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1.  Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms Associated with Colorectal Cancer Susceptibility and Loss of Heterozygosity in a Taiwanese Population 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100060.
Given the significant racial and ethnic diversity in genetic variation, we are intrigued to find out whether the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified in genome-wide association studies of colorectal cancer (CRC) susceptibility in East Asian populations are also relevant to the population of Taiwan. Moreover, loss of heterozygosity (LOH) may provide insight into how variants alter CRC risk and how regulatory elements control gene expression. To investigate the racial and ethnic diversity of CRC-susceptibility genetic variants and their relevance to the Taiwanese population, we genotyped 705 CRC cases and 1,802 healthy controls (Taiwan Biobank) for fifteen previously reported East Asian CRC-susceptibility SNPs and four novel genetic variants identified by whole-exome sequencing. We found that rs10795668 in FLJ3802842 and rs4631962 in CCND2 were significantly associated with CRC risk in the Taiwanese population. The previously unreported rs1338565 was associated with a significant increased risk of CRC. In addition, we also genotyped tumor tissue and paired adjacent normal tissues of these 705 CRC cases to search for LOH, as well as risk-associated and protective alleles. LOH analysis revealed preferential retention of three SNPs, rs12657484, rs3802842, and rs4444235, in tumor tissues. rs4444235 has been recently reported to be a cis-acting regulator of BMP4 gene; in this study, the C allele was preferentially retained in tumor tissues (p = 0.0023). rs4631962 and rs10795668 contribute to CRC risk in the Taiwanese and East Asian populations, and the newly identified rs1338565 was specifically associated with CRC, supporting the ethnic diversity of CRC-susceptibility SNPs. LOH analysis suggested that the three CRC risk variants, rs12657484, rs3802842, and rs4444235, exhibited somatic allele-specific imbalance and might be critical during neoplastic progression.
PMCID: PMC4072675  PMID: 24968322
2.  Clonal Expansion of Both Modern and Ancient Genotypes of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Southern Taiwan 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43018.
We present the first comprehensive analysis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates circulating in the Kaohsiung region of southern Taiwan. The major spoligotypes found in the 224 isolates studied were Beijing lineages (n = 97; 43.3%), EAI lineages (n = 72; 32.1%) and Haarlem lineages (n = 18; 8.0%). By 24 MIRU-VNTR typing, 174 patterns were identified, including 24 clusters of 74 isolates and 150 unique patterns. The combination of spoligotyping and 12-MIRU-VNTR revealed that 129 (57.6%) of the 224 isolates were clustered in 18 genotypes. Moreover, 63.6% (7/11) of infected persons younger than 30 years had a Beijing strain, which could suggest recent spread among younger persons by this family of TB strains in Kaohsiung. Among the 94 Beijing family (SIT1, SIT250 and SIT1674) isolates further analyzed for SNPs by mass spectrometry, the most frequent strain found was ST10 (n = 49; 52%), followed by ST22 (n = 17; 18%) and ST19 (n = 11; 12%). Among the EAI-Manila family isolates analyzed by region deletion-based subtyping, the most frequent strain found was RD type 1 (n = 63; 87.5%), followed by RD type 2 (n = 9; 12.5%). In our previous study, the proportion of modern Beijing strains (52.5%) in northern Taiwan was significantly higher than the proportion of EAI strains (11%). In contrast, in the present study, EAI strains comprised up to 32% of Beijing strains in southern Taiwan. In conclusion, both ‘modern’ (Beijing) and ‘ancient’ (EAI) M. tuberculosis strains are prevalent in the Kaohsiung region, perhaps suggesting that both strains are somehow more adapted to southern Taiwan. It will be interesting to investigate the dynamics of the lineage composition by different selection pressures.
PMCID: PMC3427295  PMID: 22937008
3.  A Genome-Wide Homozygosity Association Study Identifies Runs of Homozygosity Associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis in the Human Major Histocompatibility Complex 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34840.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder with a polygenic mode of inheritance. This study examined the hypothesis that runs of homozygosity (ROHs) play a recessive-acting role in the underlying RA genetic mechanism and identified RA-associated ROHs. Ours is the first genome-wide homozygosity association study for RA and characterized the ROH patterns associated with RA in the genomes of 2,000 RA patients and 3,000 normal controls of the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium. Genome scans consistently pinpointed two regions within the human major histocompatibility complex region containing RA-associated ROHs. The first region is from 32,451,664 bp to 32,846,093 bp (−log10(p)>22.6591). RA-susceptibility genes, such as HLA-DRB1, are contained in this region. The second region ranges from 32,933,485 bp to 33,585,118 bp (−log10(p)>8.3644) and contains other HLA-DPA1 and HLA-DPB1 genes. These two regions are physically close but are located in different blocks of linkage disequilibrium, and ∼40% of the RA patients' genomes carry these ROHs in the two regions. By analyzing homozygote intensities, an ROH that is anchored by the single nucleotide polymorphism rs2027852 and flanked by HLA-DRB6 and HLA-DRB1 was found associated with increased risk for RA. The presence of this risky ROH provides a 62% accuracy to predict RA disease status. An independent genomic dataset from 868 RA patients and 1,194 control subjects of the North American Rheumatoid Arthritis Consortium successfully validated the results obtained using the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium data. In conclusion, this genome-wide homozygosity association study provides an alternative to allelic association mapping for the identification of recessive variants responsible for RA. The identified RA-associated ROHs uncover recessive components and missing heritability associated with RA and other autoimmune diseases.
PMCID: PMC3335047  PMID: 22536334
4.  Molecular profile and copy number analysis of sporadic colorectal cancer in Taiwan 
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a major health concern worldwide, and recently becomes the most common cancer in Asia. The case collection of this study is one of the largest sets of CRC in Asia, and serves as representative data for investigating genomic differences between ethnic populations. We took comprehensive and high-resolution approaches to compare the clinicopathologic and genomic profiles of microsatellite instability (MSI) vs. microsatellite stability (MSS) in Taiwanese sporadic CRCs.
1,173 CRC tumors were collected from the Taiwan population, and sequencing-based microsatellite typing assay was used to determine MSI and MSS. Genome-wide SNP array was used to detect CN alterations in 16 MSI-H and 13 MSS CRCs and CN variations in 424 general controls. Gene expression array was used to evaluate the effects of CN alterations, and quantitative PCR methods were used to replicate the findings in independent clinical samples.
These 1,173 CRC tumors can be classified into 75 high-frequency MSI (MSI-H) (6.4%), 96 low-frequency MSI (8.2%) and 1,002 MSS (85.4%). Of the 75 MSI-H tumors, 22 had a BRAF mutation and 51 showed MLH1 promoter hypermethylation. There were distinctive differences in the extent of CN alterations between CRC MSS and MSI-H subtypes (300 Mb vs. 42 Mb per genome, p-value < 0.001). Also, chr7, 8q, 13 and 20 gains, and 8p and 18 losses were frequently found in MSS but not in MSI-H. Nearly a quarter of CN alterations were smaller than 100 kb, which might have been missed in previous studies due to low-resolution technology. 514 expressed genes showed CN differences between subtypes, and 271 of them (52%) were differentially expressed.
Sporadic CRCs with MSI-H displayed distinguishable clinicopathologic features, which differ from those of MSS. Genomic profiling of the two types of sporadic CRCs revealed significant differences in the extent and distribution of CN alterations in the cancer genome. More than half of expressed genes showing CN differences can directly contribute to their expressional diversities, and the biological functions of the genes associated with CN changes in sporadic CRCs warrant further investigation to establish their possible clinical implications.
PMCID: PMC3123622  PMID: 21645411
5.  ARD1 Stabilization of TSC2 Suppresses Tumorigenesis Through the mTOR Signaling Pathway 
Science signaling  2010;3(108):ra9.
Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) regulates various cellular functions, including tumorigenesis, and is inhibited by the tuberous sclerosis 1 (TSC1)–TSC2 complex. Here, we demonstrate that arrest-defective protein 1 (ARD1) physically interacts with, acetylates, and stabilizes TSC2, thereby repressing mTOR activity. The inhibition of mTOR by ARD1 inhibits cell proliferation and increases autophagy, thereby inhibiting tumorigenicity. Correlation between ARD1 and TSC2 abundance was apparent in multiple tumor types. Moreover, evaluation of loss of heterozygosity at Xq28 revealed allelic loss in 31% of tested breast cancer cell lines and tumor samples. Together, our findings suggest that ARD1 functions as an inhibitor of the mTOR pathway and that dysregulation of the ARD1-TSC2-mTOR axis may contribute to cancer development.
PMCID: PMC2874891  PMID: 20145209
6.  A large-scale survey of genetic copy number variations among Han Chinese residing in Taiwan 
BMC Genetics  2008;9:92.
Copy number variations (CNVs) have recently been recognized as important structural variations in the human genome. CNVs can affect gene expression and thus may contribute to phenotypic differences. The copy number inferring tool (CNIT) is an effective hidden Markov model-based algorithm for estimating allele-specific copy number and predicting chromosomal alterations from single nucleotide polymorphism microarrays. The CNIT algorithm, which was constructed using data from 270 HapMap multi-ethnic individuals, was applied to identify CNVs from 300 unrelated Han Chinese individuals in Taiwan.
Using stringent selection criteria, 230 regions with variable copy numbers were identified in the Han Chinese population; 133 (57.83%) had been reported previously, 64 displayed greater than 1% CNV allele frequency. The average size of the CNV regions was 322 kb (ranging from 1.48 kb to 5.68 Mb) and covered a total of 2.47% of the human genome. A total of 196 of the CNV regions were simple deletions and 27 were simple amplifications. There were 449 genes and 5 microRNAs within these CNV regions; some of these genes are known to be associated with diseases.
The identified CNVs are characteristic of the Han Chinese population and should be considered when genetic studies are conducted. The CNV distribution in the human genome is still poorly characterized, and there is much diversity among different ethnic populations.
PMCID: PMC2629477  PMID: 19108714
7.  MPDA: Microarray pooled DNA analyzer 
BMC Bioinformatics  2008;9:196.
Microarray-based pooled DNA experiments that combine the merits of DNA pooling and gene chip technology constitute a pivotal advance in biotechnology. This new technique uses pooled DNA, thereby reducing costs associated with the typing of DNA from numerous individuals. Moreover, use of an oligonucleotide gene chip reduces costs related to processing various DNA segments (e.g., primers, reagents). Thus, the technique provides an overall cost-effective solution for large-scale genomic/genetic research. However, few publicly shared tools are available to systematically analyze the rapidly accumulating volume of whole-genome pooled DNA data.
We propose a generalized concept of pooled DNA and present a user-friendly tool named Microarray Pooled DNA Analyzer (MPDA) that we developed to analyze hybridization intensity data from microarray-based pooled DNA experiments. MPDA enables whole-genome DNA preferential amplification/hybridization analysis, allele frequency estimation, association mapping, allelic imbalance detection, and permits integration with shared data resources online. Graphic and numerical outputs from MPDA support global and detailed inspection of large amounts of genomic data. Four whole-genome data analyses are used to illustrate the major functionalities of MPDA. The first analysis shows that MPDA can characterize genomic patterns of preferential amplification/hybridization and provide calibration information for pooled DNA data analysis. The second analysis demonstrates that MPDA can accurately estimate allele frequencies. The third analysis indicates that MPDA is cost-effective and reliable for association mapping. The final analysis shows that MPDA can identify regions of chromosomal aberration in cancer without paired-normal tissue.
MPDA, the software that integrates pooled DNA association analysis and allelic imbalance analysis, provides a convenient analysis system for extensive whole-genome pooled DNA data analysis. The software, user manual and illustrated examples are freely available online at the MPDA website listed in the Availability and requirements section.
PMCID: PMC2387178  PMID: 18412951

Results 1-7 (7)