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1.  Genetic variants affecting alternative splicing of human cholesteryl ester transfer protein 
Cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) plays an important role in reverse cholesterol transport, with decreased CETP activity increasing HDL levels. Formation of an alternative splice form lacking exon 9 (Δ9-CETP) has been associated with two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in high linkage disequilibrium with each other, namely rs9930761 T>C located in intron 8 in a putative splicing branch site and rs5883 C>T in a possible exonic splicing enhancer (ESE) site in exon 9. To assess the relative effect of rs9930761 and rs5883 on splicing, mini-gene constructs spanning CETP exons 8 to 10, carrying all four possible allele combinations, were transfected into HEK293 and HepG2 cells. The minor T allele of rs5883 enhanced splicing significantly in both cell lines whereas the minor C allele of rs9930761 did not. In combination, the two alleles did not yield greater splicing than the rs5883 T allele alone in HepG2 cells. These results indicate that the genetic effect on CETP splicing is largely attributable to rs5883. We also confirm that Δ9-CETP protein is expressed in the liver but fails to circulate in the blood.
doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2013.12.127
PMCID: PMC3929938  PMID: 24393849
Cholesteryl ester transfer protein; coronary artery disease; statin; alternative splicing; CETP levels in liver and plasma
2.  Common CYP2D6 polymorphisms affecting alternative splicing and transcription: long-range haplotypes with two regulatory variants modulate CYP2D6 activity 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;23(1):268-278.
Cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) is involved in the metabolism of 25% of clinically used drugs. Genetic polymorphisms cause substantial variation in CYP2D6 activity and serve as biomarkers guiding drug therapy. However, genotype–phenotype relationships remain ambiguous except for poor metabolizers carrying null alleles, suggesting the presence of yet unknown genetic variants. Searching for regulatory CYP2D6 polymorphisms, we find that a SNP defining the CYP2D6*2 allele, rs16947 [R296C, 17–60% minor allele frequency (MAF)], previously thought to convey normal activity, alters exon 6 splicing, thereby reducing CYP2D6 expression at least 2-fold. In addition, two completely linked SNPs (rs5758550/rs133333, MAF 13–42%) increase CYP2D6 transcription more than 2-fold, located in a distant downstream enhancer region (>100 kb) that interacts with the CYP2D6 promoter. In high linkage disequilibrium (LD) with each other, rs16947 and the enhancer SNPs form haplotypes that affect CYP2D6 enzyme activity in vivo. In a pediatric cohort of 164 individuals, rs16947 alone (minor haplotype frequency 28%) was associated with reduced CYP2D6 metabolic activity (measured as dextromethorphan/metabolite ratios), whereas rs5758550/rs133333 alone (frequency 3%) resulted in increased CYP2D6 activity, while haplotypes containing both rs16947 and rs5758550/rs133333 were similar to the wild-type. Other alleles used in biomarker panels carrying these variants such as CYP2D6*41 require re-evaluation of independent effects on CYP2D6 activity. The occurrence of two regulatory variants of high frequency and in high LD, residing on a long haplotype, highlights the importance of gene architecture, likely shaped by evolutionary selection pressures, in determining activity of encoded proteins.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddt417
PMCID: PMC3857955  PMID: 23985325
3.  Association study of the estrogen receptor gene ESR1 with post-partum depression – a pilot study 
Archives of women's mental health  2013;16(6):10.1007/s00737-013-0373-8.
Perinatal mood disorders, such as postpartum depression (PPD) are costly for society, with potentially serious consequences for mother and child. While multiple genes appear to play a role in PPD susceptibility, the contributions of specific genetic variations remain unclear. Previously implicated as a candidate gene, the estrogen receptor alpha gene (ESR1) is a key player in mediating hormonal differences during pregnancy and the postpartum period. This study addresses genetic factors in perinatal mood disorders, testing 9 polymorphisms in ESR1. 257 postpartum women were screened for mood disorders, including 52 women with PPD and 32 without any symptoms of mood disorders. We detected a significant association for the upstream TA microsatellite repeat with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (p=0.007). The same variant was also associated with the occurrence of PPD. Separately, 11 candidate functional polymorphisms in 7 additional genes were genotyped to investigate gene-gene interaction with the ESR1 TA repeat, identifying a potential interaction with the serotonin transporter. Our results support a role for ESR1 in the etiology of PPD, possibly through the modulation of serotonin signaling. Our findings for ESR1 could have broad implications for other disorders and therapies that involve estrogens.
doi:10.1007/s00737-013-0373-8
PMCID: PMC3833886  PMID: 23917948
Post-partum depression; Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale; ESR1 Estrogen receptor; Genetic variation; SNP
4.  Expression of mRNA transcripts encoding membrane transporters detected with whole transcriptome sequencing of human brain and liver 
Pharmacogenetics and genomics  2013;23(5):269-278.
Background
Membrane transporters control the influx and efflux of endogenous and xenobiotic substrates, including nutrients and drugs, across cellular membranes.
Objective
Whole transcriptome sequencing enables simultaneous analysis of overall and allele-specific mRNA expression, and the detection of multiple RNA isoforms.
Methods
Here we characterize variation in RNA transcripts emanating from gene loci encoding transporters based on RNAseq data from 10 human brains (including cocaine overdose and normal brain tissues) and 12 normal livers.
Results
mRNA expression was detected in 65% of transporter genes in either tissue, with many genes generating multiple mRNA transcripts. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms within transporters with previous evidence for pharmacogenomics impact were detected. We also identified noncoding RNAs in the vicinity of transporter genes with potential regulatory functions.
Conclusion
The results obtained with RNAseq provide detailed information on transporter mRNA expression at the molecular level, affording new avenues for the study of membrane transport, with relevance to drug efficacy and toxicity.
doi:10.1097/FPC.0b013e32835ff536
PMCID: PMC4132188  PMID: 23492907
alternative splicing; gene expression; RNAseq; transporters
5.  Design and Implementation of a Randomized Controlled Trial of Genomic Counseling for Patients with Chronic Disease 
We describe the development and implementation of a randomized controlled trial to investigate the impact of genomic counseling on a cohort of patients with heart failure (HF) or hypertension (HTN), managed at a large academic medical center, the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (OSUWMC). Our study is built upon the existing Coriell Personalized Medicine Collaborative (CPMC®). OSUWMC patient participants with chronic disease (CD) receive eight actionable complex disease and one pharmacogenomic test report through the CPMC® web portal. Participants are randomized to either the in-person post-test genomic counseling—active arm, versus web-based only return of results—control arm. Study-specific surveys measure: (1) change in risk perception; (2) knowledge retention; (3) perceived personal control; (4) health behavior change; and, for the active arm (5), overall satisfaction with genomic counseling. This ongoing partnership has spurred creation of both infrastructure and procedures necessary for the implementation of genomics and genomic counseling in clinical care and clinical research. This included creation of a comprehensive informed consent document and processes for prospective return of actionable results for multiple complex diseases and pharmacogenomics (PGx) through a web portal, and integration of genomic data files and clinical decision support into an EPIC-based electronic medical record. We present this partnership, the infrastructure, genomic counseling approach, and the challenges that arose in the design and conduct of this ongoing trial to inform subsequent collaborative efforts and best genomic counseling practices.
doi:10.3390/jpm4010001
PMCID: PMC4051230  PMID: 24926413
implementation; genomics; medicine; randomized; patients; counseling; actionable; risk perception; pharmacogenomics
6.  DRD2/CHRNA5 Interaction on Prefrontal Biology and Physiology during Working Memory 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e95997.
Background
Prefrontal behavior and activity in humans are heritable. Studies in animals demonstrate an interaction between dopamine D2 receptors and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors on prefrontal behavior but evidence in humans is weak. Therefore, we hypothesize that genetic variation regulating dopamine D2 and nicotinic acetylcholine receptor signaling impact prefrontal cortex activity and related cognition. To test this hypothesis in humans, we explored the interaction between functional genetic variants in the D2 receptor gene (DRD2, rs1076560) and in the nicotinic receptor α5 gene (CHRNA5, rs16969968) on both dorsolateral prefrontal cortex mediated behavior and physiology during working memory and on prefrontal gray matter volume.
Methods
A large sample of healthy subjects was compared for genotypic differences for DRD2 rs1076560 (G>T) and CHNRA5 rs16969968 (G>A) on prefrontal phenotypes, including cognitive performance at the N-Back task, prefrontal physiology with BOLD fMRI during performance of the 2-Back working memory task, and prefrontal morphometry with structural MRI.
Results
We found that DRD2 rs1076560 and CHNRA5 rs16969968 interact to modulate cognitive function, prefrontal physiology during working memory, and prefrontal gray matter volume. More specifically, CHRNA5-AA/DRD2-GT subjects had greater behavioral performance, more efficient prefrontal cortex activity at 2Back working memory task, and greater prefrontal gray matter volume than the other genotype groups.
Conclusions
The present data extend previous studies in animals and enhance our understanding of dopamine and acetylcholine signaling in the human prefrontal cortex, demonstrating interactions elicited by working memory that are modulated by genetic variants in DRD2 and CHRNA5.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0095997
PMCID: PMC4018353  PMID: 24819610
7.  Multiple regulatory variants modulate expression of 5-hydroxytryptamine 2A receptors in human cortex 
Biological psychiatry  2012;73(6):546-554.
Background
The 5-hydroxytryptamine 2A receptor, encoded by HTR2A, is a major post-synaptic target for serotonin in the human brain and a therapeutic drug target. Despite hundreds of genetic associations investigating HTR2A polymorphisms in neuropsychiatric disorders and therapies, the role of genetic HTR2A variability in health and disease remains uncertain.
Methods
To discover and characterize regulatory HTR2A variants, we sequenced whole transcriptomes from ten human brain regions with massively-parallel RNA sequencing and measured allelic expression of multiple HTR2A mRNA transcript variants. Following discovery of functional variants, we further characterized their impact on genetic expression in vitro.
Results
Three polymorphisms modulate the use of novel alternative exons and untranslated regions (UTRs), changing expression of RNA and protein. The frequent promoter variant rs6311, widely implicated in human neuropsychiatric disorders, decreases usage of an upstream transcription start site encoding a longer 5′UTR with greater translation efficiency. rs76665058, located in an extended 3′UTR and unique to individuals of African descent, modulates allelic HTR2A mRNA expression. The third SNP, unannotated and present in only a single subject, directs alternative splicing of exon 2. Targeted analysis of HTR2A in the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) study reveals associations between functional variants and depression severity or citalopram response.
Conclusions
Regulatory polymorphisms modulate HTR2A mRNA expression in an isoform-specific manner, directing the usage of novel untranslated regions and alternative exons. These results provide a foundation for delineating the role of HTR2A and serotonin signaling in CNS disorders.
doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.09.028
PMCID: PMC3582836  PMID: 23158458
serotonin; 5-HT2A; HTR2A; schizophrenia; depression; mRNA expression
8.  Assessment of FANCD2 nuclear foci formation in paraffin embedded tumors; a potential patient enrichment strategy for treatment with DNA interstrand crosslinking agents 
A major mechanism of DNA repair related to homologous recombination is the Fanconi Anemia pathway (FA). FA genes collaborate with BRCA genes to form foci of DNA repair on chromatin following DNA damage, or during S phase of the cell cycle. Our goal was to develop a method capable of evaluating the functional status of the pathway in patients’ tumor tissue, which could also be practically incorporated to large scale screening. In order to develop this method, we first used Western immunoblot to detect FANCD2 protein mono-ubiquitination in fresh tumor specimens of ovarian cancer patients undergoing surgery, and stained formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tumor tissue simultaneously with DAPI, FANCD2 and Ki67 antibodies, eventually extending this method to other solid tumors. This triple stain permitted evaluation of the presence, or lack thereof, of FANCD2 subnuclear repair foci in proliferating cells by immunofluorescence microscopy. Overall, we evaluated 156 FFPE tumor samples using the FA triple staining immunofluorescence (FATSI) method. The ratios of FANCD2 foci negative tumors in ovarian, lung, and breast tumor samples were 21%, 20%, and 29.4%, respectively. Our studies have led to the development of a suitable method for screening, capable of identifying tumors with somatic functional defects in the FA pathway. The use of paraffin embedded tissues renders the reported method suitable for large scale screening to select patients for treatment with DNA interstrand crosslinking agents, PARP inhibitors or their combination.
doi:10.1016/j.trsl.2012.09.003
PMCID: PMC3755957  PMID: 23063585
patient selection; DNA repair foci
9.  Design and Implementation of a Randomized Controlled Trial of Genomic Counseling for Patients with Chronic Disease  
We describe the development and implementation of a randomized controlled trial to investigate the impact of genomic counseling on a cohort of patients with heart failure (HF) or hypertension (HTN), managed at a large academic medical center, the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (OSUWMC). Our study is built upon the existing Coriell Personalized Medicine Collaborative (CPMC®). OSUWMC patient participants with chronic disease (CD) receive eight actionable complex disease and one pharmacogenomic test report through the CPMC® web portal. Participants are randomized to either the in-person post-test genomic counseling—active arm, versus web-based only return of results—control arm. Study-specific surveys measure: (1) change in risk perception; (2) knowledge retention; (3) perceived personal control; (4) health behavior change; and, for the active arm (5), overall satisfaction with genomic counseling. This ongoing partnership has spurred creation of both infrastructure and procedures necessary for the implementation of genomics and genomic counseling in clinical care and clinical research. This included creation of a comprehensive informed consent document and processes for prospective return of actionable results for multiple complex diseases and pharmacogenomics (PGx) through a web portal, and integration of genomic data files and clinical decision support into an EPIC-based electronic medical record. We present this partnership, the infrastructure, genomic counseling approach, and the challenges that arose in the design and conduct of this ongoing trial to inform subsequent collaborative efforts and best genomic counseling practices.
doi:10.3390/jpm4010001
PMCID: PMC4051230  PMID: 24926413
implementation; genomics; medicine; randomized; patients; counseling; actionable; risk perception; pharmacogenomics
10.  Profiling Solute Carrier Transporters in the Human Blood-Brain Barrier 
doi:10.1038/clpt.2013.175
PMCID: PMC3906042  PMID: 24013810
Blood-brain barrier; solute carrier transporter; drug transporter; OCT3; organic cation transporter; MATE1; multidrug and toxin extrusion protein; expression profiling
11.  The Making of a CYP3A Biomarker Panel for Guiding Drug Therapy 
Journal of personalized medicine  2012;2(4):175-191.
CYP3A ranks among the most abundant cytochrome P450 enzymes in the liver, playing a dominant role in metabolic elimination of clinically used drugs. A main member in CYP3A family, CYP3A4 expression and activity vary considerably among individuals, attributable to genetic and non-genetic factors, affecting drug dosage and efficacy. However, the extent of genetic influence has remained unclear. This review assesses current knowledge on the genetic factors influencing CYP3A4 activity. Coding region CYP3A4 polymorphisms are rare and account for only a small portion of inter-person variability in CYP3A metabolism. Except for the promoter allele CYP3A4*1B with ambiguous effect on expression, common CYP3A4 regulatory polymorphisms were thought to be lacking. Recent studies have identified a relatively common regulatory polymorphism, designated CYP3A4*22 with robust effects on hepatic CYP3A4 expression. Combining CYP3A4*22 with CYP3A5 alleles *1, *3 and *7 has promise as a biomarker predicting overall CYP3A activity. Also contributing to variable expression, the role of polymorphisms in transcription factors and microRNAs is discussed.
doi:10.3390/jpm2040175
PMCID: PMC3901424  PMID: 24466438
cytochrome P450s; CYP3A4; polymorphism; biomarker
12.  Regulatory polymorphisms in CYP2C19 affecting hepatic expression 
Background
Cytochrome P450 2C19 is responsible for the metabolism of many drugs, including the activation of clopidogrel. The allele CYP2C19*17 is associated with ultra-rapid metabolizer phenotypes by increasing gene transcription. This study tests to what extent CYP2C19*17 enhances CYP2C19 expression in human liver and whether additional regulatory variants contribute to variation in CYP2C19 expression.
Methods
CYP2C19 mRNA was measured with quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR), enzyme activity as metabolic velocity with S-mephenytoin as the substrate and allelic mRNA expression ratio with SNaPshot in human livers. CYP2C19 transcribed exons and a 4kb promoter region were sequenced using IonTorrent PGM or Sanger sequencing and screened for polymorphisms associated with total hepatic CYP2C19 mRNA, enzyme activity and allelic mRNA ratios.
Results
Livers heterozygote and homozygous for CYP2C19*17 had mRNA levels 1.8-fold (p=0.028) and 2.9- fold (p=0.006), respectively, above homozygous reference allele livers. CYP2C19*17 heterozygotes were also associated with increased allelic mRNA expression (allelic ratio ~1.8-fold, SD±0.6, p<0.005), whereas CYP2C19 enzyme activity was elevated 2.3-fold, with borderline significance (p=0.06) in CYP2C19*17 carriers. One liver sample of African ancestry displayed a 2-fold allelic expression ratio, and another sample, a ~12-fold increase in metabolic velocity. Neither case was accounted for by *17, which indicates the presence of additional regulatory variants.
Conclusions
Our findings confirm *17 as a regulatory polymorphism enhancing hepatic CYP2C19 expression 2-fold with potential to compensate for the loss of function allele CYP2C19*2. Additional regulatory factors may also enhance CYP2C19 expression in African American populations.
doi:10.1515/dmdi-2012-0038
PMCID: PMC3755489  PMID: 23412869
CYP2C19; clopidogrel; allelic expression imbalance; polymorphism; biomarker; cytochrome P450
13.  Allelic mRNA expression imbalance in C-type lectins reveals a frequent regulatory SNP in the human surfactant protein A (SP-A) gene 
Genes and immunity  2013;14(2):99-106.
Genetic variation in C-type lectins influences infectious disease susceptibility but remains poorly understood. We employed allelic mRNA expression imbalance (AEI) technology for SP-A1, SP-A2, SP-D, DC-SIGN, MRC1, and Dectin-1, expressed in human macrophages and/or lung tissues. Frequent AEI, an indicator of regulatory polymorphisms, was observed in SP-A2, SP-D, and DC-SIGN. AEI was measured for SP-A2 in 38 lung tissues using four marker SNPs and was confirmed by next generation sequencing of one lung RNA sample. Genomic DNA at the SP-A2 DNA locus was sequenced by Ion Torrent technology in 16 samples. Correlation analysis of genotypes with AEI identified a haplotype block, and, specifically, the intronic SNP rs1650232 (30% MAF); the only variant consistently associated with an approximately two-fold change in mRNA allelic expression. Previously shown to alter a NAGNAG splice acceptor site with likely effects on SP-A2 expression, rs1650232 generates an alternative splice variant with three additional bases at the start of exon 3. Validated as a regulatory variant, rs1650232 is in partial LD with known SP-A2 marker SNPs previously associated with risk for respiratory diseases including tuberculosis. Applying functional DNA variants in clinical association studies, rather than marker SNPs, will advance our understanding of genetic susceptibility to infectious diseases.
doi:10.1038/gene.2012.61
PMCID: PMC3594410  PMID: 23328842
C-type lectin; marker SNP; regulatory variant; SP-A2; allelic expression imbalance
14.  Whole transcriptome RNA-Seq allelic expression in human brain 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:571.
Background
Measuring allelic RNA expression ratios is a powerful approach for detecting cis-acting regulatory variants, RNA editing, loss of heterozygosity in cancer, copy number variation, and allele-specific epigenetic gene silencing. Whole transcriptome RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) has emerged as a genome-wide tool for identifying allelic expression imbalance (AEI), but numerous factors bias allelic RNA ratio measurements. Here, we compare RNA-Seq allelic ratios measured in nine different human brain regions with a highly sensitive and accurate SNaPshot measure of allelic RNA ratios, identifying factors affecting reliable allelic ratio measurement. Accounting for these factors, we subsequently surveyed the variability of RNA editing across brain regions and across individuals.
Results
We find that RNA-Seq allelic ratios from standard alignment methods correlate poorly with SNaPshot, but applying alternative alignment strategies and correcting for observed biases significantly improves correlations. Deploying these methods on a transcriptome-wide basis in nine brain regions from a single individual, we identified genes with AEI across all regions (SLC1A3, NHP2L1) and many others with region-specific AEI. In dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) tissues from 14 individuals, we found evidence for frequent regulatory variants affecting RNA expression in tens to hundreds of genes, depending on stringency for assigning AEI. Further, we find that the extent and variability of RNA editing is similar across brain regions and across individuals.
Conclusions
These results identify critical factors affecting allelic ratios measured by RNA-Seq and provide a foundation for using this technology to screen allelic RNA expression on a transcriptome-wide basis. Using this technology as a screening tool reveals tens to hundreds of genes harboring frequent functional variants affecting RNA expression in the human brain. With respect to RNA editing, the similarities within and between individuals leads us to conclude that this post-transcriptional process is under heavy regulatory influence to maintain an optimal degree of editing for normal biological function.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-571
PMCID: PMC3765493  PMID: 23968248
RNA-Seq; Whole transcriptome; Allele expression; mRNA expression; Functional genetics; Regulatory polymorphism; eQTL; Read alignment; Next generation sequencing; Bioinformatics
15.  CYP3A4/5 combined genotype analysis for predicting statin dose requirement for optimal lipid control 
Background
Statins are indicated for prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Metabolism of certain statins involves the cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A) enzymes, and CYP3A4*22 significantly influences the dose needed for achieving optimal lipid control for atorva statin, simvastatin, and lovastatin. CYP3A4/5 combined genotype approaches have proved useful in some studies involving CYP3A substrates. We intend to compare a combined genotype analysis to our previously reported single gene CYP3A4 analysis.
Methods
A total of 235 patients receiving stable statin doses were genotyped and grouped by CYP3A4/5 status.
Results
The number and demographic composition of the patients categorized into the combined genotype groups were consistent with those reported for other cohorts. Dose requirement was significantly associated with the ordered combined-genotype grouping; median daily doses were nearly 40% greater for CYP3A4/5 intermediate metabolizers compared with poor metabolizers, and median daily doses were nearly double for extensive metabolizers compared with poor metabolizers. The combined-genotype approach, however, did not improve the genotype-dosage correlation p-values when compared with the previously-reported analysis; values changed from 0.129 to 0.166, 0.036 to 0.185, and 0.014 to 0.044 for atorvastatin, simvastatin, and the combined statin analysis, respectively.
Conclusions
The previously-reported single-gene approach was superior for predicting statin dose requirement in this cohort.
doi:10.1515/dmdi-2012-0031
PMCID: PMC3681953  PMID: 23314529
CYP3A4/5 combined genotype; gene-gene interaction; pharmacogenomics; statin
16.  Program in pharmacogenomics at the Ohio State University Medical Center 
Pharmacogenomics  2012;13(7):751-756.
Established in 2002, the Ohio State University Medical Center Program in Pharmacogenomics, lead by Wolfgang Sadee, is comprised of nearly 50 members dedicated to the discovery, investigation and translation of genetic biomarkers with the primary goal of advancing personalized healthcare. This article describes the research teams, bioinformatics infrastructure, supporting laboratories and Centers for Personalized Healthcare and for Clinical and Translational Science, current molecular genetic studies, translational and clinical pharmacogenomic studies, examples of biomarkers under development, and the future directions of the program.
doi:10.2217/pgs.12.46
PMCID: PMC3650730  PMID: 22594506
17.  Innate Immune Gene Polymorphisms in Tuberculosis 
Infection and Immunity  2012;80(10):3343-3359.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a leading cause worldwide of human mortality attributable to a single infectious agent. Recent studies targeting candidate genes and “case-control” association have revealed numerous polymorphisms implicated in host susceptibility to TB. Here, we review current progress in the understanding of causative polymorphisms in host innate immune genes associated with TB pathogenesis. We discuss genes encoding several types of proteins: macrophage receptors, such as the mannose receptor (MR, CD206), dendritic cell-specific ICAM-3-grabbing nonintegrin (DC-SIGN, CD209), Dectin-1, Toll-like receptors (TLRs), complement receptor 3 (CR3, CD11b/CD18), nucleotide oligomerization domain 1 (NOD1) and NOD2, CD14, P2X7, and the vitamin D nuclear receptor (VDR); soluble C-type lectins, such as surfactant protein-A (SP-A), SP-D, and mannose-binding lectin (MBL); phagocyte cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-6, IL-10, IL-12, and IL-18; chemokines, such as IL-8, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1), RANTES, and CXCL10; and other important innate immune molecules, such as inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and solute carrier protein 11A1 (SLC11A1). Polymorphisms in these genes have been variably associated with susceptibility to TB among different populations. This apparent variability is probably accounted for by evolutionary selection pressure as a result of long-term host-pathogen interactions in certain regions or populations and, in part, by lack of proper study design and limited knowledge of molecular and functional effects of the implicated genetic variants. Finally, we discuss genomic technologies that hold promise for resolving questions regarding the evolutionary paths of the human genome, functional effects of polymorphisms, and corollary impacts of adaptation on human health, ultimately leading to novel approaches to controlling TB.
doi:10.1128/IAI.00443-12
PMCID: PMC3457569  PMID: 22825450
18.  The Making of a CYP3A Biomarker Panel for Guiding Drug Therapy  
Journal of Personalized Medicine  2012;2(4):175-191.
CYP3A ranks among the most abundant cytochrome P450 enzymes in the liver, playing a dominant role in metabolic elimination of clinically used drugs. A main member in CYP3A family, CYP3A4 expression and activity vary considerably among individuals, attributable to genetic and non-genetic factors, affecting drug dosage and efficacy. However, the extent of genetic influence has remained unclear. This review assesses current knowledge on the genetic factors influencing CYP3A4 activity. Coding region CYP3A4 polymorphisms are rare and account for only a small portion of inter-person variability in CYP3A metabolism. Except for the promoter allele CYP3A4*1B with ambiguous effect on expression, common CYP3A4 regulatory polymorphisms were thought to be lacking. Recent studies have identified a relatively common regulatory polymorphism, designated CYP3A4*22 with robust effects on hepatic CYP3A4 expression. Combining CYP3A4*22 with CYP3A5 alleles *1, *3 and *7 has promise as a biomarker predicting overall CYP3A activity. Also contributing to variable expression, the role of polymorphisms in transcription factors and microRNAs is discussed.
doi:10.3390/jpm2040175
PMCID: PMC3901424  PMID: 24466438
cytochrome P450s; CYP3A4; polymorphism; biomarker
19.  Human N-acetyltransferase 1 (NAT1) *10 and *11 alleles increase protein expression via distinct mechanisms and associate with sulfamethoxazole-induced hypersensitivity 
Pharmacogenetics and genomics  2011;21(10):652-664.
Objectives
N-acetyltransferase 1 (NAT1) metabolizes drugs and environmental carcinogens. NAT1 alleles *10 and *11 have been proposed to alter protein level or enzyme activity compared to wild-type NAT1 *4 and to confer cancer risk, via uncertain pathways. This study characterizes regulatory polymorphisms and underlying mechanisms of NAT1 expression.
Methods
We measured allelic NAT1 mRNA expression and translation, as a function of multiple transcription start sites, alternative splicing, and three 3′-polyadenylation sites in human livers (one of which discovered in this study), B lymphocytes, and transfected cells. In a clinical study of 469 HIV/AIDS patients treated with the NAT1/NAT2 substrate sulfamethoxazole (SMX), associations were tested between SMX induced hypersensitivity and NAT1 *10 and *11 genotypes, together with known NAT2 polymorphisms.
Results
NAT1*10 and *11 were determined to act as common regulatory alleles accounting for most NAT1 expression variability, both leading to increased translation into active protein. NAT1*11 (2.4% minor allele frequency) affected 3′polyadenylation site usage, thereby increasing formation of NAT1 mRNA with intermediate length 3′UTR (major isoform) at the expense of the short isoform, resulting in more efficient protein translation. NAT1 *10 (19% minor allele frequency) increased translation efficiency without affecting 3′-UTR polyadenylation site usage. Livers and B-lymphocytes with *11/*4 and *10/*10 genotypes displayed higher NAT1 immunoreactivity and NAT1 enzyme activity than the reference genotype *4/*4. Patients who carry *10/*10 and *11/*4 (‘fast NAT1 acetylators’) were less likely to develop hypersensitivity to SMX, but this was observed only in subjects also carrying a slow NAT2 acetylator genotype.
Conclusion
NAT1 *10 and *11 significantly increase NAT1 protein level/enzyme activity, enabling the classification of carriers into reference and rapid acetylators. Rapid NAT1 acetylator status appears to protect against SMX toxicity by compensating for slow NAT2 acetylator status.
doi:10.1097/FPC.0b013e3283498ee9
PMCID: PMC3172334  PMID: 21878835
N-acetyltransferase; NAT1; polyadenylation; allelic expression imbalance; sulfamethoxazole; cotrimoxazole; protein translation; acetylator phenotype; idiosyncratic drug reactions
20.  Dopamine Transporter Gene Variant Affecting Expression in Human Brain is Associated with Bipolar Disorder 
Neuropsychopharmacology  2011;36(8):1644-1655.
The gene encoding the dopamine transporter (DAT) has been implicated in CNS disorders, but the responsible polymorphisms remain uncertain. To search for regulatory polymorphisms, we measured allelic DAT mRNA expression in substantia nigra of human autopsy brain tissues, using two marker SNPs (rs6347 in exon 9 and rs27072 in the 3′-UTR). Allelic mRNA expression imbalance (AEI), an indicator of cis-acting regulatory polymorphisms, was observed in all tissues heterozygous for either of the two marker SNPs. SNP scanning of the DAT locus with AEI ratios as the phenotype, followed by in vitro molecular genetics studies, demonstrated that rs27072 C>T affects mRNA expression and translation. Expression of the minor T allele was dynamically regulated in transfected cell cultures, possibly involving microRNA interactions. Both rs6347 and rs3836790 (intron8 5/6 VNTR) also seemed to affect DAT expression, but not the commonly tested 9/10 VNTR in the 3′UTR (rs28363170). All four polymorphisms (rs6347, intron8 5/6 VNTR, rs27072 and 3′UTR 9/10 VNTR) were genotyped in clinical cohorts, representing schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and controls. Only rs27072 was significantly associated with bipolar disorder (OR=2.1, p=0.03). This result was replicated in a second bipolar/control population (OR=1.65, p=0.01), supporting a critical role for DAT regulation in bipolar disorder.
doi:10.1038/npp.2011.45
PMCID: PMC3138671  PMID: 21525861
dopamine transporter; bipolar disorder; allelic expression imbalance; SLC6A3; rs27072; Dopamine; Depression; Unipolar/Bipolar; Pharmacogenetics/Pharmacogenomics; Neurogenetics; Allelic expression imbalance; Dopamine transporter; SLC6A3
21.  Pharmacogenomic testing: Relevance in medical practice 
Genetics may account for much of the variability in our patients’ responses to drug therapies. This article offers the clinician an up-to-date overview of pharmacogenomic testing, discussing implications and limitations of emerging validated tests relevant to the use of warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), statins, tamoxifen (Nolvadex), codeine, and psychotropic drugs. It also discusses the future role of pharmacogenomic testing in medicine.
doi:10.3949/ccjm.78a.10145
PMCID: PMC3351041  PMID: 21460130
22.  Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein (CETP) Polymorphisms Affect mRNA Splicing, HDL Levels, and Sex-Dependent Cardiovascular Risk 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e31930.
Polymorphisms in and around the Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein (CETP) gene have been associated with HDL levels, risk for coronary artery disease (CAD), and response to therapy. The mechanism of action of these polymorphisms has yet to be defined. We used mRNA allelic expression and splice isoform measurements in human liver tissues to identify the genetic variants affecting CETP levels. Allelic CETP mRNA expression ratios in 56 human livers were strongly associated with several variants 2.5–7 kb upstream of the transcription start site (e.g., rs247616 p = 6.4×10−5, allele frequency 33%). In addition, a common alternatively spliced CETP isoform lacking exon 9 (Δ9), has been shown to prevent CETP secretion in a dominant-negative manner. The Δ 9 expression ranged from 10 to 48% of total CETP mRNA in 94 livers. Increased formation of this isoform was exclusively associated with an exon 9 polymorphism rs5883-C>T (p = 6.8×10−10) and intron 8 polymorphism rs9930761-T>C (5.6×10−8) (in high linkage disequilibrium with allele frequencies 6–7%). rs9930761 changes a key splicing branch point nucleotide in intron 8, while rs5883 alters an exonic splicing enhancer sequence in exon 9.
The effect of these polymorphisms was evaluated in two clinical studies. In the Whitehall II study of 4745 subjects, both rs247616 and rs5883T/rs9930761C were independently associated with increased HDL-C levels in males with similar effect size (rs247616 p = 9.6×10−28 and rs5883 p = 8.6×10−10, adjusted for rs247616). In an independent multiethnic US cohort of hypertensive subjects with CAD (INVEST-GENE), rs5883T/rs9930761C alone were significantly associated with increased incidence of MI, stroke, and all-cause mortality in males (rs5883: OR 2.36 (CI 1.29–4.30), p = 0.005, n = 866). These variants did not reach significance in females in either study. Similar to earlier results linking low CETP activity with poor outcomes in males, our results suggest genetic, sex-dependent CETP splicing effects on cardiovascular risk by a mechanism independent of circulating HDL-C levels.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031930
PMCID: PMC3293889  PMID: 22403620
23.  Intronic Polymorphisms Affecting Alternative Splicing of Human Dopamine D2 Receptor Are Associated with Cocaine Abuse 
Neuropsychopharmacology  2010;36(4):753-762.
The dopamine receptor D2 (encoded by DRD2) is implicated in susceptibility to mental disorders and cocaine abuse, but mechanisms responsible for this relationship remain uncertain. DRD2 mRNA exists in two main splice isoforms with distinct functions: D2 long (D2L) and D2 short (D2S, lacking exon 6), expressed mainly postsynaptically and presynaptically, respectively. Two intronic single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs rs2283265 (intron 5) and rs1076560 (intron 6)) in high linkage disequilibrium (LD) with each other have been reported to alter D2S/D2L splicing and several behavioral traits in human subjects, such as memory processing. To assess the role of DRD2 variants in cocaine abuse, we measured levels of D2S and D2L mRNA in human brain autopsy tissues (prefrontal cortex and putamen) obtained from cocaine abusers and controls, and genotyped a panel of DRD2 SNPs (119 abusers and 95 controls). Robust effects of rs2283265 and rs1076560 on reducing formation of D2S relative to D2L were confirmed. The minor alleles of rs2283265/rs1076560 were considerably more frequent in Caucasians (18%) compared with African Americans (7%). Also, in Caucasians, rs2283265/rs1076560 minor alleles were significantly overrepresented in cocaine abusers compared with controls (rs2283265: 25 to 9%, respectively; p=0.001; OR=3.4 (1.7–7.1)). Several SNPs previously implicated in diverse clinical association studies are in high LD with rs2283265/rs1076560 and could have served as surrogate markers. Our results confirm the role of rs2283265/rs1076560 in D2 alternative splicing and support a strong role in susceptibility to cocaine abuse.
doi:10.1038/npp.2010.208
PMCID: PMC3055737  PMID: 21150907
alternative splicing; cocaine; dopamine; DRD2; D2S; human; addiction and substance abuse; dopamine; neurogenetics; psychostimulants; drd2; d2s; human; alternative splicing; cocaine
24.  Pharmacogenomic biomarkers: validation needed for both the molecular genetic mechanism and clinical effect 
Pharmacogenomics  2011;12(5):675-680.
Drug therapy can be ineffective or cause adverse reactions in a subset of patients. Pharmacogenomic biomarkers afford the opportunity to optimize an individual’s therapy. Yet, few tests are currently part of standard care. To validate biomarkers, clinical replication studies are essential. Equally important, but less appreciated, the genetic mechanisms must also be understood to facilitate translation into clinical use. Representing main contributors to genetic variability, regulatory polymorphisms in particular are still poorly studied (e.g., 5-HTTLPR). This article focuses on molecular and functional diversity of genetic biomarkers, as a guide to optimal use in personalized medicine.
doi:10.2217/pgs.11.23
PMCID: PMC3141324  PMID: 21619429
biomarkers; gene expression; pharmacogenomics; serotonin transporter; structural RNA polymorphisms
25.  Nicotinic α5 receptor subunit mRNA expression is associated with distant 5′ upstream polymorphisms 
CHRNA5, encoding the nicotinic α5 subunit, is implicated in multiple disorders, including nicotine addiction and lung cancer. Previous studies demonstrate significant associations between promoter polymorphisms and CHRNA5 mRNA expression, but the responsible sequence variants remain uncertain. To search for cis-regulatory variants, we measured allele-specific mRNA expression of CHRNA5 in human prefrontal cortex autopsy tissues and scanned the CHRNA5 locus for regulatory variants. A cluster of six frequent single nucleotide polymorphisms (rs1979905, rs1979906, rs1979907, rs880395, rs905740, and rs7164030), in complete linkage disequilibrium, fully account for a >2.5-fold allelic expression difference and a fourfold increase in overall CHRNA5 mRNA expression. This proposed enhancer region resides more than 13 kilobases upstream of the CHRNA5 transcription start site. The same upstream variants failed to affect CHRNA5 mRNA expression in peripheral blood lymphocytes, indicating tissue-specific gene regulation. Other promoter polymorphisms were also correlated with overall CHRNA5 mRNA expression in the brain, but were inconsistent with allelic mRNA expression ratios, a robust and proximate measure of cis-regulatory variants. The enhancer region and the nonsynonymous polymorphism rs16969968 generate three main haplotypes that alter the risk of developing nicotine dependence. Ethnic differences in linkage disequilibrium across the CHRNA5 locus require consideration of the upstream enhancer variants when testing clinical associations.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2010.120
PMCID: PMC2995013  PMID: 20700147
Nicotinic receptor; alpha5 subunit; gene expression; nicotine dependence; lung cancer; enhancer

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