter-linked insertion/deletion polymorphism of the serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) has been implicated in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in numerous family-based association studies. However, the results of these investigations have been inconsistent in that both the long and short alleles have been shown to be over-transmitted to affected offspring. In order to further elucidate the relationship between the 5-HTTLPR variant and autism risk, we undertook a thorough study of parent-of-origin effects, maternal genotype effects, and offspring genotype effects in a sample of affected offspring from the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE). Both the overall autism phenotype and measures of autism behaviors from the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (Lord et al, 1994) were considered. We found evidence of over-transmission (risk allele short, p=0.012), maternal effects (risk allele long, p=0.035), and parent-of-origin effects (risk allele short from mother, p=0.018) of the 5-HTTLPR variant in the AGRE sample. Population-specific and gender-specific effects were also explored as associations may be heterogeneous across populations and sexes. Parent-of-origin effects of the variant were associated with maternally-inherited copies of the short allele that resulted in more impaired overall level of language (p=0.04). Our study was conducted to further investigate the 5-HTTLPR risk variants by identifying allelic associations that may be population-specific, phenotype-specific, or conferred by maternal or parent-of-origin effects. In light of conflicting observations from previous studies, these are just a few of the possible explanations that deserve attention.
Autism; 5-HTTLPR; maternal effects; parent-of-origin effects; association
Because animals can transmit some diseases to people, it is wise to be cautious around animals that carry these diseases. But how do you know which animals are carrying disease? Sometimes they appear perfectly healthy. A study of 57 apparently healthy show pigs at a 2009 US state fair found that almost 20% were carrying influenza virus and at least 4 were carrying the 2009 pandemic virus. Of concern is the possibility that different types of influenza virus—pandemic, swine, avian—could combine in pigs and emerge as new viruses that then spread to humans. Swine workers, veterinarians, and other persons with pig contact may be at high risk for infection with pig influenza and should receive seasonal influenza vaccines, use personal protective equipment when working with healthy pigs, and limit their contact with sick pigs. Regular monitoring of influenza virus among pigs and testing of sick persons who have been exposed to pigs are needed.
Within 5 months after the earliest detection of human influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus, we found molecular and culture evidence of the virus in healthy US show pigs. The mixing of humans and pigs at swine shows possibly could further the geographic and cross-species spread of influenza A viruses.
epidemiology; influenza; influenza A virus; porcine; occupational exposure; pigs; South Dakota; Minnesota; viruses; zoonoses; United States; pandemic influenza virus
Maternal 15q11-q13 duplication is the most common copy number variant in autism, accounting for ∼1-3% of cases. The 15q11-q13 region is subject to epigenetic regulation and genomic copy number losses and gains cause genomic disorders in a parent-of-origin-specific manner. One 15q11-q13 locus encodes the GABAA receptor β3 subunit gene (GABRB3), which has been implicated by several studies in both autism and absence epilepsy, and the co-morbidity of epilepsy in autism is well established. We report that maternal transmission of a GABRB3 signal peptide variant (P11S), previously implicated in childhood absence epilepsy, is associated with autism. Analysis of wild-type and mutant β3 subunit-containing α1β3γ2 GABAA receptors demonstrates reduced whole cell current and decreased β3 subunit protein on the cell surface due to impaired intracellular β3 subunit processing. We thus provide the first evidence for association between a specific GABAA receptor defect and autism, direct evidence that this defect causes synaptic dysfunction that is autism-relevant, and the first maternal risk effect in the 15q11-q13 autism duplication region linked to a coding variant.
autism; GABRB3; epilepsy; GABAA receptor; imprinting; mutation
Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness. The purpose of this study is to identify novel genetic loci associated with the sight threatening complications of diabetic retinopathy. We performed a meta-analysis of genome-wide association data for severe diabetic retinopathy as defined by diabetic macular edema or proliferative diabetic retinopathy in unrelated cases ascertained from two large, type I diabetic cohorts: the Genetics of Kidney in Diabetes (GoKinD) and the Epidemiology of Diabetes Intervention and Control Trial (EDIC) studies. Controls were other diabetic subjects in the cohort. A combined total of 2829 subjects (973 cases, 1856 controls) were studied on 2 543 887 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Subjects with nephropathy were excluded in a sub-analysis of 281 severe retinopathy cases. We also performed an association analysis of 1390 copy number variations (CNVs) using tag SNPs. No associations were significant at a genome-wide level after correcting for multiple measures. The meta-analysis did identify several associations that can be pursued in future replication studies, including an intergenic SNP, rs476141, on chromosome 1 (P-value 1.2 × 10−7). The most interesting signal from the CNV analysis came from the sub-group analysis without nephropathy subjects and is rs10521145 (P-value 3.4 × 10−6) in the intron of CCDC101, a histone acetyltransferase. This SNP tags the copy number region CNVR6685.1 on chromosome 16 at 28.5 Mb, a gain/loss site. In summary, this study nominates several novel genetic loci associated with the sight-threatening complications of diabetic retinopathy and anticipates future large-scale consortium-based validation studies.
Identifying patients prior to treatment who are more likely to benefit from chemotherapeutic agents or more likely to experience adverse events is the aim of personalized medicine. Pharmacogenomics offers a potential means of achieving this through the discovery of predictive germline genetic biomarkers. When applied particularly to the treatment of head and neck cancers, such information could offer significant benefit to patients as a means of potentially reducing morbidity associated with platinum-based chemotherapy. We developed a genome-wide cell-based approach to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with platinum susceptibility and then evaluated these SNPs as predictors for response and toxicity in head and neck cancer patients treated with platinum-based therapy as part of a phase II clinical trial. Sixty head and neck cancer patients were evaluated. Of 45 genome-wide SNPs examined, we found that two SNPs, rs6870861 (p=0.004; false discovery rate [FDR] <0.05) and rs2551038 (p=0.005; FDR <0.05), were significantly associated with overall response to carboplatin-based induction chemotherapy when incorporated into a model along with total carboplatin exposure. Interestingly, these two SNPs are strongly associated with the baseline expression of ≥20 genes (all p≤10−4) and two of the genes (SLC22A5 and SLCO4C1) are important organic cation/anion transporters known to affect platinum uptake and clearance. Several other SNPs were nominally associated with carboplatin-related hematologic toxicities. These findings importantly demonstrate that a genome-wide cell-based model can identify novel germline genetic biomarkers of platinum susceptibility which are replicable in a clinical setting with treated cancer patients and appear clinically meaningful for potentially enabling future personalization of care in such patients.
pharmacogenomics; platinating agents; head and neck cancers
The field of pharmacogenomics is focused on the characterization of genetic factors contributing to the response of patients to pharmacological interventions. Drug response and toxicity are complex traits; therefore the effects are likely influenced by multiple genes. The investigation of the genetic basis of drug response has evolved from a focus on single genes to relevant pathways to the entire genome. Preclinical (cell-based models) and clinical genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in oncology provide an unprecedented opportunity for a comprehensive and unbiased assessment of the heritable factors associated with drug response. The primary challenge with attempting to identify pharmacogenomic markers from clinical studies is that they require a homogenous population of patients treated with the same dosage regimen and minimal confounding variables. Therefore, the development of cell-based models for pharmacogenomic marker identification has utility for the field since performing these types of studies in humans is difficult and costly. The scope of this review is to provide a current report on the status of genomic studies in oncology, the methods for discovery and implications for patient care. We present a perspective and summary of the challenges and opportunities in translating heritable genomic discoveries to patients.
Because only a small fraction of asbestos-exposed individuals develop malignant mesothelioma1, and because mesothelioma clustering is observed in some families1, we searched for genetic predisposing factors. We discovered germline mutations in BAP1 (BRCA1-associated protein 1) in two families with a high incidence of mesothelioma. Somatic alterations affecting BAP1 were observed in familial mesotheliomas, indicating biallelic inactivation. Besides mesothelioma, some BAP1 mutation carriers developed uveal melanoma. Germline BAP1 mutations were also found in two of 26 sporadic mesotheliomas: both patients with mutant BAP1 were previously diagnosed with uveal melanoma. Truncating mutations and aberrant BAP1 expression were common in sporadic mesotheliomas without germline mutations. These results reveal a BAP1-related cancer syndrome characterized by mesothelioma and uveal melanoma. We hypothesize that other cancers may also be involved, and that mesothelioma predominates upon asbestos exposure. These findings will help identify individuals at high risk of mesothelioma who could be targeted for early intervention.
Utilizing a genome-wide gene expression dataset generated from Affymetrix GeneChip® Human Exon 1.0ST array, we comprehensively surveyed the role of 322 X chromosome gene expression traits on cellular sensitivity to cisplatin and carboplatin. We identified 31 and 17 X chromosome genes whose expression levels are significantly correlated (after multiple testing correction) with sensitivity to carboplatin and cisplatin, respectively, in the combined HapMap CEU and YRI populations (false discovery rate, FDR<0.05). Of those, 14 overlap for both cisplatin and carboplatin. Employing an independent gene expression quantification method, the Illumina Sentrix Human-6 Expression BeadChip, measured on the same HapMap cell lines, we found that 4 and 2 of these genes are significantly associated with carboplatin and cisplatin sensitivity respectively in both analyses. Two genes, CTPS2 and DLG3, were identified by both genome-wide gene expression analyses as correlated with cellular sensitivity to both platinating agents. The expression of DLG3 gene was also found to correlate with cellular sensitivity to platinating agents in NCI60 cancer cell lines. In addition, we evaluated the role of X chromosome gene expression to the observed differences in sensitivity to the platinums between CEU and YRI derived cell lines. Of the 34 distinct genes significantly correlated with either carboplatin or cisplatin sensitivity, 14 are differentially expressed (defined as p<0.05) between CEU and YRI. Thus, sex chromosome genes play a role in cellular sensitivity to platinating agents and differences in the expression level of these genes are an important source of variation that should be included in comprehensive pharmacogenomic studies.
platinum agents; X chromosome gene expression; population differences
Utilizing cell-based approaches to identify genetic markers predictive of patients’ risk for poor response prior to chemotherapy.
We performed genome-wide association studies (GWASs) to identify SNPs associated with cellular sensitivity to carboplatin through their effects on mRNA expression using International HapMap lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) and replicated them in additional LCLs. SNPs passing both stages of the cell-based study were tested for association with progression free survival (PFS) in patients. Phase-1 validation was based on 377 ovarian cancer patients receiving at least 4-cycle of carboplatin and paclitaxel from the Australian Ovarian Cancer Study (AOCS). Positive associations were then assessed in the phase-2 validation analysis of 1,326 patients from the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium and The Cancer Genome Atlas.
In the initial GWAS, 342 SNPs were associated with carboplatin-induced cytotoxicity, of which 18 unique SNPs were retained after assessing their association with gene expression. One SNP (rs1649942) was replicated in an independent LCL set (p-valueBonferroni adjusted=9×10−3). It was found to be significantly associated with decreased PFS in phase-1 AOCS patients (Pper-allele=2×10−2), with a stronger effect in the subset of women with optimally debulked tumours (Pper-allele =4×10−3). rs1649942 was also associated with poorer overall survival in women with optimally debulked tumours (Pper-allele=9×10−3). However, this SNP was not significant in the phase-2 validation with patients from numerous cohorts.
This study demonstrates the potential of cell-based, genome-wide approaches to identify germ-line predictors of treatment outcome and highlights the need for extensive validation in patients to assess their clinical effect.
ovarian cancer; pharmacogenomics; carboplatin; genome-wide study; HapMap CEU
The International HapMap project has made publicly available extensive genotypic data on a number of lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs). Building on this resource, many research groups have generated a large amount of phenotypic data on these cell lines to facilitate genetic studies of disease risk or drug response. However, one problem that may reduce the usefulness of these resources is the biological noise inherent to cellular phenotypes. We developed a novel method, termed Mixed Effects Model Averaging (MEM), which pools data from multiple sources and generates an intrinsic cellular growth rate phenotype. This intrinsic growth rate was estimated for each of over 500 HapMap cell lines. We then examined the association of this intrinsic growth rate with gene expression levels and found that almost 30% (2,967 out of 10,748) of the genes tested were significant with FDR less than 10%. We probed further to demonstrate evidence of a genetic effect on intrinsic growth rate by determining a significant enrichment in growth-associated genes among genes targeted by top growth-associated SNPs (as eQTLs). The estimated intrinsic growth rate as well as the strength of the association with genetic variants and gene expression traits are made publicly available through a cell-based pharmacogenomics database, PACdb. This resource should enable researchers to explore the mediating effects of proliferation rate on other phenotypes.
Cell-based models provide a convenient system to conduct studies that would be impossible to apply to human subjects, but the phenotypes measured on these models can be marred with biological noise. We propose a method (MEM) to address this issue by statistically combining data from various sources, and we apply it to the proliferation rates of cell lines collected as part of the International HapMap project. We show that the proliferation rate computed using our method is a better measure of the true proliferation rate of the cells and produces a much stronger association with gene expression phenotypes on the same cell lines: more than 30% of the genes tested were significantly associated with proliferation rate. We also demonstrate that genetic variants have an effect on growth rate. Finally, we make these intrinsic proliferation rates and the strength of the association with gene expression phenotypes public, which should allow other researchers to explore the mediating effects of proliferation on other phenotypes.
As genotyping technology has progressed, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have matured into efficient and effective tools for mapping genes underlying human phenotypes. Recent studies have demonstrated the utility of the GWAS approach for examining pharmacogenomic traits, including drug metabolism, efficacy, and toxicity. Application of GWAS to pharmacogenomic outcomes presents unique challenges and opportunities. In the current review, we discuss the potential promises and potential caveats of this approach specifically as it relates to pharmacogenomic studies. Concerns with study design, power and sample size, and analysis are reviewed. We further examine the features of successful pharmacogenomic GWAS, and describe consortia efforts that are likely to expand the reach of pharmacogenomic GWAS in the future.
Genome-wide association; GWAS; pharmacogenetic; pharmacogenomic; drug response; drug metabolism; toxicity
Common genetic variants in GCK and TCF7L2 are associated with higher fasting glucose and type 2 diabetes in nonpregnant populations. However, their associations with glucose levels from oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs) in pregnancy have not been assessed in a large sample. We hypothesized that these variants are associated with quantitative measures of glycemia in pregnancy.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We analyzed the associations between variants rs1799884 (GCK) and rs7903146 (TCF7L2) and OGTT outcomes at 24–32 weeks' gestation in 3,811 mothers of European (U.K. and Australia) and 1,706 mothers of Asian (Thailand) ancestry from the HAPO cohort. We also tested associations with offspring birth anthropometrics.
The maternal GCK variant was associated with higher fasting glucose in Europeans (P = 0.001) and Thais (P < 0.0001), 1-h glucose in Europeans (P = 0.001), and 2-h glucose in Thais (P = 0.005). It was also associated with higher European offspring birth weight, fat mass, and skinfold thicknesses (P < 0.05). The TCF7L2 variant was associated with all three maternal glucose outcomes (P = 0.03, P < 0.0001, and P < 0.0001 for fasting and 1-h and 2-h glucose, respectively) in the Europeans but not in the Thais (P > 0.05). In both populations, both variants were associated with higher odds of gestational diabetes mellitus according to the new International Association of Diabetes and Pregnancy Study Groups recommendations (P = 0.001–0.08).
Maternal GCK and TCF7L2 variants are associated with glucose levels known to carry an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcome in women without overt diabetes. Further studies will be important to determine the variance in maternal glucose explained by all known genetic variants.
Influenza viruses isolated during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic generally lack known molecular determinants of virulence associated with previous pandemic and highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses. The frequency of the amino acid substitution D222G in the hemagglutinin (HA) of 2009 H1N1 viruses isolated from severe but not mild human cases represents the first molecular marker associated with enhanced disease. To assess the relative contribution of this substitution in virus pathogenesis, transmission, and tropism, we introduced D222G by reverse genetics in the wild-type HA of the 2009 H1N1 virus, A/California/04/09 (CA/04). A dose-dependent glycan array analysis with the D222G virus showed a modest reduction in the binding avidity to human-like (α2-6 sialylated glycan) receptors and an increase in the binding to avian-like (α2-3 sialylated glycan) receptors in comparison with wild-type virus. In the ferret pathogenesis model, the D222G mutant virus was found to be similar to wild-type CA/04 virus with respect to lethargy, weight loss and replication efficiency in the upper and lower respiratory tract. Moreover, based on viral detection, the respiratory droplet transmission properties of these two viruses were found to be similar. The D222G virus failed to productively infect mice inoculated by the ocular route, but exhibited greater viral replication and weight loss than wild-type CA/04 virus in mice inoculated by the intranasal route. In a more relevant human cell model, D222G virus replicated with delayed kinetics compared with wild-type virus but to higher titer in human bronchial epithelial cells. These findings suggest that although the D222G mutation does not influence virus transmission, it may be considered a molecular marker for enhanced replication in certain cell types.