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1.  Phenotypic characteristics of early Wolfram syndrome 
Background
Wolfram Syndrome (WFS:OMIM 222300) is an autosomal recessive, progressive, neurologic and endocrinologic degenerative disorder caused by mutations in the WFS1 gene, encoding the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) protein wolframin, thought to be involved in the regulation of ER stress. This paper reports a cross section of data from the Washington University WFS Research Clinic, a longitudinal study to collect detailed phenotypic data on a group of young subjects in preparation for studies of therapeutic interventions.
Methods
Eighteen subjects (ages 5.9–25.8, mean 14.2 years) with genetically confirmed WFS were identified through the Washington University International Wolfram Registry. Examinations included: general medical, neurologic, ophthalmologic, audiologic, vestibular, and urologic exams, cognitive testing and neuroimaging.
Results
Seventeen (94%) had diabetes mellitus with the average age of diabetes onset of 6.3 ± 3.5 years. Diabetes insipidus was diagnosed in 13 (72%) at an average age of 10.6 ± 3.3 years. Seventeen (94%) had optic disc pallor and defects in color vision, 14 (78%) had hearing loss and 13 (72%) had olfactory defects, eight (44%) had impaired vibration sensation. Enuresis was reported by four (22%) and nocturia by three (17%). Of the 11 tested for bladder emptying, five (45%) had elevated post-void residual bladder volume.
Conclusions
WFS causes multiple endocrine and neurologic deficits detectable on exam, even early in the course of the disease. Defects in olfaction have been underappreciated. The proposed mechanism of these deficits in WFS is ER stress-induced damage to neuronal and hormone-producing cells. This group of subjects with detailed clinical phenotyping provides a pool for testing proposed treatments for ER stress. Longitudinal follow-up is necessary for establishing the natural history and identifying potential biomarkers of progression.
doi:10.1186/1750-1172-8-64
PMCID: PMC3651298  PMID: 23981289
Diabetes mellitus; DIDMOAD; Diabetes insipidus; Hearing loss; Optic atrophy; Color blindness; Neurodegenerative disorder
2.  Detailed Investigation of the Role of Common and Low-Frequency WFS1 Variants in Type 2 Diabetes Risk 
Diabetes  2009;59(3):741-746.
OBJECTIVE
Wolfram syndrome 1 (WFS1) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are associated with risk of type 2 diabetes. In this study we aimed to refine this association and investigate the role of low-frequency WFS1 variants in type 2 diabetes risk.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
For fine-mapping, we sequenced WFS1 exons, splice junctions, and conserved noncoding sequences in samples from 24 type 2 diabetic case and 68 control subjects, selected tagging SNPs, and genotyped these in 959 U.K. type 2 diabetic case and 1,386 control subjects. The same genomic regions were sequenced in samples from 1,235 type 2 diabetic case and 1,668 control subjects to compare the frequency of rarer variants between case and control subjects.
RESULTS
Of 31 tagging SNPs, the strongest associated was the previously untested 3′ untranslated region rs1046320 (P = 0.008); odds ratio 0.84 and P = 6.59 × 10−7 on further replication in 3,753 case and 4,198 control subjects. High correlation between rs1046320 and the original strongest SNP (rs10010131) (r2 = 0.92) meant that we could not differentiate between their effects in our samples. There was no difference in the cumulative frequency of 82 rare (minor allele frequency [MAF] <0.01) nonsynonymous variants between type 2 diabetic case and control subjects (P = 0.79). Two intermediate frequency (MAF 0.01–0.05) nonsynonymous changes also showed no statistical association with type 2 diabetes.
CONCLUSIONS
We identified six highly correlated SNPs that show strong and comparable associations with risk of type 2 diabetes, but further refinement of these associations will require large sample sizes (>100,000) or studies in ethnically diverse populations. Low frequency variants in WFS1 are unlikely to have a large impact on type 2 diabetes risk in white U.K. populations, highlighting the complexities of undertaking association studies with low-frequency variants identified by resequencing.
doi:10.2337/db09-0920
PMCID: PMC2828659  PMID: 20028947
3.  Detailed investigation of the role of common and low frequency WFS1 variants in type 2 diabetes risk 
Diabetes  2009;59(3):741-746.
OBJECTIVE
WFS1 (Wolfram Syndrome 1) SNPs are associated with risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Here, we aimed to refine this association and investigate the role of low frequency WFS1 variants in T2D risk.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
For fine-mapping, we sequenced WFS1 exons, splice junctions and conserved non-coding sequences in 24 T2D cases and 68 controls, selected tagging SNPs, and genotyped these in 959 UK T2D cases and 1386 controls. The same genomic regions were sequenced in 1235 T2D cases and 1668 controls to compare the frequency of rarer variants between cases and controls.
RESULTS
Of 31 tagging SNPs, the strongest associated was the previously untested 3′ UTR rs1046320 (P=0.008); OR=0.84, P=6.59 × 10−7 on further replication in 3753 cases and 4198 controls. High correlation between rs1046320 and the original strongest SNP (rs10010131) (r2=0.92) meant that we could not differentiate between their effects in our samples. There was no difference in the cumulative frequency of 82 rare (MAF<0.01) non-synonymous variants between T2D cases and controls (P=0.79). Two intermediate frequency (MAF 0.01-0.05) non-synonymous changes also showed no statistical association with T2D.
CONCLUSION
We identified six highly correlated SNPs that show strong and comparable associations with risk of T2D association but further refinement of these associations will require large sample sizes (>100,000), or studies in ethnically diverse populations. Low frequency variants in WFS1 are unlikely to have a large impact on T2D risk in white UK populations, highlighting the complexities of undertaking association studies with low frequency variants identified by re-sequencing.
doi:10.2337/db09-0920
PMCID: PMC2828659  PMID: 20028947
4.  Gene-Gene Interactions Lead to Higher Risk for Development of Type 2 Diabetes in an Ashkenazi Jewish Population 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(3):e9903.
Background
Evidence has accumulated that multiple genetic and environmental factors play important roles in determining susceptibility to type 2 diabetes (T2D). Although variants from candidate genes have become prime targets for genetic analysis, few studies have considered their interplay. Our goal was to evaluate interactions among SNPs within genes frequently identified as associated with T2D.
Methods/Principal Findings
Logistic regression was used to study interactions among 4 SNPs, one each from HNF4A[rs1884613], TCF7L2[rs12255372], WFS1[rs10010131], and KCNJ11[rs5219] in a case-control Ashkenazi sample of 974 diabetic subjects and 896 controls. Nonparametric multifactor dimensionality reduction (MDR) and generalized MDR (GMDR) were used to confirm findings from the logistic regression analysis. HNF4A and WFS1 SNPs were associated with T2D in logistic regression analyses [P<0.0001, P<0.0002, respectively]. Interaction between these SNPs were also strong using parametric or nonparametric methods: the unadjusted odds of being affected with T2D was 3 times greater in subjects with the HNF4A and WFS1 risk alleles than those without either (95% CI = [1.7–5.3]; P≤0.0001). Although the univariate association between the TCF7L2 SNP and T2D was relatively modest [P = 0.02], when paired with the HNF4A SNP, the OR for subjects with risk alleles in both SNPs was 2.4 [95% CI = 1.7–3.4; P≤0.0001]. The KCNJ11 variant reached significance only when paired with either the HNF4A or WFSI SNPs: unadjusted ORs were 2.0 [95% CI = 1.4–2.8; P≤0.0001] and 2.3 [95% CI = 1.2-4.4; P≤0.0001], respectively. MDR and GMDR results were consistent with the parametric findings.
Conclusions
These results provide evidence of strong independent associations between T2D and SNPs in HNF4A and WFS1 and their interaction in our Ashkenazi sample. We also observed an interaction in the nonparametric analysis between the HNF4A and KCNJ11 SNPs (P≤0.001), demonstrating that an independently non-significant variant may interact with another variant resulting in an increased disease risk.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009903
PMCID: PMC2845632  PMID: 20361036
5.  Population-Specific Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Conferred by HNF4A P2 Promoter Variants 
Diabetes  2008;57(11):3161-3165.
OBJECTIVE—Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the P2 promoter region of HNF4A were originally shown to be associated with predisposition for type 2 diabetes in Finnish, Ashkenazi, and, more recently, Scandinavian populations, but they generated conflicting results in additional populations. We aimed to investigate whether data from a large-scale mapping approach would replicate this association in novel Ashkenazi samples and in U.K. populations and whether these data would allow us to refine the association signal.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—Using a dense linkage disequilibrium map of 20q, we selected SNPs from a 10-Mb interval centered on HNF4A. In a staged approach, we first typed 4,608 SNPs in case-control populations from four U.K. populations and an Ashkenazi population (n = 2,516). In phase 2, a subset of 763 SNPs was genotyped in 2,513 additional samples from the same populations.
RESULTS—Combined analysis of both phases demonstrated association between HNF4A P2 SNPs (rs1884613 and rs2144908) and type 2 diabetes in the Ashkenazim (n = 991; P < 1.6 × 10−6). Importantly, these associations are significant in a subset of Ashkenazi samples (n = 531) not previously tested for association with P2 SNPs (odds ratio [OR] ∼1.7; P < 0.002), thus providing replication within the Ashkenazim. In the U.K. populations, this association was not significant (n = 4,022; P > 0.5), and the estimate for the OR was much smaller (OR 1.04; [95%CI 0.91–1.19]).
CONCLUSIONS—These data indicate that the risk conferred by HNF4A P2 is significantly different between U.K. and Ashkenazi populations (P < 0.00007), suggesting that the underlying causal variant remains unidentified. Interactions with other genetic or environmental factors may also contribute to this difference in risk between populations.
doi:10.2337/db08-0719
PMCID: PMC2570416  PMID: 18728231
6.  Variants in the CD36 gene associate with the metabolic syndrome and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol 
Human molecular genetics  2008;17(11):1695-1704.
A region along chromosome 7q was recently linked to components of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) in several genome-wide linkage studies. Within this region, the CD36 gene, which encodes a membrane receptor for long-chain fatty acids and lipoproteins, is a potentially important candidate. CD36 has been documented to play an important role in fatty acid metabolism in vivo and subsequently may be involved in the etiology of the MetS. The protein also impacts survival to malaria and the influence of natural selection has resulted in high CD36 genetic variability in populations of African descent. We evaluated 36 tag SNPs across CD36 in the HyperGen population sample of 2020 African-Americans for impact on the MetS and its quantitative traits. Five SNPs associated with increased odds for the MetS [P = 0.0027–0.03, odds ratio (OR) = 1.3–1.4]. Coding SNP, rs3211938, previously shown to influence malaria susceptibility, is documented to result in CD36 deficiency in a homozygous subject. This SNP conferred protection against the MetS (P = 0.0012, OR = 0.61, 95%CI: 0.46–0.82), increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, HDL-C (P = 0.00018) and decreased triglycerides (P = 0.0059). Fifteen additional SNPs associated with HDL-C (P = 0.0028–0.044). We conclude that CD36 variants may impact MetS pathophysiology and HDL metabolism, both predictors of the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddn060
PMCID: PMC2655228  PMID: 18305138
7.  Variants in the CD36 gene associate with the metabolic syndrome and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol 
Human Molecular Genetics  2008;17(11):1695-1704.
A region along chromosome 7q was recently linked to components of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) in several genome-wide linkage studies. Within this region, the CD36 gene, which encodes a membrane receptor for long-chain fatty acids and lipoproteins, is a potentially important candidate. CD36 has been documented to play an important role in fatty acid metabolism in vivo and subsequently may be involved in the etiology of the MetS. The protein also impacts survival to malaria and the influence of natural selection has resulted in high CD36 genetic variability in populations of African descent. We evaluated 36 tag SNPs across CD36 in the HyperGen population sample of 2020 African-Americans for impact on the MetS and its quantitative traits. Five SNPs associated with increased odds for the MetS [P = 0.0027–0.03, odds ratio (OR) = 1.3–1.4]. Coding SNP, rs3211938, previously shown to influence malaria susceptibility, is documented to result in CD36 deficiency in a homozygous subject. This SNP conferred protection against the MetS (P = 0.0012, OR = 0.61, 95%CI: 0.46–0.82), increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, HDL-C (P = 0.00018) and decreased triglycerides (P = 0.0059). Fifteen additional SNPs associated with HDL-C (P = 0.0028–0.044). We conclude that CD36 variants may impact MetS pathophysiology and HDL metabolism, both predictors of the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddn060
PMCID: PMC2655228  PMID: 18305138
8.  Population-Specific Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Conferred by HNF4A P2 Promoter Variants 
Diabetes  2008;57(11):3161-3165.
OBJECTIVE
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the P2 promoter region of HNF4A were originally shown to be associated with predisposition for type 2 diabetes in Finnish, Ashkenazi, and, more recently, Scandinavian populations, but they generated conflicting results in additional populations. We aimed to investigate whether data from a large-scale mapping approach would replicate this association in novel Ashkenazi samples and in U.K. populations and whether these data would allow us to refine the association signal.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Using a dense linkage disequilibrium map of 20q, we selected SNPs from a 10-Mb interval centered on HNF4A. In a staged approach, we first typed 4,608 SNPs in case-control populations from four U.K. populations and an Ashkenazi population (n = 2,516). In phase 2, a subset of 763 SNPs was genotyped in 2,513 additional samples from the same populations.
RESULTS
Combined analysis of both phases demonstrated association between HNF4A P2 SNPs (rs1884613 and rs2144908) and type 2 diabetes in the Ashkenazim (n = 991; P < 1.6 × 10−6). Importantly, these associations are significant in a subset of Ashkenazi samples (n = 531) not previously tested for association with P2 SNPs (odds ratio [OR] ~1.7; P < 0.002), thus providing replication within the Ashkenazim. In the U.K. populations, this association was not significant (n = 4,022; P > 0.5), and the estimate for the OR was much smaller (OR 1.04; [95%CI 0.91-1.19]).
CONCLUSIONS
These data indicate that the risk conferred by HNF4A P2 is significantly different between U.K. and Ashkenazi populations (P < 0.00007), suggesting that the underlying causal variant remains unidentified. Interactions with other genetic or environmental factors may also contribute to this difference in risk between populations.
doi:10.2337/db08-0719
PMCID: PMC2570416  PMID: 18728231
9.  Common variants in WFS1 confer risk of type 2 diabetes 
Nature genetics  2007;39(8):951-953.
We studied genes involved in pancreatic β cell function and survival, identifying associations between SNPs in WFS1 and diabetes risk in UK populations that we replicated in an Ashkenazi population and in additional UK studies. In a pooled analysis comprising 9,533 cases and 11,389 controls, SNPs in WFS1 were strongly associated with diabetes risk. Rare mutations in WFS1 cause Wolfram syndrome; using a gene-centric approach, we show that variation in WFS1 also predisposes to common type 2 diabetes.
doi:10.1038/ng2067
PMCID: PMC2672152  PMID: 17603484
10.  Post Genome-Wide Association Studies of Novel Genes Associated with Type 2 Diabetes Show Gene-Gene Interaction and High Predictive Value 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(5):e2031.
Background
Recently, several Genome Wide Association (GWA) studies in populations of European descent have identified and validated novel single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), highly associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Our aims were to validate these markers in other European and non-European populations, then to assess their combined effect in a large French study comparing T2D and normal glucose tolerant (NGT) individuals.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In the same French population analyzed in our previous GWA study (3,295 T2D and 3,595 NGT), strong associations with T2D were found for CDKAL1 (ORrs7756992 = 1.30[1.19–1.42], P = 2.3×10−9), CDKN2A/2B (ORrs10811661 = 0.74[0.66–0.82], P = 3.5×10−8) and more modestly for IGFBP2 (ORrs1470579 = 1.17[1.07–1.27], P = 0.0003) SNPs. These results were replicated in both Israeli Ashkenazi (577 T2D and 552 NGT) and Austrian (504 T2D and 753 NGT) populations (except for CDKAL1) but not in the Moroccan population (521 T2D and 423 NGT). In the overall group of French subjects (4,232 T2D and 4,595 NGT), IGFBP2 and CXCR4 synergistically interacted with (LOC38776, SLC30A8, HHEX) and (NGN3, CDKN2A/2B), respectively, encoding for proteins presumably regulating pancreatic endocrine cell development and function. The T2D risk increased strongly when risk alleles, including the previously discovered T2D-associated TCF7L2 rs7903146 SNP, were combined (8.68-fold for the 14% of French individuals carrying 18 to 30 risk alleles with an allelic OR of 1.24). With an area under the ROC curve of 0.86, only 15 novel loci were necessary to discriminate French individuals susceptible to develop T2D.
Conclusions/Significance
In addition to TCF7L2, SLC30A8 and HHEX, initially identified by the French GWA scan, CDKAL1, IGFBP2 and CDKN2A/2B strongly associate with T2D in French individuals, and mostly in populations of Central European descent but not in Moroccan subjects. Genes expressed in the pancreas interact together and their combined effect dramatically increases the risk for T2D, opening avenues for the development of genetic prediction tests.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002031
PMCID: PMC2346547  PMID: 18461161

Results 1-10 (10)