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1.  Dense Genotyping of Immune-Related Loci Identifies Variants Associated with Clearance of HPV among HIV-Positive Women in the HIV Epidemiology Research Study (HERS) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99109.
Persistent high-risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) is a necessary and causal factor of cervical cancer. Most women naturally clear HPV infections; however, the biological mechanisms related to HPV pathogenesis have not been clearly elucidated. Host genetic factors that specifically regulate immune response could play an important role. All HIV-positive women in the HIV Epidemiology Research Study (HERS) with a HR-HPV infection and at least one follow-up biannual visit were included in the study. Cervicovaginal lavage samples were tested for HPV using type-specific HPV hybridization assays. Type-specific HPV clearance was defined as two consecutive HPV-negative tests after a positive test. DNA from participants was genotyped for 196,524 variants within 186 known immune related loci using the custom ImmunoChip microarray. To assess the influence of each single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) with HR-HPV clearance, the Cox proportional hazards model with the Wei-Lin-Weissfeld approach was used, adjusting for CD4+ count, low risk HPV (LR-HPV) co-infection, and relevant confounders. Three analytical models were performed: race-specific (African Americans (n = 258), European Americans (n = 87), Hispanics (n = 55), race-adjusted combined analysis, and meta-analysis of pooled independent race-specific analyses. Women were followed for a median time of 1,617 days. Overall, three SNPs (rs1112085, rs11102637, and rs12030900) in the MAGI-3 gene and one SNP (rs8031627) in the SMAD3 gene were associated with HR-HPV clearance (p<10−6). A variant (rs1633038) in HLA-G were also significantly associated in African American. Results from this study support associations of immune-related genes, having potential biological mechanism, with differential cervical HR-HPV infection outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4053382  PMID: 24918582
2.  Characteristics of Streptococcus mutans genotypes and dental caries in children 
European journal of oral sciences  2013;121(3 0 1):148-155.
This longitudinal cohort study evaluated the diversity, commonality, and stability of Streptococcus mutans genotypes associated with dental caries history. Sixty-seven 5 and 6 yr-old children, considered being at high caries risk, had plaque collected from baseline through 36 months for S. mutans isolation and genotyping with repetitive extragenic palindromic-PCR (4,392 total isolates). Decayed, missing, filled surfaces (dmfs/DMFS) for each child were recorded at baseline. At baseline, 18 distinct genotypes were found among 911 S. mutans isolates from 67 children (diversity) and 13 genotypes were shared by at least 2 children (commonality). The number of genotypes per individual was positively associated with the proportion of decayed surfaces (p-ds) at baseline. Twenty-four of the 39 children who were available at follow-up visits maintained a predominant genotype for the follow-up periods (stability) and was negatively associated with p-ds. The observed diversity, commonality, and stability of S. mutans genotypes represent a pattern of dental caries epidemiology in this high caries risk community, which suggest fewer decayed surfaces are significantly associated with lower diversity and stability of S. mutans genotypes.
PMCID: PMC3652634  PMID: 23659236
Streptococcus mutans; genotype; Genetic Diversity; Dental Caries
3.  DC-SIGN gene promoter variants and IVIG treatment response in Kawasaki disease 
Genetic variants in the inhibiting FcγRIIB mediate anti-inflammatory responses and influence IVIG refractoriness (IVIG-R). However, these variants are rare in Asian and Hispanic populations so other genes in the pathway could be potentially involved. IVIG is ineffective in mice lacking SIGN-R1, a related molecule to human DC-SIGN. Further, DC-SIGN is a known receptor for sialylated Fc, the component responsible for the anti-inflammatory action of IVIG. Thus, we hypothesized that DC-SIGN would also be involved in the pathway of IVIG response in Kawasaki Disease (KD) patients.
A case-control approach was performed to examine the differential distribution of five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in DC-SIGN promoter with IVIG-R among White (158 vs. 62), Asian (64 vs. 12) and Hispanic (55 vs. 20) KD patients. Distinct differences in allele frequency distributions of several variants in the DC-SIGN promoter were observed in the three ethnic groups. Further, Asians with the major allele “A” in rs2287886 were more likely (OR = 1.76, p = 0.04) to be IVIG non-responder, but this allele is a minor allele in other two ethnic groups, where the association was not apparent.
DC-SIGN can potentially complement the role of FcγRIIB in the anti-inflammatory cascade involved in the IVIG response mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3847673  PMID: 24006904
Kawasaki disease; IVIG treatment response; FcγR; Coronary artery disease; DC-SIGN
4.  Genomic Copy Number Variants: Evidence for Association with Antibody Response to Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64813.
Anthrax and its etiologic agent remain a biological threat. Anthrax vaccine is highly effective, but vaccine-induced IgG antibody responses vary widely following required doses of vaccinations. Such variation can be related to genetic factors, especially genomic copy number variants (CNVs) that are known to be enriched among genes with immunologic function. We have tested this hypothesis in two study populations from a clinical trial of anthrax vaccination.
We performed CNV-based genome-wide association analyses separately on 794 European Americans and 200 African-Americans. Antibodies to protective antigen were measured at week 8 (early response) and week 30 (peak response) using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. We used DNA microarray data (Affymetrix 6.0) and two CNV detection algorithms, hidden markov model (PennCNV) and circular binary segmentation (GeneSpring) to determine CNVs in all individuals. Multivariable regression analyses were used to identify CNV-specific associations after adjusting for relevant non-genetic covariates.
Within the 22 autosomal chromosomes, 2,943 non-overlapping CNV regions were detected by both algorithms. Genomic insertions containing HLA-DRB5, DRB1 and DQA1/DRA genes in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region (chromosome 6p21.3) were moderately associated with elevated early antibody response (β = 0.14, p = 1.78×10−3) among European Americans, and the strongest association was observed between peak antibody response and a segmental insertion on chromosome 1, containing NBPF4, NBPF5, STXMP3, CLCC1, and GPSM2 genes (β = 1.66, p = 6.06×10−5). For African-Americans, segmental deletions spanning PRR20, PCDH17 and PCH68 genes on chromosome 13 were associated with elevated early antibody production (β = 0.18, p = 4.47×10−5). Population-specific findings aside, one genomic insertion on chromosome 17 (containing NSF, ARL17 and LRRC37A genes) was associated with elevated peak antibody response in both populations.
Multiple CNV regions, including the one consisting of MHC genes that is consistent with earlier research, can be important to humoral immune responses to anthrax vaccine adsorbed.
PMCID: PMC3669407  PMID: 23741398
5.  The Utility of Mitochondrial and Y Chromosome Phylogenetic Data to Improve Correction for Population Stratification 
Frontiers in Genetics  2012;3:301.
Genome-wide association (GWA) studies have become a standard approach for discovering and validating genomic polymorphisms putatively associated with phenotypes of interest. Accounting for population structure in GWA studies is critical to attain unbiased parameter measurements and control Type I error. One common approach to accounting for population structure is to include several principal components derived from the entire autosomal dataset, which reflects population structure signal. However, knowing which components to include is subjective and generally not conclusive. We examined how phylogenetic signal from mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and chromosome Y (chr:Y) markers is concordant with principal component data based on autosomal markers to determine whether mtDNA and chr:Y phylogenetic data can help guide principal component selection. Using HAPMAP and other original data from individuals of multiple ancestries, we examined the relationships of mtDNA and chr:Y phylogenetic signal with the autosomal PCA using best subset logistic regression. We show that while the two approaches agree at times, this is independent of the component order and not completely represented in the Eigen values. Additionally, we use simulations to demonstrate that our approach leads to a slightly reduced Type I error rate compared to the standard approach. This approach provides preliminary evidence to support the theoretical concept that mtDNA and chr:Y data can be informative in locating the PCs that are most associated with evolutionary history of populations that are being studied, although the utility of such information will depend on the specific situation.
PMCID: PMC3527715  PMID: 23267368
phylogeny; PCA; Y chromosome; mitochondria; population sub-structure
6.  Genes Linked to Energy Metabolism and Immunoregulatory Mechanisms are Associated with Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue Distribution in HIV-infected Men 
Pharmacogenetics and genomics  2011;21(12):798-807.
Genetic studies may help explain abnormalities of fat distribution in HIV-infected patients treated with antiretroviral therapy (ARV).
Subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) volume measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in leg, lower trunk, upper trunk, and arm was examined in 192 HIV-infected Caucasian men, ARV-treated from the Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV infection (FRAM) study. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were assayed using the Illumina HumanCNV370-quad beadchip. Multivariate and univariate genome wide association analyses of the four SAT depots were implemented in PLINK software adjusted for age and ARV duration. Functional annotation analysis (FAA) using Ingenuity Systems Pathway Analysis tool (IPA) was carried out for markers with P<10-3 near known genes identified by multivariate analysis.
Loci (rs10504906, rs13267998, rs921231) in or near the anion exchanger solute carrier family 26, member 7 isoform a (SLC26A7) were strongly associated with upper trunk and arm SAT (9.8*10-7≤P<7.8*10-6). Loci (rs193139, rs7523050, rs1761621) in and near a gene rich region including G-protein-signaling modulator 2 (GPSM2) and syntaxin binding protein 3 (STXBP3) were significantly associated with lower body SAT depots (9.9*10-7≤P<9.5*10-6). GPSM2 is associated with cell division and cancer while STXBP3 is associated with glucose metabolism in adipoctyes. IPA identified atherosclerosis, mitochondrial function and T-Cell mediated apoptosis as processes related to SAT volume in HIV-infected individuals (P<5*10-3).
Our results are limited by the small sample size and replication is needed, however this genomic scan uncovered new genes associated with metabolism and inflammatory pathways that may affect SAT volume in ARV-treated HIV-infected patients.
PMCID: PMC3210910  PMID: 21897333
HIV; HAART; GWAS; Subcutaneous Fat; SAT
7.  A Genome-wide Association Study of Carotid Atherosclerosis in HIV-infected Men 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(4):583-592.
The role of host genetics in the development of subclinical atherosclerosis in the context of HIV infected persons who are being treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is not well understood.
The present genome-wide association study (GWAS) is based on 177 HIV-positive Caucasian males receiving HAART who participated in the Fat Redistribution and Metabolic Change in HIV Infection (FRAM) Study. Common and internal carotid intima-media thicknesses (cIMT) measured by B-mode ultrasound were used as a subclinical measure of atherosclerosis. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were assayed using the Illumina HumanCNV370-quad beadchip. Copy Number Variants (CNV) were inferred using a hidden Markov Model (PennCNV). Regression analyses were used to assess the association of common and internal cIMT with individual SNPs and CNVs, adjusting for age, duration of antiretroviral treatment, and principal components to account for potential population stratification.
Two SNPs in tight linkage disequilibrium, rs2229116 (a missense, nonsynonymous polymorphism (IIe to Val)) and rs7177922, located in the Ryanodine receptor (RYR3) gene on chromosome 15 were significantly associated with common cIMT (p-value<1.61×10−7). The RYR gene family has been known to play a role in the etiology of cardiovascular disease and has been shown to be regulated by HIV TAT protein.
These results suggest that in the context of HIV infection and HAART, a functional SNP in a biologically plausible candidate gene, RYR3, is associated with increased common carotid IMT, which is a surrogate for atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC3072760  PMID: 20009918
HIV; HAART; atherosclerosis; GWAS; intima-media thickness
8.  Interleukin-10 (IL-10) Pathway: Genetic Variants and Outcomes of HIV-1 Infection in African American Adolescents 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(10):e13384.
Immunological and clinical outcomes can vary considerably at the individual and population levels during both treated and untreated HIV-1 infection. Cytokines encoded by the interleukin-10 gene (IL10) family have broad immunomodulatory function in viral persistence, and several SNPs in the IL10 promoter sequence have been reported to influence pathogenesis or acquisition of HIV-1 infection.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We examined 104 informative SNPs in IL10, IL19, IL20, IL24, IL10RA and IL10RB among 250 HIV-1 seropositive and 106 high-risk seronegative African American adolescents in the REACH cohort. In subsequent evaluation of five different immunological and virological outcomes related to HIV-1 infection, 25 SNPs were associated with a single outcome and three were associated with two different outcomes. One SNP, rs2243191 in the IL19 open reading frame (Ser to Phe substitution) was associated with CD4+ T-cell increase during treatment. Another SNP rs2244305 in IL10RB (in strong linkage disequilibrium with rs443498) was associated with an initial decrease in CD4+ T-cell by 23±9% and 29±9% every 3 months (for AA and AG genotypes, respectively, compared with GG) during ART-free period. These associations were reversed during treatment, as CD4+ T-cell increased by 31±0.9% and 17±8% every 3 months for AA and AG genotype, respectively.
In African Americans, variants in IL10 and related genes might influence multiple outcomes of HIV-1 infection, especially immunological response to HAART. Fine mapping coupled with analysis of gene expression and function should help reveal the immunological importance of the IL10 gene family to HIV-1/AIDS.
PMCID: PMC2954785  PMID: 20976276
9.  A Genomic Scan for Age at Onset of Alzheimer’s Disease in 437 Families From the NIMH Genetic Initiative 
We performed linkage analysis for age at onset (AAO) in the total Alzheimer’s disease (AD) NIMH sample (N = 437 families). Families were subset as late-onset (320 families, AAO ≥65) and early/ mixed (117 families, at least 1 member with 50< AAO <65). Treating AAO as a censored trait, we obtained the gender and APOE adjusted residuals in a parametric survival model and analyzed the residuals as the quantitative trait (QT) in variance-component linkage analysis. For comparison, AAO–age at exam (AAE) was analyzed as the QT adjusting for affection status, gender, and APOE. Heritabilities for residual and AAO–AAE outcomes were 66.3% and 74.0%, respectively for the total sample, 56.0% and 57.0% in the late-onset sample, and 33.0% for both models in the early/mixed sample. The residual model yielded the largest peaks onchromosome1 with LOD = 2.0 at 190 cM in the total set, LOD = 1.7 at 116 cM on chromosome 3 in the early/mixed subset, and LOD = 1.4 at 71 and 86 cM, respectively, on chromosome 6 in the late-onset subset. For the AAO–AAE outcome model the largest peaks were identified on chromosome 1 at 137 cM (LOD = 2.8) and chromosome 6 at 69 cM (LOD = 2.3) and 86 cM (LOD = 2.2) all in the late-onset subset. Additional peaks with LOD ≥1 were identified on chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, and 12 for the total sample and each subset. Results replicate previous findings, but identify additional suggestive peaks indicating the genetics of AAO in AD is complex with many chromosomal regions potentially containing modifying genes.
PMCID: PMC2661765  PMID: 18189239
Alzhiemer’s disease; censored quantitative trait; variance-component linkage analysis
10.  Hemoglobin binding to Aβ and HBG2 SNP association suggest a role in Alzheimer's disease 
Neurobiology of aging  2006;29(2):185-193.
From a normal human brain phage display library screen we identified the gamma (A)-globin chain of fetal hemoglobin (Hb F) as a protein that bound strongly to Aβ1-42. We showed the oxidized form of adult Hb (metHb A) binds with greater affinity to Aβ1-42 than metHb F. MetHb is more toxic than oxyhemoglobin because it loses its heme group more readily. Free Hb and heme readily damage vascular endothelial cells similar to Alzheimer's disease (AD) vascular pathology. The XmnI polymorphism (C→T) at −158 of the gamma (G)-globin promoter region can contribute to increased Hb F expression. Using family-based association testing, we found a significant protective association of this polymorphism in the NIMH sibling dataset (n=489) in families, with at least two affected and one unaffected sibling (p=0.006), with an age of onset >50 years (p=0.010) and >65 years (p=0.013), and families not homozygous for the APOE4 allele (p=0.041). We hypothesize that Hb F may be less toxic than adult Hb in its interaction with Aβ and may protect against the development of AD.
PMCID: PMC2266611  PMID: 17157413
fetal hemoglobin; gamma globin; methemoglobin; heme; neurological; vascular disease; polymorphism; amyloid
11.  Candidate Gene Discovery Procedure after Follow-Up Confirmatory Analyses of Candidate Regions of Interests for Alzheimer’s Disease in the NIMH Sibling Dataset 
Disease markers  2008;24(6):293-309.
The objective of this research was to develop a procedure to identify candidate genes under linkage peaks confirmed in a follow-up of candidate regions of interests (CRIs) identified in our original genome scan in the NIMH Alzheimer’s diseases (AD) Initiative families (Blacker et al. [1]). There were six CRIs identified that met the threshold of multipoint lod score (MLS) of ≥ 2.0 from the original scan. The most significant peak (MLS = 7.7) was at 19q13, which was attributed to APOE. The remaining CRIs with ‘suggestive’ evidence for linkage were identified at 9q22, 6q27, 14q22, 11q25, and 3p26. We have followed up and narrowed the 9q22 CRI signal using simple tandem repeat (STR) markers (Perry et al. [2]). In this confirmatory project, we have followed up the 6q27, 14q22, 11q25, and 3p26 CRIs with a total of 24 additional flanking STRs, reducing the mean interval marker distance (MID) in each CRI, and substantially increase in the information content (IC). The linkage signals at 6q27, 14q22 and 11q25 remain ‘suggestive’, indicating that these CRIs are promising and worthy of detailed fine mapping and assessment of candidate genes associated with AD.
We have developed a bioinformatics approach for identifying candidate genes in these confirmed regions based on the Gene Ontology terms that are annotated and enriched among the systematic meta-analyzed genes, confirmed by at least three case-control samples, and cataloged in the “AlzGene database” as potential Alzheimer disease susceptibility genes (
PMCID: PMC3850604  PMID: 18688078
Alzheimer; linkage; QTL; STR; SNP; Genomic scan; Candidate gene; bioinformatics; gene ontology; GO; Alzforum; Alzgene database
12.  COGA phenotypes and linkages on chromosome 2 
BMC Genetics  2005;6(Suppl 1):S125.
An initial linkage analysis of the alcoholism phenotype as defined by DSM-III-R criteria and alcoholism defined by DSM-IV criteria showed many, sometimes striking, inconsistencies. These inconsistencies are greatly reduced by making the definition of alcoholism more specific. We defined new phenotypes combining the alcoholism definitions and the latent variables, defining an individual as affected if that individual is alcoholic under one of the definitions (either DSM-III-R or DSM-IV), and indicated having a symptom defined by one of the latent variables. This was done for each of the two alcoholism definitions and five latent variables, selected from a canonical discriminant analyses indicating they formed significant groupings using the electrophysiological variables. We found that linkage analyses utilizing these latent variables were much more robust and consistent than the linkage results based on DSM-III-R or DSM-IV criteria for definition of alcoholism. We also performed linkage analyses on two first prinicipal components derived phenotypes, one derived from the electrophysiolocical variables, and the other derived from the latent variables. A region on chromosome 2 at 250 cM was found to be linked to both of these derived phenotypes. Further examination of the SNPs in this region identified several haplotypes strongly associated with these derived phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC1866812  PMID: 16451583
13.  Total blood lymphocyte counts in hemochromatosis probands with HFE C282Y homozygosity: relationship to severity of iron overload and HLA-A and -B alleles and haplotypes 
It has been reported that some persons with hemochromatosis have low total blood lymphocyte counts, but the reason for this is unknown.
We measured total blood lymphocyte counts using an automated blood cell counter in 146 hemochromatosis probands (88 men, 58 women) with HFE C282Y homozygosity who were diagnosed in medical care. Univariate and multivariate analyses of total blood lymphocyte counts were evaluated using these variables: sex; age, transferrin saturation, and serum ferritin concentration at diagnosis; units of blood removed by phlebotomy to achieve iron depletion; and human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A and -B alleles and haplotypes.
The mean age at diagnosis was 49 ± 14 years (range 18 – 80 years) in men and 50 ± 13 years (range 22 – 88 years) in women. The correlations of total blood lymphocyte counts with sex, age, transferrin saturation, and serum ferritin concentration at diagnosis, and units of blood removed by phlebotomy to achieve iron depletion were not significant at the 0.05 level. Univariate analyses revealed significant associations between total blood lymphocyte counts and presence of the HLA-A*01, -B*08, and -B*14 alleles, and the A*01-B*08 haplotype. Presence of the A*01 allele, B*08 allele, or A*01-B*08 haplotype were associated with a lower total blood lymphocyte count, whereas presence of the B*14 allele was associated with a greater total blood lymphocyte count. There was an inverse association of total blood lymphocyte count with units of phlebotomy to achieve iron depletion, serum ferritin concentration, and with presence of the A*01-B*08 haplotype.
We conclude that there is a significant inverse relationship of total blood lymphocyte counts and severity of iron overload in hemochromatosis probands with HFE C282Y homozygosity. The presence of the HLA-A*01 allele or the -B*08 allele was also associated with significantly lower total blood lymphocyte counts, whereas presence of the -B*14 allele was associated with significantly higher total blood lymphocyte counts. In univariate and multivariate analyses, total blood lymphocyte counts were significantly lower in probands with the HLA-A*01-B*08 haplotype than in probands without this haplotype.
PMCID: PMC1198220  PMID: 16042809

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