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1.  Contribution of High Plasma Triglycerides and Low High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol to Residual Risk of Coronary Heart Disease After Establishment of Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Control 
The American journal of cardiology  2010;106(6):757-763.
To determine the relative contributions of triglycerides (TGs) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in the residual risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) after the reduction of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol to guideline-recommended levels, we conducted a hospital-based, case-control study with optimal matching in the strata of LDL cholesterol, gender, ethnicity, and age. The 170 cases and 175 controls were patients at Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston, Massachusetts) from 2005 to 2008 who had an LDL cholesterol level <130 mg/dl. The cases had incident CHD, and the controls had diagnoses unrelated to CHD. The 170 cases and 175 controls had a mean LDL cholesterol level of 73 and 87 mg/dl, respectively. The association between TG and HDL cholesterol levels and CHD risk was assessed using conditional and unconditional logistic regression analysis. The models investigated accommodated the possibility of an interaction between lipid factors. The odds of CHD increased by approximately 20% per 23-mg/dl increase in TGs and decreased by approximately 40% per 7.5-mg/dl decrease in HDL cholesterol. High TGs and low HDL cholesterol interacted synergistically to increase the odds ratio to 10 for the combined greatest TG (≥190 mg/dl) and lowest HDL cholesterol quintiles (<30 mg/dl). High TG levels were more strongly associated with CHD when the HDL cholesterol was low than average or high; and low HDL cholesterol levels were more strongly associated with CHD when the TGs were high. TGs and HDL cholesterol were associated with CHD in patients with a LDL cholesterol level of ≤70 mg/dl, with a risk similar to, or greater than, those in the total group. In conclusion, high TG and low HDL cholesterol levels contribute strongly and synergistically to CHD when LDL cholesterol is well controlled. Thus, high TGs might have greater importance in patients with optimal rather than greater LDL cholesterol concentrations.
doi:10.1016/j.amjcard.2010.05.002
PMCID: PMC4102341  PMID: 20816113
2.  Identification of Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus LANA Regions Important for Episome Segregation, Replication, and Persistence 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(22):12270-12283.
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) is a 1,162-amino-acid protein that mediates the maintenance of episomal viral genomes in latently infected cells. The two central components of episome persistence are DNA replication with each cell division and the segregation of DNA to progeny nuclei. LANA self-associates to bind KSHV terminal-repeat (TR) DNA and to mediate its replication. LANA also simultaneously binds to TR DNA and mitotic chromosomes to mediate the segregation of episomes to daughter nuclei. The N-terminal region of LANA binds histones H2A and H2B to attach to mitotic chromosomes, while the C-terminal region binds TR DNA and also associates with chromosomes. Both the N- and C-terminal regions of LANA are essential for episome persistence. We recently showed that deletion of all internal LANA sequences results in highly deficient episome maintenance. Here we assess independent internal LANA regions for effects on episome persistence. We generated a panel of LANA mutants that included deletions in the large internal repeat region and in the unique internal sequence. All mutants contained the essential N- and C-terminal regions, and as expected, all maintained the ability to associate with mitotic chromosomes in a wild-type fashion and to bind TR DNA, as assessed by electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA). Deletion of the internal regions did not reduce the half-life of LANA. Notably, deletions within either the repeat elements or the unique sequence resulted in deficiencies in DNA replication. However, only the unique internal sequence exerted effects on the ability of LANA to retain green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression from TR-containing episomes deficient in DNA replication, consistent with a role in episome segregation; this region did not independently associate with mitotic chromosomes. All mutants were deficient in episome persistence, and the deficiencies ranged from minor to severe. Mutants deficient in DNA replication that contained deletions within the unique internal sequence had the most-severe deficits. These data suggest that internal LANA regions exert critical roles in LANA-mediated DNA replication, segregation, and episome persistence, likely through interactions with key host cell factors.
doi:10.1128/JVI.01243-13
PMCID: PMC3807934  PMID: 24006437
3.  Systemic Steroid Exposure Is Associated with Differential Methylation in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Rationale: Systemic glucocorticoids are used therapeutically to treat a variety of medical conditions. Epigenetic processes such as DNA methylation may reflect exposure to glucocorticoids and may be involved in mediating the responses and side effects associated with these medications.
Objectives: To test the hypothesis that differences in DNA methylation are associated with current systemic steroid use.
Methods: We obtained DNA methylation data at 27,578 CpG sites in 14,475 genes throughout the genome in two large, independent cohorts: the International COPD Genetics Network (ndiscovery = 1,085) and the Boston Early Onset COPD study (nreplication = 369). Sites were tested for association with current systemic steroid use using generalized linear mixed models.
Measurements and Main Results: A total of 511 sites demonstrated significant differential methylation by systemic corticosteroid use in all three of our primary models. Pyrosequencing validation confirmed robust differential methylation at CpG sites annotated to genes such as SLC22A18, LRP3, HIPK3, SCNN1A, FXYD1, IRF7, AZU1, SIT1, GPR97, ABHD16B, and RABGEF1. Functional annotation clustering demonstrated significant enrichment in intrinsic membrane components, hemostasis and coagulation, cellular ion homeostasis, leukocyte and lymphocyte activation and chemotaxis, protein transport, and responses to nutrients.
Conclusions: Our analyses suggest that systemic steroid use is associated with site-specific differential methylation throughout the genome. Differentially methylated CpG sites were found in biologically plausible and previously unsuspected pathways; these genes and pathways may be relevant in the development of novel targeted therapies.
doi:10.1164/rccm.201207-1280OC
PMCID: PMC3622442  PMID: 23065012
DNA methylation; glucocorticoids; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
4.  Software for Computing and Annotating Genomic Ranges 
PLoS Computational Biology  2013;9(8):e1003118.
We describe Bioconductor infrastructure for representing and computing on annotated genomic ranges and integrating genomic data with the statistical computing features of R and its extensions. At the core of the infrastructure are three packages: IRanges, GenomicRanges, and GenomicFeatures. These packages provide scalable data structures for representing annotated ranges on the genome, with special support for transcript structures, read alignments and coverage vectors. Computational facilities include efficient algorithms for overlap and nearest neighbor detection, coverage calculation and other range operations. This infrastructure directly supports more than 80 other Bioconductor packages, including those for sequence analysis, differential expression analysis and visualization.
doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003118
PMCID: PMC3738458  PMID: 23950696
5.  Isoniazid pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and dosing in South African infants 
Therapeutic Drug Monitoring  2012;34(4):446-451.
Aims
There are limited data on isoniazid (INH) pharmacokinetics in infants and young children and, therefore, uncertainty on appropriate dosing.
Methods
Pharmacokinetic data were obtained from perinatally HIV-exposed South African infants ages 3–24 months receiving INH 10–20 mg/kg/day orally for Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) prophylaxis. INH pharmacokinetic parameters were characterized with a population pharmacokinetic approach. Dosing simulations were performed to evaluate weight-based INH doses in children based on N-acetyltransferase 2 enzyme (NAT2) genotype, age, maximum concentrations (Cmax) ≥ 3mg/L, and area under the curve (AUC0-24) ≥ 10.52 mg*hr/L.
Results
In 151 infants (53% female, 48% HIV positive) receiving a mean INH dose of 14.5 mg/kg/day, mean (±SD) Cmax at 3, 6, and 23 months of age were 10.0 (3.5), 8.6 (2.6), and 9.3 (3.8) mg/L, respectively, mean (±SD) AUC0-24 were 53.6 (26.8), 42 (19.9), and 44 (30.7) mg*hr/L, respectively, and mean (±SD) half-life were 2.1 (0.7), 1.9 (0.6), and 1.8 (0.9) hours, respectively. A trimodal apparent oral clearance of INH as a function of NAT2 genotype was apparent as early as 3 months. INH was well tolerated. At an average INH dose of 14.5 mg/kg/day, 99% of infants ages 3–24 months have an INH Cmax ≥ 3 mg/L and 98% have an INH AUC0-24 ≥ 10.52 mg*hr/L.
Conclusions
INH at an average dose of 14.5 mg/kg once daily was well tolerated in infants and achieved INH Cmax values ≥ 3 mg/L and AUC0-24 values ≥ 10.52 mg*hr/L.
doi:10.1097/FTD.0b013e31825c4bc3
PMCID: PMC3397663  PMID: 22695364
isoniazid; pharmacokinetics; dosing; infants; children
6.  The Impact of Self-Identified Race on Epidemiologic Studies of Gene Expression 
Genetic epidemiology  2011;35(2):93-101.
Although population differences in gene expression have been established, the impact on differential gene expression studies in large populations is not well understood. We describe the effect of self-reported race on a gene expression study of lung function in asthma. We generated gene expression profiles for 254 young adults (205 non-Hispanic whites and 49 African Americans) with asthma on whom concurrent total RNA derived from peripheral blood CD4+ lymphocytes and lung function measurements were obtained. We identified four principal components that explained 62% of the variance in gene expression. The dominant principal component, which explained 29% of the total variance in gene expression, was strongly associated with self-identified race (P<10−16). The impact of these racial differences was observed when we performed differential gene expression analysis of lung function. Using multivariate linear models, we tested whether gene expression was associated with a quantitative measure of lung function: pre-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1). Though unadjusted linear models of FEV1 identified several genes strongly correlated with lung function, these correlations were due to racial differences in the distribution of both FEV1 and gene expression, and were no longer statistically significant following adjustment for self-identified race. These results suggest that self-identified race is a critical confounding covariate in epidemiologic studies of gene expression and that, similar to genetic studies, careful consideration of self-identified race in gene expression profiling studies is needed to avoid spurious association.
doi:10.1002/gepi.20560
PMCID: PMC3718033  PMID: 21254216
ancestry; gene expression; population stratification; self-identified race
7.  Cigarette smoking behaviors and time since quitting are associated with differential DNA methylation across the human genome 
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;21(13):3073-3082.
The impact of cigarette smoking can persist for extended periods following smoking cessation and may involve epigenetic reprogramming. Changes in DNA methylation associated with smoking may help to identify molecular pathways that contribute to the latency between exposure and disease onset. Cross-sectional cohort data from subjects in the International COPD Genetics Network (n = 1085) and the Boston Early-Onset COPD study (n = 369) were analyzed as the discovery and replication cohorts, respectively. Genome-wide methylation data on 27 578 CpG sites in 14 475 genes were obtained on DNA from peripheral blood leukocytes using the Illumina HumanMethylation27K Beadchip in both cohorts. We identified 15 sites significantly associated with current smoking, 2 sites associated with cumulative smoke exposure, and, within the subset of former smokers, 3 sites associated with time since quitting cigarettes. Two loci, factor II receptor-like 3 (F2RL3) and G-protein-coupled receptor 15 (GPR15), were significantly associated in all three analyses and were validated by pyrosequencing. These findings (i) identify a novel locus (GPR15) associated with cigarette smoking and (ii) suggest the existence of dynamic, site-specific methylation changes in response to smoking which may contribute to the extended risks associated with cigarette smoking that persist after cessation.
doi:10.1093/hmg/dds135
PMCID: PMC3373248  PMID: 22492999
8.  Variable DNA Methylation Is Associated with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Lung Function 
Rationale: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with local (lung) and systemic (blood) inflammation and manifestations. DNA methylation is an important regulator of gene transcription, and global and specific gene methylation marks may vary with cigarette smoke exposure.
Objectives: To perform a comprehensive assessment of methylation marks in DNA from subjects well phenotyped for nonneoplastic lung disease.
Methods: We conducted array-based methylation screens, using a test-replication approach, in two family-based cohorts (n = 1,085 and 369 subjects).
Measurements and Main Results: We observed 349 CpG sites significantly associated with the presence and severity of COPD in both cohorts. Seventy percent of the associated CpG sites were outside of CpG islands, with the majority of CpG sites relatively hypomethylated. Gene ontology analysis based on these 349 CpGs (330 genes) suggested the involvement of a number of genes responsible for immune and inflammatory system pathways, responses to stress and external stimuli, as well as wound healing and coagulation cascades. Interestingly, our observations include significant, replicable associations between SERPINA1 hypomethylation and COPD and lower average lung function phenotypes (combined P values: COPD, 1.5 × 10−23; FEV1/FVC, 1.5 × 10−35; FEV1, 2.2 × 10−40).
Conclusions: Genetic and epigenetic pathways may both contribute to COPD. Many of the top associations between COPD and DNA methylation occur in biologically plausible pathways. This large-scale analysis suggests that DNA methylation may be a biomarker of COPD and may highlight new pathways of COPD pathogenesis.
doi:10.1164/rccm.201108-1382OC
PMCID: PMC3297093  PMID: 22161163
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; epigenetics; DNA methylation; smoking
10.  Practice-Level Effects of Interventions to Improve Asthma Care in Primary Care Settings: The Pediatric Asthma Care Patient Outcomes Research Team 
Health Services Research  2005;40(6 Pt 1):1737-1757.
Objective
To assess the practice-level effects of (1) a physician peer leader intervention and (2) peer leaders in combination with the introduction of asthma education nurses to facilitate care improvement. And, to compare findings with previously reported patient-level outcomes of trial enrollees.
Study Setting
Data were included on children 5–17 years old with asthma in 40 primary care practices, affiliated with managed health care plans enrolled in the Pediatric Asthma Care Patient Outcomes Research Team (PORT) randomized trial.
Study Design
Primary care practices were randomly assigned to one of two care improvement arms or to usual care. Automated claims data were analyzed for 12-month periods using a repeated cross-sectional design. The primary outcome was evidence of at least one controller medication dispensed among patients with persistent asthma. Secondary outcomes included controller dispensing among all identified asthmatics, evidence of chronic controller use, and the dispensing of oral steroids. Health service utilization outcomes included numbers of ambulatory visits and hospital-based events.
Principal Findings
The proportion of children with persistent asthma prescribed controllers increased in all study arms. No effect of the interventions on the proportion receiving controllers was detected (peer leader intervention effect 0.01, 95 percent confidence interval [CI]: −0.07, 0.08; planned care intervention effect −0.03, 95 percent CI: −0.09, 0.02). A statistical trend was seen toward an increased number of oral corticosteroid bursts dispensed in intervention practices. Significant adjusted increases in ambulatory visits of 0.08–0.10 visits per child per year were seen in the first intervention year, but only a statistical trend in these outcomes persisted into the second year of follow-up. No differences in hospital-based events were detected.
Conclusions
This analysis showed a slight increase in ambulatory asthma visits as a result of asthma care improvement interventions, using automated data. The absence of detectable impact on medication use at the practice level differs from the positive intervention effect observed in patient self-reported data from trial enrollees. Analysis of automated data on nonenrollees adds information about practice-level impact of care improvement strategies. Benefits of practice-level interventions may accrue disproportionately to the subgroup of trial enrollees. The effect of such interventions may be less apparent at the level of practices or health plans.
doi:10.1111/j.1475-6773.2005.00451.x
PMCID: PMC1361234  PMID: 16336546
Asthma care; randomized controlled trial; chronic care model; physician behavior change
11.  Genome-Wide Association Analysis in Asthma Subjects Identifies SPATS2L as a Novel Bronchodilator Response Gene 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(7):e1002824.
Bronchodilator response (BDR) is an important asthma phenotype that measures reversibility of airway obstruction by comparing lung function (i.e. FEV1) before and after the administration of a short-acting β2-agonist, the most common rescue medications used for the treatment of asthma. BDR also serves as a test of β2-agonist efficacy. BDR is a complex trait that is partly under genetic control. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) of BDR, quantified as percent change in baseline FEV1 after administration of a β2-agonist, was performed with 1,644 non-Hispanic white asthmatic subjects from six drug clinical trials: CAMP, LOCCS, LODO, a medication trial conducted by Sepracor, CARE, and ACRN. Data for 469,884 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were used to measure the association of SNPs with BDR using a linear regression model, while adjusting for age, sex, and height. Replication of primary P-values was attempted in 501 white subjects from SARP and 550 white subjects from DAG. Experimental evidence supporting the top gene was obtained via siRNA knockdown and Western blotting analyses. The lowest overall combined P-value was 9.7E-07 for SNP rs295137, near the SPATS2L gene. Among subjects in the primary analysis, those with rs295137 TT genotype had a median BDR of 16.0 (IQR = [6.2, 32.4]), while those with CC or TC genotypes had a median BDR of 10.9 (IQR = [5.0, 22.2]). SPATS2L mRNA knockdown resulted in increased β2-adrenergic receptor levels. Our results suggest that SPATS2L may be an important regulator of β2-adrenergic receptor down-regulation and that there is promise in gaining a better understanding of the biological mechanisms of differential response to β2-agonists through GWAS.
Author Summary
Bronchodilator response (BDR) is an important asthma phenotype that measures reversibility of airway obstruction by comparing lung function before and after the administration of short-acting β2-agonists, common medications used for asthma treatment. We performed a genome-wide association study of BDR with 1,644 white asthmatic subjects from six drug clinical trials and attempted to replicate these findings in 1,051 white subjects from two independent cohorts. The most significant associated variant was near the SPATS2L gene. We knocked down SPATS2L mRNA in human airway smooth muscle cells and found that β2-adrenergic receptor levels increased, suggesting that SPATS2L may be a regulator of BDR. Our results highlight the promise of pursuing GWAS results that do not necessarily reach genome-wide significance and are an example of how results from pharmacogenetic GWAS can be studied functionally.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002824
PMCID: PMC3390407  PMID: 22792082
12.  Mapping of numerous disease-associated expression polymorphisms in primary peripheral blood CD4+ lymphocytes 
Human Molecular Genetics  2010;19(23):4745-4757.
Genome-wide association studies of human gene expression promise to identify functional regulatory genetic variation that contributes to phenotypic diversity. However, it is unclear how useful this approach will be for the identification of disease-susceptibility variants. We generated gene expression profiles for 22 184 mRNA transcripts using RNA derived from peripheral blood CD4+ lymphocytes, and genome-wide genotype data for 516 512 autosomal markers in 200 subjects. We screened for cis-acting variants by testing variants mapping within 50 kb of expressed transcripts for association with transcript abundance using generalized linear models. Significant associations were identified for 1585 genes at a false discovery rate of 0.05 (corresponding to P-values ranging from 1 × 10−91 to 7 × 10−4). Importantly, we identified evidence of regulatory variation for 119 previously mapped disease genes, including 24 examples where the variant with the strongest evidence of disease-association demonstrates strong association with specific transcript abundance. The prevalence of cis-acting variants among disease-associated genes was 63% higher than the genome-wide rate in our data set (P = 6.41 × 10−6), and although many of the implicated loci were associated with immune-related diseases (including asthma, connective tissue disorders and inflammatory bowel disease), associations with genes implicated in non-immune-related diseases including lipid profiles, anthropomorphic measurements, cancer and neurologic disease were also observed. Genetic variants that confer inter-individual differences in gene expression represent an important subset of variants that contribute to disease susceptibility. Population-based integrative genetic approaches can help identify such variation and enhance our understanding of the genetic basis of complex traits.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddq392
PMCID: PMC2972694  PMID: 20833654
13.  Adherence is a multi-dimensional construct in the POUNDS LOST trial 
Journal of behavioral medicine  2009;33(1):35-46.
Research on the conceptualization of adherence to treatment has not addressed a key question: Is adherence best defined as being a uni-dimensional or multi-dimensional behavioral construct? The primary aim of this study was to test which of these conceptual models best described adherence to a weight management program. This ancillary study was conducted as a part of the POUNDS LOST trial that tested the efficacy of four dietary macro-nutrient compositions for promoting weight loss. A sample of 811 overweight/obese adults was recruited across two clinical sites, and each participant was randomly assigned to one of four macronutrient prescriptions: (1) Low fat (20% of energy), average protein (15% of energy); (2) High fat (40%), average protein (15%); (3) Low fat (20%), high protein (25%); (4) High fat (40%), high protein (25%). Throughout the first 6 months of the study, a computer tracking system collected data on eight indicators of adherence. Computer tracking data from the initial 6 months of the intervention were analyzed using exploratory and confirmatory analyses. Two factors (accounting for 66% of the variance) were identified and confirmed: (1) behavioral adherence and (2) dietary adherence. Behavioral adherence did not differ across the four interventions, but prescription of a high fat diet (vs. a low fat diet) was found to be associated with higher levels of dietary adherence. The findings of this study indicated that adherence to a weight management program was best conceptualized as being multi-dimensional, with two dimensions: behavioral and dietary adherence.
doi:10.1007/s10865-009-9230-7
PMCID: PMC3153914  PMID: 19856202
Adherence; Overweight; Obesity; Randomized controlled trial; Lifestyle behavior modification
14.  Early behavioral adherence predicts short and long-term weight loss in the POUNDS LOST study 
Journal of behavioral medicine  2010;33(4):305-314.
The primary aim of this study was to test the association of early (first 6 months) adherence related to diet, self-monitoring, and attendance with changes in adiposity and cardiovascular risk factors. This study used data from the 24-month POUNDS LOST trial that tested the efficacy of four dietary macronutrient compositions for short-and long-term weight loss. A computer tracking system was used to record data on eight indicator variables related to adherence. Using canonical correlations at the 6 and 24 month measurement periods, early behavioral adherence was associated with changes in percent weight loss and waist circumference at 6 months (R = 0.52) and 24 months (R = 0.37), but was not associated with cardiovascular disease risk factor levels. Early dietary adherence was associated with changes in insulin at 6 months (R = 0.19), but not at 24 months (R = 0.08, ns). Early dietary adherence was not associated with changes in adiposity.
doi:10.1007/s10865-010-9253-0
PMCID: PMC3150109  PMID: 20195742
Obesity; Weight management; Adherence; Computer tracking; Waist circumference; Insulin
15.  Expression analysis of asthma candidate genes during human and murine lung development 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):86.
Background
Little is known about the role of most asthma susceptibility genes during human lung development. Genetic determinants for normal lung development are not only important early in life, but also for later lung function.
Objective
To investigate the role of expression patterns of well-defined asthma susceptibility genes during human and murine lung development. We hypothesized that genes influencing normal airways development would be over-represented by genes associated with asthma.
Methods
Asthma genes were first identified via comprehensive search of the current literature. Next, we analyzed their expression patterns in the developing human lung during the pseudoglandular (gestational age, 7-16 weeks) and canalicular (17-26 weeks) stages of development, and in the complete developing lung time series of 3 mouse strains: A/J, SW, C57BL6.
Results
In total, 96 genes with association to asthma in at least two human populations were identified in the literature. Overall, there was no significant over-representation of the asthma genes among genes differentially expressed during lung development, although trends were seen in the human (Odds ratio, OR 1.22, confidence interval, CI 0.90-1.62) and C57BL6 mouse (OR 1.41, CI 0.92-2.11) data. However, differential expression of some asthma genes was consistent in both developing human and murine lung, e.g. NOD1, EDN1, CCL5, RORA and HLA-G. Among the asthma genes identified in genome wide association studies, ROBO1, RORA, HLA-DQB1, IL2RB and PDE10A were differentially expressed during human lung development.
Conclusions
Our data provide insight about the role of asthma susceptibility genes during lung development and suggest common mechanisms underlying lung morphogenesis and pathogenesis of respiratory diseases.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-12-86
PMCID: PMC3141421  PMID: 21699702
Asthma; Development; Expression; Genetics; Lung
16.  Quantifying differential gene connectivity between disease states for objective identification of disease-relevant genes 
BMC Systems Biology  2011;5:89.
Background
Network modeling of whole transcriptome expression data enables characterization of complex epistatic (gene-gene) interactions that underlie cellular functions. Though numerous methods have been proposed and successfully implemented to develop these networks, there are no formal methods for comparing differences in network connectivity patterns as a function of phenotypic trait.
Results
Here we describe a novel approach for quantifying the differences in gene-gene connectivity patterns across disease states based on Graphical Gaussian Models (GGMs). We compare the posterior probabilities of connectivity for each gene pair across two disease states, expressed as a posterior odds-ratio (postOR) for each pair, which can be used to identify network components most relevant to disease status. The method can also be generalized to model differential gene connectivity patterns within previously defined gene sets, gene networks and pathways. We demonstrate that the GGM method reliably detects differences in network connectivity patterns in datasets of varying sample size. Applying this method to two independent breast cancer expression data sets, we identified numerous reproducible differences in network connectivity across histological grades of breast cancer, including several published gene sets and pathways. Most notably, our model identified two gene hubs (MMP12 and CXCL13) that each exhibited differential connectivity to more than 30 transcripts in both datasets. Both genes have been previously implicated in breast cancer pathobiology, but themselves are not differentially expressed by histologic grade in either dataset, and would thus have not been identified using traditional differential gene expression testing approaches. In addition, 16 curated gene sets demonstrated significant differential connectivity in both data sets, including the matrix metalloproteinases, PPAR alpha sequence targets, and the PUFA synthesis pathway.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that GGM can be used to formally evaluate differences in global interactome connectivity across disease states, and can serve as a powerful tool for exploring the molecular events that contribute to disease at a systems level.
doi:10.1186/1752-0509-5-89
PMCID: PMC3128864  PMID: 21627793
17.  Orientations of the Bacteroides fragilis Capsular Polysaccharide Biosynthesis Locus Promoters during Symbiosis and Infection▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2010;192(21):5832-5836.
Orientations of the seven invertible polysaccharide biosynthesis locus promoters of Bacteroides fragilis were determined from bacteria grown in vitro, from feces of monoassociated and complex colonized mice, and from B. fragilis-induced murine abscesses. Bacteria grown in vivo have greater variability in orientation of polysaccharide locus promoters than culture-grown organisms.
doi:10.1128/JB.00555-10
PMCID: PMC2953686  PMID: 20729352
18.  The CD4+ T-cell transcriptome and serum IgE in asthma: IL17RB and the role of sex 
Background
The relationships between total serum IgE levels and gene expression patterns in peripheral blood CD4+ T cells (in all subjects and within each sex specifically) are not known.
Methods
Peripheral blood CD4+ T cells from 223 participants from the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP) with simultaneous measurement of IgE. Total RNA was isolated, and expression profiles were generated with Illumina HumanRef8 v2 BeadChip arrays. Modeling of the relationship between genome-wide gene transcript levels and IgE levels was performed in all subjects, and stratified by sex.
Results
Among all subjects, significant evidence for association between gene transcript abundance and IgE was identified for a single gene, the interleukin 17 receptor B (IL17RB), explaining 12% of the variance (r2) in IgE measurement (p value = 7 × 10-7, 9 × 10-3 after adjustment for multiple testing). Sex stratified analyses revealed that the correlation between IL17RB and IgE was restricted to males only (r2 = 0.19, p value = 8 × 10-8; test for sex-interaction p < 0.05). Significant correlation between gene transcript abundance and IgE level was not found in females. Additionally we demonstrated substantial sex-specific differences in IgE when considering multi-gene models, and in canonical pathway analyses of IgE level.
Conclusions
Our results indicate that IL17RB may be the only gene expressed in CD4+ T cells whose transcript measurement is correlated with the variation in IgE level in asthmatics. These results provide further evidence sex may play a role in the genomic regulation of IgE.
doi:10.1186/1471-2466-11-17
PMCID: PMC3080837  PMID: 21473777
19.  Transcriptomic Analysis of Human Lung Development 
Rationale: Current understanding of the molecular regulation of lung development is limited and derives mostly from animal studies.
Objectives: To define global patterns of gene expression during human lung development.
Methods: Genome-wide expression profiling was used to measure the developing lung transcriptome in RNA samples derived from 38 normal human lung tissues at 53 to 154 days post conception. Principal component analysis was used to characterize global expression variation and to identify genes and bioontologic attributes contributing to these variations. Individual gene expression patterns were verified by quantitative reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction analysis.
Measurements and Main Results: Gene expression analysis identified attributes not previously associated with lung development, such as chemokine-immunologic processes. Lung characteristics attributes (e.g., surfactant function) were observed at an earlier-than-anticipated age. We defined a 3,223 gene developing lung characteristic subtranscriptome capable of describing a majority of the process. In gene expression space, the samples formed a time-contiguous trajectory with transition points correlating with histological stages and suggesting the existence of novel molecular substages. Induction of surfactant gene expression characterized a pseudoglandular “molecular phase” transition. Individual gene expression patterns were independently validated. We predicted the age of independent human lung transcriptome profiles with a median absolute error of 5 days, supporting the validity of the data and modeling approach.
Conclusions: This study extends our knowledge of key gene expression patterns and bioontologic attributes underlying early human lung developmental processes. The data also suggest the existence of molecular phases of lung development.
doi:10.1164/rccm.200907-1063OC
PMCID: PMC2797628  PMID: 19815808
microarrays; surfactant; principal component analysis
20.  An embryonic stem cell-like gene expression signature in poorly differentiated aggressive human tumors 
Nature genetics  2008;40(5):499-507.
Cancer cells possess traits reminiscent of those ascribed to normal stem cells. It is unclear, however, whether these phenotypic similarities reflect the activity of common molecular pathways. Here we analyze the enrichment patterns of gene sets associated with embryonic stem (ES) cell identity in the expression profiles of various human tumor types. Strikingly, histologically poorly differentiated tumors display preferential overexpression of genes normally enriched in ES cells, combined with underexpression of Polycomb-regulated genes. Moreover, expression of activation targets of Nanog, Oct4, Sox2 and c-Myc is observed more frequently in poorly differentiated tumors than in well-differentiated tumors. In breast cancers this ES-like signature is associated with high-grade ER-negative tumors, often of the basal-like subtype, and with poor clinical outcome. The ES signature is also present in poorly differentiated glioblastomas and bladder carcinomas. We identify a subset of ES-associated transcription regulators that are preferentially expressed in poorly differentiated tumors. Our results reveal a novel link between genes associated with ES cell identity and the histopathological traits of tumors, and support the possibility that these genes contribute to stem cell-like phenotypes displayed by many tumors.
doi:10.1038/ng.127
PMCID: PMC2912221  PMID: 18443585
21.  Data structures and algorithms for analysis of genetics of gene expression with Bioconductor: GGtools 3.x 
Bioinformatics  2009;25(11):1447-1448.
Summary: Associations between DNA polymorphisms and mRNA abundance are a natural target of genetic investigations, and microarrays facilitate genome-wide and transcriptome-wide surveys of these associations. This work is motivated by emerging requirements for data architectures and algorithm interfaces to allow flexible exploration of public and private archives of genotyping and expression arrays. Using R/Bioconductor facilities, Phase II HapMap genotypes and Illumina 47K expression assay results archived on multiple populations may be interactively explored and analyzed using commodity hardware.
Availability and Implementation: Open Source. Bioconductor 2.3 packages GGtools, GGBase, GGdata, hmyriB36. Freely available on the web at http://www.bioconductor.org
Contact: stvjc@channing.harvard.edu
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btp169
PMCID: PMC2682516  PMID: 19349284
22.  Comparison of Weight-Loss Diets with Different Compositions of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates 
The New England journal of medicine  2009;360(9):859-873.
BACKGROUND
The possible advantage for weight loss of a diet that emphasizes protein, fat, or carbohydrates has not been established, and there are few studies that extend beyond 1 year.
METHODS
We randomly assigned 811 overweight adults to one of four diets; the targeted percentages of energy derived from fat, protein, and carbohydrates in the four diets were 20, 15, and 65%; 20, 25, and 55%; 40, 15, and 45%; and 40, 25, and 35%. The diets consisted of similar foods and met guidelines for cardiovascular health. The participants were offered group and individual instructional sessions for 2 years. The primary outcome was the change in body weight after 2 years in two-by-two factorial comparisons of low fat versus high fat and average protein versus high protein and in the comparison of highest and lowest carbohydrate content.
RESULTS
At 6 months, participants assigned to each diet had lost an average of 6 kg, which represented 7% of their initial weight; they began to regain weight after 12 months. By 2 years, weight loss remained similar in those who were assigned to a diet with 15% protein and those assigned to a diet with 25% protein (3.0 and 3.6 kg, respectively); in those assigned to a diet with 20% fat and those assigned to a diet with 40% fat (3.3 kg for both groups); and in those assigned to a diet with 65% carbohydrates and those assigned to a diet with 35% carbohydrates (2.9 and 3.4 kg, respectively) (P>0.20 for all comparisons). Among the 80% of participants who completed the trial, the average weight loss was 4 kg; 14 to 15% of the participants had a reduction of at least 10% of their initial body weight. Satiety, hunger, satisfaction with the diet, and attendance at group sessions were similar for all diets; attendance was strongly associated with weight loss (0.2 kg per session attended). The diets improved lipid-related risk factors and fasting insulin levels.
CONCLUSIONS
Reduced-calorie diets result in clinically meaningful weight loss regardless of which macronutrients they emphasize.
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa0804748
PMCID: PMC2763382  PMID: 19246357
23.  Polymorphic Variation in Surfactant Protein B is Associated with COPD Exacerbations 
Rationale
COPD exacerbations reduce quality of life and increase mortality. Genetic variation may explain the substantial variability seen in exacerbation frequency among COPD subjects with similar lung function. We analyzed whether polymorphisms in five candidate genes previously associated with COPD susceptibility also demonstrate association with COPD exacerbations.
Methods
Eighty-eight single nucleotide polymorphisms in microsomal epoxide hydrolase (EPHX1), transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFB1), SERPINE2, glutathione S-transferase pi (GSTP1), and surfactant protein B (SFTPB) were genotyped in 389 non-Hispanic white participants in the National Emphysema Treatment Trial. Exacerbations were defined as COPD-related emergency room visits or hospitalizations using Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services claims data.
Measurements and Main Results
216 subjects (56%) experienced one or more exacerbations during the study period. An SFTPB promoter polymorphism, rs3024791, was associated with COPD exacerbations (p=0.008). Logistic regression models confirmed the association with rs3024791 (p = 0.007). Poisson regression models demonstrated association of multiple SFTPB SNPs with exacerbation rates: rs2118177 (p = 0.006), rs2304566 (p = 0.002), rs1130866 (p = 0.04), and rs3024791 (p = 0.002). Polymorphisms in EPHX1, GSTP1, TGFB1, and SERPINE2 did not demonstrate association with COPD exacerbations.
Conclusions
Variants in SFTPB are associated with COPD susceptibility and COPD exacerbation frequency.
doi:10.1183/09031936.00040208
PMCID: PMC2761762  PMID: 18550614
association analysis; COPD; exacerbations; genetics; surfactant protein B; single nucleotide polymorphisms
24.  Host Glycosaminoglycan Confers Susceptibility to Bacterial Infection in Drosophila melanogaster▿  
Infection and Immunity  2008;77(2):860-866.
Many pathogens engage host cell surface glycosaminoglycans, but redundancy in pathogen adhesins and host glycosaminoglycan-anchoring proteins (heparan sulfate proteoglycans) has limited the understanding of the importance of glycosaminoglycan binding during infection. The alpha C protein of group B streptococcus, a virulence determinant for this neonatal human pathogen, binds to host glycosaminoglycan and mediates the entry of bacteria into human cells. We studied alpha C protein-glycosaminoglycan binding in Drosophila melanogaster, whose glycosaminoglycan repertoire resembles that of humans but whose genome includes only three characterized membrane heparan sulfate proteoglycan genes. The knockdown of glycosaminoglycan polymerases or of heparan sulfate proteoglycans reduced the cellular binding of alpha C protein. The interruption of alpha C protein-glycosaminoglycan binding was associated with longer host survival and a lower bacterial burden. These data indicate that the glycosaminoglycan-alpha C protein interaction involves multiple heparan sulfate proteoglycans and impairs bacterial killing. Host glycosaminoglycans, anchored by multiple proteoglycans, thereby determine susceptibility to infection. Because there is homology between Drosophila and human glycosaminoglycan/proteoglycan structures and many pathogens express glycosaminoglycan-binding structures, our data suggest that interfering with glycosaminoglycan binding may protect against infections in humans.
doi:10.1128/IAI.00995-08
PMCID: PMC2632041  PMID: 19047407
25.  Effect of protein, unsaturated fat, and carbohydrate intakes on plasma apolipoprotein B and VLDL and LDL containing apolipoprotein C-III: results from the OmniHeart Trial2 
Background
Plasma apolipoprotein B (apo B) and VLDL and LDL with apolipoprotein C-III (apo C-III) are independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Dietary intake affects lipoprotein concentration and composition related to those apolipoproteins.
Objective
We studied differences in apo B lipoproteins with and without apo C-III after 3 healthy diets based on the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Trial diet.
Design
Healthy participants (n = 162) were fed each of 3 healthy diets for 6 wk in a crossover design. Diets differed by emphasis of either carbohydrate (Carb), unsaturated fat (Unsat), or protein (Prot). Blood was collected at baseline and after diets for analysis.
Results
Compared with the Carb diet, the Prot diet reduced plasma apo B and triglycerides in VLDL with apo C-III (16%, P = 0.07; 11%, P = 0.05, respectively) and apo B in LDL with apo C-III (16%, P = 0.04). Compared with the Unsat diet, the Prot diet reduced triglycerides in VLDL with apo C-III (16%, P = 0.02). Compared with baseline (subjects' usual diet was higher in saturated fat), the Prot diet reduced apo B in LDL with apo C-III (11%, P = 0.05), and all 3 diets reduced plasma total apo B (6−10%, P < 0.05) and apo B in the major type of LDL, LDL without apo C-III (8 −10%, P < 0.01). All 3 diets reduced the ratio of apo C-III to apo E in VLDL.
Conclusions
Substituting protein for carbohydrate in the context of a healthy dietary pattern reduced atherogenic apo C-III–containing LDL and its precursor, apo C-III–containing VLDL, resulting in the most favorable profile of apo B lipoproteins. In addition, compared with a typical high-saturated fat diet, healthy diets that emphasize carbohydrate, protein, or unsaturated fat reduce plasma total and LDL apo B and produce a lower more metabolically favorable ratio of apo C-III to apo E.
PMCID: PMC2494528  PMID: 18541549

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