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1.  IL18 Gene Variants Influence the Susceptibility to Chagas Disease 
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases  2016;10(3):e0004583.
Chagas disease is a parasitic disorder caused by the infection with the flagellated protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi. According to the World Health Organization, more than six million people are currently infected in endemic regions. Genetic factors have been proposed to influence predisposition to infection and development of severe clinical phenotypes like chronic Chagas cardiomyopathy (CCC). Interleukin 18 (IL18) encodes a proinflammatory cytokine that has been proposed to be involved in controlling T. cruzi infection. In this study, we analyzed the possible role of six IL18 gene variants (rs5744258, rs360722, rs2043055, rs187238, rs1946518 and rs360719), which cover most of the variation within the locus, in the susceptibility to infection by T. cruzi and/or CCC. In total, 1,171 individuals from a Colombian region endemic for Chagas disease, classified as seronegative (n = 595), seropositive asymptomatic (n = 175) and CCC (n = 401), were genotyped using TaqMan probes. Significant associations with T. cruzi infection were observed when comparing seronegative and seropositive individuals for rs187238 (P = 2.18E-03, OR = 0.77), rs360719 (P = 1.49E-03, OR = 0.76), rs2043055 (P = 2.52E-03, OR = 1.29), and rs1946518 (P = 0.0162, OR = 1.22). However, dependence analyses suggested that the association was mainly driven by the polymorphism rs360719. This variant is located within the promoter region of the IL18 gene, and it has been described that it creates a binding site for the transcription factor OCT-1 affecting IL-18 expression levels. In addition, no evidence of association was observed between any of the analyzed IL18 gene polymorphisms and the development of CCC. In summary, our data suggest that genetic variation within the promoter region of IL18 is directly involved in the susceptibility to infection by T. cruzi, which provides novel insight into disease pathophysiology and adds new perspectives to achieve a more effective disease control.
Author Summary
Chagas disease is a parasitic disorder caused by the infection with the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi. In Latin America, this disease represents a major public health concern, as almost 6 million people are currently infected. During the last years, great efforts have been made in health policy to control the disease; however, there is still a long way ahead to achieve this challenging goal. Most affected people remains asymptomatic after infection for the rest of their lives, but around one third of infected people may develop cardiomyopathy, a condition that reduces dramatically the quality of life and life expectancy in Chagas patients. The causes of the marked differential disease outcomes are currently unknown, but it is believed that a genetic predisposition could play a relevant role in the host. We investigated in an endemic region of Colombia whether the IL18 gene, which is involved in the immune response to intracellular pathogens like T. cruzi, is related to a higher susceptibility to infection or disease severity. Our results suggest that IL18 is a relevant gene in Chagas disease, and could represent a valuable insight that may help to better understand the disease pathogenesis and the development of more efficient therapeutic strategies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0004583
PMCID: PMC4814063  PMID: 27027876
2.  Widespread non-additive and interaction effects within HLA loci modulate the risk of autoimmune diseases 
Nature genetics  2015;47(9):1085-1090.
Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes confer strong risk for autoimmune diseases on a log-additive scale. Here we speculated that differences in autoantigen binding repertoires between a heterozygote’s two expressed HLA variants may result in additional non-additive risk effects. We tested non-additive disease contributions of classical HLA alleles in patients and matched controls for five common autoimmune diseases: rheumatoid arthritis (RA, Ncases=5,337), type 1 diabetes (T1D, Ncases=5,567), psoriasis vulgaris (Ncases=3,089), idiopathic achalasia (Ncases=727), and celiac disease (Ncases=11,115). In four out of five diseases, we observed highly significant non-additive dominance effects (RA: P=2.5×1012; T1D: P=2.4×10−10; psoriasis: P=5.9×10−6; celiac disease: P=1.2×10−87). In three of these diseases, the dominance effects were explained by interactions between specific classical HLA alleles (RA: P=1.8×10−3; T1D: P=8.6×1027; celiac disease: P=6.0×10−100). These interactions generally increased disease risk and explained moderate but significant fractions of phenotypic variance (RA: 1.4%, T1D: 4.0%, and celiac disease: 4.1%, beyond a simple additive model).
doi:10.1038/ng.3379
PMCID: PMC4552599  PMID: 26258845
Autoimmunity; complex diseases; MHC; HLA; genetic architecture; non-additive effects; interactions
3.  The IRF5–TNPO3 association with systemic lupus erythematosus has two components that other autoimmune disorders variably share 
Kottyan, Leah C. | Zoller, Erin E. | Bene, Jessica | Lu, Xiaoming | Kelly, Jennifer A. | Rupert, Andrew M. | Lessard, Christopher J. | Vaughn, Samuel E. | Marion, Miranda | Weirauch, Matthew T. | Namjou, Bahram | Adler, Adam | Rasmussen, Astrid | Glenn, Stuart | Montgomery, Courtney G. | Hirschfield, Gideon M. | Xie, Gang | Coltescu, Catalina | Amos, Chris | Li, He | Ice, John A. | Nath, Swapan K. | Mariette, Xavier | Bowman, Simon | Rischmueller, Maureen | Lester, Sue | Brun, Johan G. | Gøransson, Lasse G. | Harboe, Erna | Omdal, Roald | Cunninghame-Graham, Deborah S. | Vyse, Tim | Miceli-Richard, Corinne | Brennan, Michael T. | Lessard, James A. | Wahren-Herlenius, Marie | Kvarnström, Marika | Illei, Gabor G. | Witte, Torsten | Jonsson, Roland | Eriksson, Per | Nordmark, Gunnel | Ng, Wan-Fai | Anaya, Juan-Manuel | Rhodus, Nelson L. | Segal, Barbara M. | Merrill, Joan T. | James, Judith A. | Guthridge, Joel M. | Hal Scofield, R. | Alarcon-Riquelme, Marta | Bae, Sang-Cheol | Boackle, Susan A. | Criswell, Lindsey A. | Gilkeson, Gary | Kamen, Diane L. | Jacob, Chaim O. | Kimberly, Robert | Brown, Elizabeth | Edberg, Jeffrey | Alarcón, Graciela S. | Reveille, John D. | Vilá, Luis M. | Petri, Michelle | Ramsey-Goldman, Rosalind | Freedman, Barry I. | Niewold, Timothy | Stevens, Anne M. | Tsao, Betty P. | Ying, Jun | Mayes, Maureen D. | Gorlova, Olga Y. | Wakeland, Ward | Radstake, Timothy | Martin, Ezequiel | Martin, Javier | Siminovitch, Katherine | Moser Sivils, Kathy L. | Gaffney, Patrick M. | Langefeld, Carl D. | Harley, John B. | Kaufman, Kenneth M.
Human Molecular Genetics  2014;24(2):582-596.
Exploiting genotyping, DNA sequencing, imputation and trans-ancestral mapping, we used Bayesian and frequentist approaches to model the IRF5–TNPO3 locus association, now implicated in two immunotherapies and seven autoimmune diseases. Specifically, in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), we resolved separate associations in the IRF5 promoter (all ancestries) and with an extended European haplotype. We captured 3230 IRF5–TNPO3 high-quality, common variants across 5 ethnicities in 8395 SLE cases and 7367 controls. The genetic effect from the IRF5 promoter can be explained by any one of four variants in 5.7 kb (P-valuemeta = 6 × 10−49; OR = 1.38–1.97). The second genetic effect spanned an 85.5-kb, 24-variant haplotype that included the genes IRF5 and TNPO3 (P-valuesEU = 10−27–10−32, OR = 1.7–1.81). Many variants at the IRF5 locus with previously assigned biological function are not members of either final credible set of potential causal variants identified herein. In addition to the known biologically functional variants, we demonstrated that the risk allele of rs4728142, a variant in the promoter among the lowest frequentist probability and highest Bayesian posterior probability, was correlated with IRF5 expression and differentially binds the transcription factor ZBTB3. Our analytical strategy provides a novel framework for future studies aimed at dissecting etiological genetic effects. Finally, both SLE elements of the statistical model appear to operate in Sjögren's syndrome and systemic sclerosis whereas only the IRF5–TNPO3 gene-spanning haplotype is associated with primary biliary cirrhosis, demonstrating the nuance of similarity and difference in autoimmune disease risk mechanisms at IRF5–TNPO3.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddu455
PMCID: PMC4275071  PMID: 25205108
5.  Twenty-Eight Years of Poliovirus Replication in an Immunodeficient Individual: Impact on the Global Polio Eradication Initiative 
PLoS Pathogens  2015;11(8):e1005114.
There are currently huge efforts by the World Health Organization and partners to complete global polio eradication. With the significant decline in poliomyelitis cases due to wild poliovirus in recent years, rare cases related to the use of live-attenuated oral polio vaccine assume greater importance. Poliovirus strains in the oral vaccine are known to quickly revert to neurovirulent phenotype following replication in humans after immunisation. These strains can transmit from person to person leading to poliomyelitis outbreaks and can replicate for long periods of time in immunodeficient individuals leading to paralysis or chronic infection, with currently no effective treatment to stop excretion from these patients. Here, we describe an individual who has been excreting type 2 vaccine-derived poliovirus for twenty eight years as estimated by the molecular clock established with VP1 capsid gene nucleotide sequences of serial isolates. This represents by far the longest period of excretion described from such a patient who is the only identified individual known to be excreting highly evolved vaccine-derived poliovirus at present. Using a range of in vivo and in vitro assays we show that the viruses are very virulent, antigenically drifted and excreted at high titre suggesting that such chronic excreters pose an obvious risk to the eradication programme. Our results in virus neutralization assays with human sera and immunisation-challenge experiments using transgenic mice expressing the human poliovirus receptor indicate that while maintaining high immunisation coverage will likely confer protection against paralytic disease caused by these viruses, significant changes in immunisation strategies might be required to effectively stop their occurrence and potential widespread transmission. Eventually, new stable live-attenuated polio vaccines with no risk of reversion might be required to respond to any poliovirus isolation in the post-eradication era.
Author Summary
The global polio eradication initiative is the most ambitious and complex public health programme directed at a single disease in history with a projected cost of $16.5 billion. Of the three serotypes types 2 and 3 appear to have been eradicated in the wild and type 1 is mostly confined to a region of Pakistan and Afghanistan. There is a real probability of total eradication in the near future. The main vaccine used is a live attenuated virus, and our paper concerns one of the most intractable significant implications that this has for the polio endgame. We describe virological studies of a patient deficient in humoral immunity who has been excreting type 2 vaccine-derived poliovirus for 28 years. Our results show that the viruses are excreted at high titres, extremely virulent and antigenically drifted and raise questions about how the population may best be protected from them, particularly in the light of possible changes in vaccine production which are being encouraged to increase capability and reduce costs. The study has implications for the ecology of poliovirus in the human gut and highlights the risks that such vaccine-derived isolates pose for polio re-emergence in the post-eradication era.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1005114
PMCID: PMC4552295  PMID: 26313548
7.  High resolution identity testing of inactivated poliovirus vaccines 
Vaccine  2015;33(30):3533-3541.
Highlights
•Identity testing is a critical step in the quality control process.•Serological testing is the current approved method, but has certain limitations.•Existing molecular methods (qPCR) provide information about small genomic regions.•Random amplification and shotgun sequencing provide full genome coverage.•Distinction of highly similar viruses, and manufacturer-specific differences is possible.
Background
Definitive identification of poliovirus strains in vaccines is essential for quality control, particularly where multiple wild-type and Sabin strains are produced in the same facility. Sequence-based identification provides the ultimate in identity testing and would offer several advantages over serological methods.
Methods
We employed random RT-PCR and high throughput sequencing to recover full-length genome sequences from monovalent and trivalent poliovirus vaccine products at various stages of the manufacturing process.
Results
All expected strains were detected in previously characterised products and the method permitted identification of strains comprising as little as 0.1% of sequence reads. Highly similar Mahoney and Sabin 1 strains were readily discriminated on the basis of specific variant positions. Analysis of a product known to contain incorrect strains demonstrated that the method correctly identified the contaminants.
Conclusion
Random RT-PCR and shotgun sequencing provided high resolution identification of vaccine components. In addition to the recovery of full-length genome sequences, the method could also be easily adapted to the characterisation of minor variant frequencies and distinction of closely related products on the basis of distinguishing consensus and low frequency polymorphisms.
doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.05.052
PMCID: PMC4504004  PMID: 26049003
Inactivated poliovirus vaccine; IPV; Vaccine contamination; Deep sequencing
8.  Major Histocompatibility Complex Associations of Ankylosing Spondylitis are Complex and Involve Further Epistasis with ERAP1 
Nature communications  2015;6:7146.
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a common, highly heritable, inflammatory arthritis for which HLA-B*27 is the major genetic risk factor, although its role in the aetiology of AS remains elusive. To better understand the genetic basis of the MHC susceptibility loci, we genotyped 7,264 MHC SNPs in 22,647 AS cases and controls of European descent. We impute SNPs, classical HLA alleles and amino acid residues within HLA proteins, and tested these for association to AS status. Here we show that in addition to effects due to HLA-B*27 alleles, several other HLA-B alleles also affect susceptibility. After controlling for the associated haplotypes in HLA-B we observe independent associations with variants in the HLA-A, HLA-DPB1 and HLA-DRB1 loci. We also demonstrate that the ERAP1 SNP rs30187 association is not restricted only to carriers of HLA-B*27 but also found in HLA-B*40:01 carriers independently of HLA-B*27 genotype.
doi:10.1038/ncomms8146
PMCID: PMC4443427  PMID: 25994336
9.  High-Density Genotyping of Immune Loci in Koreans and Europeans Identifies Eight New Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk Loci 
Objective
A highly polygenic etiology and high degree of allele-sharing between ancestries have been well-elucidated in genetic studies of rheumatoid arthritis. Recently, the high-density genotyping array Immunochip for immune disease loci identified 14 new rheumatoid arthritis risk loci among individuals of European ancestry. Here, we aimed to identify new rheumatoid arthritis risk loci using Korean-specific Immunochip data.
Methods
We analyzed Korean rheumatoid arthritis case-control samples using the Immunochip and GWAS array to search for new risk alleles of rheumatoid arthritis with anti-citrullinated peptide antibodies. To increase power, we performed a meta-analysis of Korean data with previously published European Immunochip and GWAS data, for a total sample size of 9,299 Korean and 45,790 European case-control samples.
Results
We identified 8 new rheumatoid arthritis susceptibility loci (TNFSF4, LBH, EOMES, ETS1–FLI1, COG6, RAD51B, UBASH3A and SYNGR1) that passed a genome-wide significance threshold (p<5×10−8), with evidence for three independent risk alleles at 1q25/TNFSF4. The risk alleles from the 7 new loci except for the TNFSF4 locus (monomorphic in Koreans), together with risk alleles from previously established RA risk loci, exhibited a high correlation of effect sizes between ancestries. Further, we refined the number of SNPs that represent potentially causal variants through a trans-ethnic comparison of densely genotyped SNPs.
Conclusion
This study demonstrates the advantage of dense-mapping and trans-ancestral analysis for identification of potentially causal SNPs. In addition, our findings support the importance of T cells in the pathogenesis and the fact of frequent overlap of risk loci among diverse autoimmune diseases.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204749
PMCID: PMC4467986  PMID: 24532676
Rheumatoid arthritis; Gene polymorphism; Anti-CCP
10.  Clinical Effects of Liraglutide in a Real-World Setting in Spain: eDiabetes-Monitor SEEN Diabetes Mellitus Working Group Study 
Diabetes Therapy  2015;6(2):173-185.
Introduction
A limitation with randomized controlled trials is that, while they provide unbiased evidence of the efficacy of interventions, they do so under unreal conditions and in a very limited and highly selected patient population. Our aim was to provide data about the effectiveness of liraglutide treatment in a real-world and clinical practice setting.
Methods
In a retrospective and observational study, data from 753 patients with type 2 diabetes were recorded through an online tool (eDiabetes-Monitor).
Results
Mean baseline glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) was 8.4 ± 1.4% and mean body mass index (BMI) was 38.6 ± 5.4 kg/m2. After 3–6 months of treatment with liraglutide, we observed a change in HbA1c of −1.1 ± 1.2%, −4.6 ± 5.3 kg in weight and −1.7 ± 2.0 kg/m2 in BMI (p < 0.001 for all). Compared to baseline, there was a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure (−5.9 mmHg, p < 0.001), diastolic blood pressure (−3.2 mmHg, p < 0.001), LDL cholesterol (−0.189 mmol/l, p < 0.001) and triglycerides (−0.09 mmol/l, p = 0.021). In patients switched from DPP-4 inhibitors, liraglutide induced a decrease of −1.0% in HbA1c (p < 0.001) and a reduction in weight (−4.5 kg, p < 0.001). In patients treated with liraglutide as an add-on therapy to insulin a decrease of −1.08% in HbA1c (p < 0.001) and a weight reduction of −4.15 kg (p < 0.001) were observed.
Conclusion
Our study confirms the effectiveness of liraglutide in a real-life and clinical practice setting.
Funding
Spanish Society of Endocrinology and Nutrition.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13300-015-0112-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s13300-015-0112-4
PMCID: PMC4478178  PMID: 26055216
Effectiveness; Liraglutide; Real life; Type 2 diabetes
11.  Major histocompatibility complex associations of ankylosing spondylitis are complex and involve further epistasis with ERAP1 
Nature Communications  2015;6:7146.
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a common, highly heritable, inflammatory arthritis for which HLA-B*27 is the major genetic risk factor, although its role in the aetiology of AS remains elusive. To better understand the genetic basis of the MHC susceptibility loci, we genotyped 7,264 MHC SNPs in 22,647 AS cases and controls of European descent. We impute SNPs, classical HLA alleles and amino-acid residues within HLA proteins, and tested these for association to AS status. Here we show that in addition to effects due to HLA-B*27 alleles, several other HLA-B alleles also affect susceptibility. After controlling for the associated haplotypes in HLA-B, we observe independent associations with variants in the HLA-A, HLA-DPB1 and HLA-DRB1 loci. We also demonstrate that the ERAP1 SNP rs30187 association is not restricted only to carriers of HLA-B*27 but also found in HLA-B*40:01 carriers independently of HLA-B*27 genotype.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a common, highly inheritable inflammatory arthritis with poorly understood biology. Here Brown, Cortes and colleagues use fine mapping of the major histocompatibility complex and identify novel associations, and identify other HLA alleles that like HLA-B27 interact with ERAP1 variants to influence disease risk.
doi:10.1038/ncomms8146
PMCID: PMC4443427  PMID: 25994336
13.  TYK2 Protein-Coding Variants Protect against Rheumatoid Arthritis and Autoimmunity, with No Evidence of Major Pleiotropic Effects on Non-Autoimmune Complex Traits 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0122271.
Despite the success of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in detecting a large number of loci for complex phenotypes such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) susceptibility, the lack of information on the causal genes leaves important challenges to interpret GWAS results in the context of the disease biology. Here, we genetically fine-map the RA risk locus at 19p13 to define causal variants, and explore the pleiotropic effects of these same variants in other complex traits. First, we combined Immunochip dense genotyping (n = 23,092 case/control samples), Exomechip genotyping (n = 18,409 case/control samples) and targeted exon-sequencing (n = 2,236 case/controls samples) to demonstrate that three protein-coding variants in TYK2 (tyrosine kinase 2) independently protect against RA: P1104A (rs34536443, OR = 0.66, P = 2.3x10-21), A928V (rs35018800, OR = 0.53, P = 1.2x10-9), and I684S (rs12720356, OR = 0.86, P = 4.6x10-7). Second, we show that the same three TYK2 variants protect against systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, Pomnibus = 6x10-18), and provide suggestive evidence that two of the TYK2 variants (P1104A and A928V) may also protect against inflammatory bowel disease (IBD; Pomnibus = 0.005). Finally, in a phenome-wide association study (PheWAS) assessing >500 phenotypes using electronic medical records (EMR) in >29,000 subjects, we found no convincing evidence for association of P1104A and A928V with complex phenotypes other than autoimmune diseases such as RA, SLE and IBD. Together, our results demonstrate the role of TYK2 in the pathogenesis of RA, SLE and IBD, and provide supporting evidence for TYK2 as a promising drug target for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0122271
PMCID: PMC4388675  PMID: 25849893
14.  Effect of Formaldehyde Inactivation on Poliovirus 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(20):11955-11964.
ABSTRACT
Inactivated polio vaccines, which have been used in many countries for more than 50 years, are produced by treating live poliovirus (PV) with formaldehyde. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying virus inactivation are not well understood. Infection by PV is initiated by virus binding to specific cell receptors, which results in viral particles undergoing sequential conformational changes that generate altered structural forms (135S and 80S particles) and leads to virus cell entry. We have analyzed the ability of inactivated PV to bind to the human poliovirus receptor (hPVR) using various techniques such as ultracentrifugation, fluorescence-activated cell sorting flow cytometry and real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR). The results showed that although retaining the ability to bind to hPVR, inactivated PV bound less efficiently in comparison to live PV. We also found that inactivated PV showed resistance to structural conversion in vitro, as judged by measuring changes in antigenicity, the ability to bind to hPVR, and viral RNA release at high temperature. Furthermore, viral RNA from inactivated PV was shown to be modified, since cDNA yields obtained by RT-PCR amplification were severely reduced and no infectious virus was recovered after RNA transfection into susceptible cells.
IMPORTANCE This study represents a novel insight into the molecular mechanisms responsible for poliovirus inactivation. We show that inactivation with formaldehyde has an effect on early steps of viral replication as it reduces the ability of PV to bind to hPVR, decreases the sensitivity of PV to convert to 135S particles, and abolishes the infectivity of its viral RNA. These changes are likely responsible for the loss of infectivity shown by PV following inactivation. Techniques used in this study represent new approaches for the characterization of inactivated PV products and could be useful in developing improved methods for the production and quality control testing of inactivated polio vaccines. Measuring the antigenicity, capsid stability, and RNA integrity of inactivated PV samples could help establishing the optimal balance between the loss of infectivity and the preservation of virus antigenicity during inactivation.
doi:10.1128/JVI.01809-14
PMCID: PMC4178759  PMID: 25100844
15.  Rheumatoid arthritis response to treatment across IgG1 allotype – anti-TNF incompatibility: a case-only study 
Introduction
We have hypothesized that incompatibility between the G1m genotype of the patient and the G1m1 and G1m17 allotypes carried by infliximab (INX) and adalimumab (ADM) could decrease the efficacy of these anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) antibodies in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods
The G1m genotypes were analyzed in three collections of patients with RA totaling 1037 subjects. The first, used for discovery, comprised 215 Spanish patients. The second and third were successively used for replication. They included 429 British and Greek patients and 393 Spanish and British patients, respectively. Two outcomes were considered: change in the Disease Activity Score in 28 joint (ΔDAS28) and the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) response criteria.
Results
An association between less response to INX and incompatibility of the G1m1,17 allotype was found in the discovery collection at 6 months of treatment (P = 0.03). This association was confirmed in the replications (P = 0.02 and 0.08, respectively) leading to a global association (P = 0.001) that involved a mean difference in ΔDAS28 of 0.4 units between compatible and incompatible patients (2.3 ± 1.5 in compatible patients vs. 1.9 ± 1.5 in incompatible patients) and an increase in responders and decrease in non-responders according to the EULAR criteria (P = 0.03). A similar association was suggested for patients treated with ADM in the discovery collection, but it was not supported by replication.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that G1m1,17 allotypes are associated with response to INX and could aid improved therapeutic targeting in RA.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13075-015-0571-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s13075-015-0571-z
PMCID: PMC4411723  PMID: 25885039
16.  A systemic sclerosis and systemic lupus erythematosus pan-meta-GWAS reveals new shared susceptibility loci 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(19):4021-4029.
Systemic sclerosis (SSc) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are two archetypal systemic autoimmune diseases which have been shown to share multiple genetic susceptibility loci. In order to gain insight into the genetic basis of these diseases, we performed a pan-meta-analysis of two genome-wide association studies (GWASs) together with a replication stage including additional SSc and SLE cohorts. This increased the sample size to a total of 21 109 (6835 cases and 14 274 controls). We selected for replication 19 SNPs from the GWAS data. We were able to validate KIAA0319L (P = 3.31 × 10−11, OR = 1.49) as novel susceptibility loci for SSc and SLE. Furthermore, we also determined that the previously described SLE susceptibility loci PXK (P = 3.27 × 10−11, OR = 1.20) and JAZF1 (P = 1.11 × 10−8, OR = 1.13) are shared with SSc. Supporting these new discoveries, we observed that KIAA0319L was overexpressed in peripheral blood cells of SSc and SLE patients compared with healthy controls. With these, we add three (KIAA0319L, PXK and JAZF1) and one (KIAA0319L) new susceptibility loci for SSc and SLE, respectively, increasing significantly the knowledge of the genetic basis of autoimmunity.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddt248
PMCID: PMC3766185  PMID: 23740937
17.  Genetics of rheumatoid arthritis contributes to biology and drug discovery 
Okada, Yukinori | Wu, Di | Trynka, Gosia | Raj, Towfique | Terao, Chikashi | Ikari, Katsunori | Kochi, Yuta | Ohmura, Koichiro | Suzuki, Akari | Yoshida, Shinji | Graham, Robert R. | Manoharan, Arun | Ortmann, Ward | Bhangale, Tushar | Denny, Joshua C. | Carroll, Robert J. | Eyler, Anne E. | Greenberg, Jeffrey D. | Kremer, Joel M. | Pappas, Dimitrios A. | Jiang, Lei | Yin, Jian | Ye, Lingying | Su, Ding-Feng | Yang, Jian | Xie, Gang | Keystone, Ed | Westra, Harm-Jan | Esko, Tõnu | Metspalu, Andres | Zhou, Xuezhong | Gupta, Namrata | Mirel, Daniel | Stahl, Eli A. | Diogo, Dorothée | Cui, Jing | Liao, Katherine | Guo, Michael H. | Myouzen, Keiko | Kawaguchi, Takahisa | Coenen, Marieke J.H. | van Riel, Piet L.C.M. | van de Laar, Mart A.F.J. | Guchelaar, Henk-Jan | Huizinga, Tom W.J. | Dieudé, Philippe | Mariette, Xavier | Bridges, S. Louis | Zhernakova, Alexandra | Toes, Rene E.M. | Tak, Paul P. | Miceli-Richard, Corinne | Bang, So-Young | Lee, Hye-Soon | Martin, Javier | Gonzalez-Gay, Miguel A. | Rodriguez-Rodriguez, Luis | Rantapää-Dahlqvist, Solbritt | Ärlestig, Lisbeth | Choi, Hyon K. | Kamatani, Yoichiro | Galan, Pilar | Lathrop, Mark | Eyre, Steve | Bowes, John | Barton, Anne | de Vries, Niek | Moreland, Larry W. | Criswell, Lindsey A. | Karlson, Elizabeth W. | Taniguchi, Atsuo | Yamada, Ryo | Kubo, Michiaki | Liu, Jun S. | Bae, Sang-Cheol | Worthington, Jane | Padyukov, Leonid | Klareskog, Lars | Gregersen, Peter K. | Raychaudhuri, Soumya | Stranger, Barbara E. | De Jager, Philip L. | Franke, Lude | Visscher, Peter M. | Brown, Matthew A. | Yamanaka, Hisashi | Mimori, Tsuneyo | Takahashi, Atsushi | Xu, Huji | Behrens, Timothy W. | Siminovitch, Katherine A. | Momohara, Shigeki | Matsuda, Fumihiko | Yamamoto, Kazuhiko | Plenge, Robert M.
Nature  2013;506(7488):376-381.
A major challenge in human genetics is to devise a systematic strategy to integrate disease-associated variants with diverse genomic and biological datasets to provide insight into disease pathogenesis and guide drug discovery for complex traits such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA)1. Here, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis in a total of >100,000 subjects of European and Asian ancestries (29,880 RA cases and 73,758 controls), by evaluating ~10 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We discovered 42 novel RA risk loci at a genome-wide level of significance, bringing the total to 1012–4. We devised an in-silico pipeline using established bioinformatics methods based on functional annotation5, cis-acting expression quantitative trait loci (cis-eQTL)6, and pathway analyses7–9 – as well as novel methods based on genetic overlap with human primary immunodeficiency (PID), hematological cancer somatic mutations and knock-out mouse phenotypes – to identify 98 biological candidate genes at these 101 risk loci. We demonstrate that these genes are the targets of approved therapies for RA, and further suggest that drugs approved for other indications may be repurposed for the treatment of RA. Together, this comprehensive genetic study sheds light on fundamental genes, pathways and cell types that contribute to RA pathogenesis, and provides empirical evidence that the genetics of RA can provide important information for drug discovery.
doi:10.1038/nature12873
PMCID: PMC3944098  PMID: 24390342
18.  Emerging Strategies and Integrated Systems Microbiology Technologies for Biodiscovery of Marine Bioactive Compounds 
Marine Drugs  2014;12(6):3516-3559.
Marine microorganisms continue to be a source of structurally and biologically novel compounds with potential use in the biotechnology industry. The unique physiochemical properties of the marine environment (such as pH, pressure, temperature, osmolarity) and uncommon functional groups (such as isonitrile, dichloroimine, isocyanate, and halogenated functional groups) are frequently found in marine metabolites. These facts have resulted in the production of bioactive substances with different properties than those found in terrestrial habitats. In fact, the marine environment contains a relatively untapped reservoir of bioactivity. Recent advances in genomics, metagenomics, proteomics, combinatorial biosynthesis, synthetic biology, screening methods, expression systems, bioinformatics, and the ever increasing availability of sequenced genomes provides us with more opportunities than ever in the discovery of novel bioactive compounds and biocatalysts. The combination of these advanced techniques with traditional techniques, together with the use of dereplication strategies to eliminate known compounds, provides a powerful tool in the discovery of novel marine bioactive compounds. This review outlines and discusses the emerging strategies for the biodiscovery of these bioactive compounds.
doi:10.3390/md12063516
PMCID: PMC4071589  PMID: 24918453
marine bioactive compounds; metagenomics; synthetic biology; biocatalyst discovery; metaproteomic; dereplication; omic approaches
19.  Caries-free subjects have high levels of urease and arginine deiminase activity 
Journal of Applied Oral Science  2014;22(3):235-240.
Objectives
This study investigated the relationship between urease and arginine deiminase system (ADS) activities and dental caries through a cross-sectional study.
Material and Methods
Urease and ADS activities were measured in saliva and plaque samples from 10 caries-free subjects and 13 caries-active. Urease activity was obtained from the ammonia produced by incubation of plaque and saliva samples in urea. ADS activity was obtained from the ammonia generated by the arginine-HCl and Tris-maleate buffer. Specific activity was defined as micromoles of ammonia per minute per milligram of protein. Shapiro-Wilk statistical test was used to analyze the distribution of the data, and Mann-Whitney test was used to determine the significance of the data.
Results
The specific urease activity in saliva and plaque was significantly higher in individuals with low DMFT scores. ADS activity in saliva (6.050 vs 1.350, p=0.0154) and plaque (8.830 vs 1.210, p=0.025) was also higher in individuals with low DMFT scores.
Conclusions
Caries-free subjects had a higher ammonia generation activity by urease and arginine deiminase system for both saliva and plaque samples than low caries-active subjects. High levels of alkali production in oral environment were related to caries-free subjects.
doi:10.1590/1678-775720130591
PMCID: PMC4072275  PMID: 25025565
Alkali; Arginine; Dental plaque; Saliva; Urease; Dental caries
20.  Confirmation of TNIP1 but not RHOB and PSORS1C1 as systemic sclerosis risk factors in a large independent replication study 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2012;72(4):10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-201888.
Introduction
A recent genome-wide association study in European systemic sclerosis (SSc) patients identified three loci (PSORS1C1, TNIP1 and RHOB) as novel genetic risk factors for the disease. The aim of this study was to replicate the previously mentioned findings in a large multicentre independent SSc cohort of Caucasian ancestry.
Methods
4389 SSc patients and 7611 healthy controls from different European countries and the USA were included in the study. Six single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP): rs342070, rs13021401 (RHOB), rs2233287, rs4958881, rs3792783 (TNIP1) and rs3130573 (PSORS1C1) were analysed. Overall significance was calculated by pooled analysis of all the cohorts. Haplotype analyses and conditional logistic regression analyses were carried out to explore further the genetic structure of the tested loci.
Results
Pooled analyses of all the analysed SNPs in TNIP1 revealed significant association with the whole disease (rs2233287 pMH=1.94×10−4, OR 1.19; rs4958881 pMH=3.26×10−5, OR 1.19; rs3792783 pMH=2.16×10−4, OR 1.19). These associations were maintained in all the subgroups considered. PSORS1C1 comparison showed association with the complete set of patients and all the subsets except for the anti-centromere-positive patients. However, the association was dependent on different HLA class II alleles. The variants in the RHOB gene were not associated with SSc or any of its subsets.
Conclusions
These data confirmed the influence of TNIP1 on an increased susceptibility to SSc and reinforced this locus as a common autoimmunity risk factor.
doi:10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-201888
PMCID: PMC3887516  PMID: 22896740
21.  A genome-wide association study follow-up suggests a possible role for PPARG in systemic sclerosis susceptibility 
Introduction
A recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) comprising a French cohort of systemic sclerosis (SSc) reported several non-HLA single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) showing a nominal association in the discovery phase. We aimed to identify previously overlooked susceptibility variants by using a follow-up strategy.
Methods
Sixty-six non-HLA SNPs showing a P value <10-4 in the discovery phase of the French SSc GWAS were analyzed in the first step of this study, performing a meta-analysis that combined data from the two published SSc GWASs. A total of 2,921 SSc patients and 6,963 healthy controls were included in this first phase. Two SNPs, PPARG rs310746 and CHRNA9 rs6832151, were selected for genotyping in the replication cohort (1,068 SSc patients and 6,762 healthy controls) based on the results of the first step. Genotyping was performed by using TaqMan SNP genotyping assays.
Results
We observed nominal associations for both PPARG rs310746 (PMH = 1.90 × 10-6, OR, 1.28) and CHRNA9 rs6832151 (PMH = 4.30 × 10-6, OR, 1.17) genetic variants with SSc in the first step of our study. In the replication phase, we observed a trend of association for PPARG rs310746 (P value = 0.066; OR, 1.17). The combined overall Mantel-Haenszel meta-analysis of all the cohorts included in the present study revealed that PPARG rs310746 remained associated with SSc with a nominal non-genome-wide significant P value (PMH = 5.00 × 10-7; OR, 1.25). No evidence of association was observed for CHRNA9 rs6832151 either in the replication phase or in the overall pooled analysis.
Conclusion
Our results suggest a role of PPARG gene in the development of SSc.
doi:10.1186/ar4432
PMCID: PMC3978735  PMID: 24401602
22.  STAT4 Associates with SLE Through Two Independent Effects that Correlate with Gene Expression and Act Additively with IRF5 to Increase Risk 
Annals of the rheumatic diseases  2008;68(11):10.1136/ard.2008.097642.
Objectives
To confirm and define the genetic association of STAT4 and systemic lupus erythematosus, investigate the possibility of correlations with differential splicing and/or expression levels, and genetic interaction with IRF5.
Methods
30 tag SNPs were genotyped in an independent set of Spanish cases and controls. SNPs surviving correction for multiple tests were genotyped in 5 new sets of cases and controls for replication. STAT4 cDNA was analyzed by 5’-RACE PCR and sequencing. Expression levels were measured by quantitative PCR.
Results
In the fine-mapping, four SNPs were significant after correction for multiple testing, with rs3821236 and rs3024866 as the strongest signals, followed by the previously associated rs7574865, and by rs1467199. Association was replicated in all cohorts. After conditional regression analyses, two major independent signals represented by SNPs rs3821236 and rs7574865, remained significant across the sets. These SNPs belong to separate haplotype blocks. High levels of STAT4 expression correlated with SNPs rs3821236, rs3024866 (both in the same haplotype block) and rs7574865 but not with other SNPs. We also detected transcription of alternative tissue-specific exons 1, indicating presence of tissue-specific promoters of potential importance in the expression of STAT4. No interaction with associated SNPs of IRF5 was observed using regression analysis.
Conclusions
These data confirm STAT4 as a susceptibility gene for SLE and suggest the presence of at least two functional variants affecting levels of STAT4. Our results also indicate that both genes STAT4 and IRF5 act additively to increase risk for SLE.
doi:10.1136/ard.2008.097642
PMCID: PMC3878433  PMID: 19019891
Association studies; systemic lupus erythematosus; STAT4 transcription factor; Interferon regulatory factor; genetic predisposition to disease
23.  Replication of the TNFSF4 (OX40L) Promoter Region Association with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Genes and immunity  2008;10(3):10.1038/gene.2008.95.
The tumor necrosis factor ligand superfamily member 4 gene (TNFSF4) encodes the OX40 ligand (OX40L), a co-stimulatory molecule involved in T-cell activation. A recent study demonstrated the association ofTNFSF4 haplotypes located in the upstream region with risk for- or protection from Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) (Graham et al, 2008). In order to replicate this association, five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) tagging the previously associated haplotypes and passing the proper quality control filters were tested in 1312 cases and 1801 controls from Germany, Italy, Spain, and Argentina. The association of TNFSF4 with SLE was replicated in all the sets except Spain. There was a unique risk haplotype tagged by the minor alleles of the SNPs rs1234317 (pooled OR=1.39, p=0.0009) and rs12039904 (pooled OR=1.38, p=0.0012). We did not observe association to a single protective marker (rs844644) or haplotype as the first study reported; instead, we observed different protective haplotypes, all carrying the major alleles of both SNPs rs1234317 and rs12039904. Association analysis conditioning on the haplotypic background confirmed that these two SNPs explain the entire haplotype effect. This is the first replication study that confirms the association of genetic variation in the upstream region of TNFSF4 with susceptibility to SLE.
doi:10.1038/gene.2008.95
PMCID: PMC3867640  PMID: 19092840
Systemic lupus erythematosus; TNFSF4; OX40L; genetic association study
24.  Two Independent Functional Risk Haplotypes in TNIP1 are Associated with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2012;64(11):3695-3705.
Objective
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by autoantibody production and altered type I interferon expression. Genetic surveys and genome-wide association studies have identified more than 30 SLE susceptibility genes. One of these genes, TNIP1, encodes the ABIN1 protein. ABIN1 functions in the immune system by restricting the NF-κB signaling. In order to better understand the genetic factors that influence association with SLE in genes that regulate the NF-κB pathway, we analyzed a dense set of genetic markers spanning TNIP1 and TAX1BP1, as well as the TNIP1 homolog, TNIP2, in case-control sets of diverse ethnic origins.
Methods
We fine-mapped TNIP1, TNIP2, and TAX1BP1 in a total of 8372 SLE cases and 7492 healthy controls from European-ancestry, African-American, Hispanic, East Asian, and African-American Gullah populations. Levels of TNIP1 mRNA and ABIN1 protein were analyzed using quantitative RT-PCR and Western blotting, respectively, in EBV-transformed human B cell lines.
Results
We found significant associations between genetic variants within TNIP1 and SLE but not in TNIP2 or TAX1BP1. After resequencing and imputation, we identified two independent risk haplotypes within TNIP1 in individuals of European-ancestry that were also present in African-American and Hispanic populations. These risk haplotypes produced lower levels of TNIP1 mRNA and ABIN1 protein suggesting they harbor hypomorphic functional variants that influence susceptibility to SLE by restricting ABIN1 expression.
Conclusion
Our results confirmed the association signals between SLE and TNIP1 variants in multiple populations and provide new insight into the mechanism by which TNIP1 variants may contribute to SLE pathogenesis.
doi:10.1002/art.34642
PMCID: PMC3485412  PMID: 22833143
25.  Impact of Genetic Ancestry and Socio-Demographic Status on the Clinical Expression of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in Amerindian-European Populations 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2012;64(11):3687-3694.
Objective
Amerindian-Europeans, Asians and African-Americans have an excess morbidity from SLE and higher prevalence of lupus nephritis than Caucasians. The aim of this study was to analyze the relationship between genetic ancestry and socio-demographic characteristics and clinical features in a large cohort of Amerindian-European SLE patients.
Methods
A total of 2116 SLE patients of Amerindian-European origin and 4001 SLE patients of European descent with clinical data were used in the study. Genotyping of 253 continental ancestry informative markers was performed on the Illumina platform. The STRUCTURE and ADMIXTURE software were used to determine genetic ancestry of each individual. Correlation between ancestry and socio-demographic and clinical data were analyzed using logistic regression.
Results
The average Amerindian genetic ancestry of 2116 SLE patients was 40.7%. There was an increased risk of having renal involvement (P<0.0001, OR= 3.50 95%CI 2.63-4.63) and an early age of onset with the presence of Amerindian genetic ancestry (P<0.0001). Amerindian ancestry protected against photosensitivity (P<0.0001, OR= 0.58 95%CI 0.44-0.76), oral ulcers (P<0.0001, OR= 0.55 95%CI 0.42-0.72), and serositis (P<0.0001, OR= 0.56 95%CI 0.41-0.75) after adjustment by age, gender and age of onset. However, gender and age of onset had stronger effects on malar rash, discoid rash, arthritis and neurological involvement than genetic ancestry.
Conclusion
In general, genetic Amerindian ancestry correlates with lower socio-demographic status and increases the risk for developing renal involvement and SLE at an earlier age of onset.
doi:10.1002/art.34650
PMCID: PMC3485439  PMID: 22886787

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