To generate a cytopathic effect, the catalytic A1 subunit of cholera toxin (CT) must be separated from the rest of the toxin. Protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) is thought to mediate CT disassembly by acting as a redox-driven chaperone that actively unfolds the CTA1 subunit. Here, we show that PDI itself unfolds upon contact with CTA1. The substrate-induced unfolding of PDI provides a novel molecular mechanism for holotoxin disassembly: we postulate the expanded hydrodynamic radius of unfolded PDI acts as a wedge to dislodge reduced CTA1 from its holotoxin. The oxidoreductase activity of PDI was not required for CT disassembly, but CTA1 displacement did not occur when PDI was locked in a folded conformation or when its substrate-induced unfolding was blocked due to the loss of chaperone function. Two other oxidoreductases (ERp57 and ERp72) did not unfold in the presence of CTA1 and did not displace reduced CTA1 from its holotoxin. Our data establish a new functional property of PDI that may be linked to its role as a chaperone that prevents protein aggregation.
Protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) is a luminal endoplasmic reticulum (ER) protein with related but independent oxidoreductase and chaperone activities. The molecular mechanism of PDI chaperone function remains unidentified. Here, we report that PDI unfolds upon contact with the catalytic A1 subunit of cholera toxin (CT). This unfolding event dislodges CTA1 from the rest of the multimeric toxin, which is a prerequisite for the ER-to-cytosol export of CTA1 and toxin activity against the host cell. The substrate-induced unfolding of PDI is linked to its chaperone activity. Our work has established a new property of PDI that is required for CT disassembly and provides a possible structural basis for the broader role of PDI as a chaperone that prevents protein aggregation.
Conventional methods to analyze genome-wide association studies and whole exome or whole genome sequencing studies would be prone to overlook variants which might exert a recessive effect on risk of disease, either as homozygotes or compound heterozygotes. It is plausible that such effects may be common even in outbred populations. An approach is described which is based on identifying a set of variants in a gene as being potentially of interest and then testing whether there is an excess of cases who are either homozygotes or complex heterozygotes for these variants. Methods based on departure from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium are more powerful than those which compare cases to controls. However, linkage disequilibrium between variants can be difficult to deal with if phase is unknown. A simple approach for discarding variants apparently in strong linkage disequilibrium with others is proposed. The procedure is simple and quick to apply so can be used in the context of whole genome or exome sequencing studies and is implemented in the SCOREASSOC program.
association; sequence; DNA
Previously described methods for the combined analysis of common and rare variants have disadvantages such as requiring an arbitrary classification of variants or permutation testing to assess statistical significance. Here we propose a novel method which implements a weighting scheme based on allele frequencies observed in both cases and controls. Because the test is unbiased, scores can be analyzed with a standard t-test. To test its validity we applied it to data for common, rare, and very rare variants simulated under the null hypothesis. To test its power we applied it to simulated data in which association was present, including data using the observed allele frequencies of common and rare variants in NOD2 previously reported in cases of Crohn’s disease and controls. The method produced results that conformed well to those expected under the null hypothesis. It demonstrated more power to detect association when rare and common variants were analyzed jointly, the power further increasing when rare variants were assigned higher weights. 20,000 analyses of a gene containing 62 variants could be performed in 80 minutes on a laptop. This approach shows promise for the analysis of data currently emerging from genome wide sequencing studies.
common; rare; variant; sequence; genome; exome
Alcoholism and affective disorders are both strongly comorbid and heritable. We have investigated the genetic comorbidity between bipolar affective disorder and alcoholism.
A genome-wide allelic association study of 506 patients from the University College London (UCL) bipolar disorder case control sample and 510 ancestrally-matched supernormal controls. 143 of the bipolar subjects fulfilled the research diagnostic criteria (RDC) diagnosis of alcoholism. 372,193 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were genotyped. Genes previously shown to be associated with alcoholism and addiction phenotypes were then tested for association in the bipolar alcoholic sample using gene wise permutation tests of all SNPs genotyped within a 50kb region flanking each gene.
Several CNS genes showed significant (p<0.05) gene wise evidence of association with bipolar alcoholism. The genes implicated which replicated previously identified associations with alcoholism were: cadherin 11 (CDH11), collagen type XI alpha 2 (COL11A2), neuromedin U receptor 2 (NMUR2), exportin7 (XP07) and semaphorin associated protein 5A (SEMA5A). The SNPs most strongly implicated in bipolar alcoholism, but which did not meet conventional genome-wide significance criteria were the insulin-like growth factor binding protein 7 (IGFBP7), carboxypeptidase O (CPO), cerebellin 2 (CBLN2), and the cadherin 12 (CDH12) genes.
We have confirmed the role of some genes previously shown to be associated with alcoholism in the comorbid bipolar alcoholism subgroup. In this subgroup bipolar disorder may lower the threshold for the phenotypic expression of these alcoholism susceptibility genes. We also show that some genes may independently increase susceptibility to affective disorder and alcoholism.
Bipolar; alcoholism; genome wide association; comorbid; gene wise
Standard cost-effectiveness calculations as used by the UK National Institute of Clinical Excellence compare the net benefit of an intervention with the financial costs to the health service. Debates about public health interventions also focus on these factors. The subjective experience of the patient, including financial costs and also transient pain, distress, and indignity, is routinely ignored. I carried out an Internet survey which showed that members of the public assign a high financial cost to routine medical interventions such as taking a tablet regularly or attending a clinic for an injection. It is wrong to ignore such costs when attempting to obtain an overall evaluation of the benefit of medical interventions.
screening; prevention; financial cost; medical interventions
Monocytopoiesis involves the stepwise differentiation in the bone marrow (BM) of common myeloid precursors (CMPs) to monocytes. The basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor TAL1/SCL plays a critical role in other hematopoietic lineages, and while it had been reported to be expressed by BM-derived macrophages, its role in monocytopoiesis had not been elucidated. Using cell explant models of monocyte/macrophage (MM) differentiation, one originating with CMPs and the other from more committed precursors, we characterized the phenotypic and molecular consequences of inactivation of Tal1 expression ex vivo. While Tal1 knockout had minimal effects on cell survival and slightly accelerated terminal differentiation, it profoundly inhibited cell proliferation and decreased entry into and traversal of the G1 and S phases. In conjunction, steady-state levels of p16(Ink4a) mRNA were increased and those of Gata2 mRNA decreased. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis demonstrated the association of Tal1 and E47, one of its E protein DNA-binding partners, with an E box-GATA sequence element in intron 4 of the Gata2 gene and with three E boxes upstream of p16(Ink4a). Finally, wild-type Tal1, but not a DNA binding-defective mutant, rescued the proliferative defect in Tal1-null MM precursors. These results document the importance of this transcription factor in cell cycle progression and proliferation during monocytopoiesis and the requirement for direct DNA binding in these processes.
Scl and Lyl1 encode two related basic-helix-loop-helix transcription factors implicated in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Previous studies have shown that Scl is essential for embryonic and adult erythropoiesis whilst Lyl1 is important for B-cell development. Single knockout mice have not revealed an essential function for Scl or Lyl1 in adult hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). To determine if maintenance of HSCs in single-knockout mice is due to functional redundancy, we generated Lyl1;Scl-conditional double knockout mice. Here, we report a striking genetic interaction between the two genes, with a clear dose-dependence for the presence of Scl or Lyl1 alleles for HSC function. Bone marrow repopulation assays and analyses demonstrated rapid loss of hematopoietic progenitors due to apoptosis. The function of HSCs could be rescued by a single allele of Lyl1 but not Scl. These results show that expression of at least one of these factors is essential for maintenance of adult HSC function.
Hematopoietic Stem Cells; Scl; Lyl1; Apoptosis; Knockout
Mutations in 1-acylglycerol-3-phosphate-O-acyltransferase 2 (AGPAT2) cause congenital generalized lipodystrophy. To understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the metabolic complications associated with AGPAT2 deficiency, Agpat2 null mice were generated. Agpat2−/− mice develop severe lipodystrophy affecting both white and brown adipose tissue, severe insulin resistance, diabetes, and hepatic steatosis. The expression of lipogenic genes and rates of de novo fatty acid biosynthesis were increased ~4-fold in Agpat2−/− mouse livers. The mRNA and protein levels of monoacylglycerol acyltransferase isoform 1 were markedly increased in the livers of Agpat2−/− mice suggesting that the alternative monoacylglycerol pathway for triglyceride biosynthesis is activated in the absence of AGPAT2. Feeding a fat-free diet reduced liver triglycerides by ~50% in Agpat2−/− mice. These observations suggest that both dietary fat and hepatic triglyceride biosynthesis via a novel monoacylglycerol pathway may contribute to hepatic steatosis in Agpat2−/− mice.
AGPAT; LPAAT; MGAT; phosphatidic acid phosphatases; acyltransferase; phospholipids; lipodystrophy; hepatic steatosis
A team-based approach to minimally invasive esophagectomy can be used that will meet or exceed reported benchmarks.
Minimally invasive surgery has been applied in several ways to esophagectomy. Newer techniques have improved patient outcomes while maintaining oncological principles; however, mortality still exists. Most series have reported mortality rates ranging from 2% to 25%. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of minimally invasive esophagectomies (MIE) in a non-university tertiary care center.
MIE in the form of a combined thoracoscopic and laparoscopic technique was performed cooperatively by 2 surgeons. Records of patients who underwent MIE between September 2005 and August 2008 were retrospectively reviewed.
Thirty-four patients underwent MIE over a 3-year period. There was a male predominance. Mean age at presentation was 62.6 years. Comorbidities were documented in 79% of the patients. Most patients (68%) presented with dysphagia. Two patients had end-stage achalasia, 1 had corrosive esophageal stricture, and 31 had esophageal malignancies. No mortalities were reported. No anastomotic leaks were observed. Eighteen (58%) patients with malignancy received preoperative chemoradiotherapy. Six (33%) patients had a pathological response (CR) on final histopathology. The mean operating time was 294 minutes. The mean blood loss was 302 mL.
Minimally invasive esophagectomy can be performed with results that meet and exceed reported benchmarks. A team-based approach greatly impacts the outcome of the surgery. This surgical technique must be standardized to achieve this outcome.
Minimally invasive esophagectomy; Anastomotic leak; Outcomes
Previous linkage and association studies have implicated the D-amino acid oxidase activator gene (DAOA)/G30 locus or neighbouring region of chromosome 13q33.2 in the genetic susceptibility to both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the D-amino acid oxidase (DAO) gene located at 12q24.11 have also been found to show allelic association with schizophrenia.
We used the case control method to test for genetic association with variants at these loci in a sample of 431 patients with schizophrenia, 303 patients with bipolar disorder and 442 ancestrally matched supernormal controls all selected from the UK population.
Ten SNPs spanning the DAOA locus were genotyped in these samples. In addition three SNPs were genotyped at the DAO locus in the schizophrenia sample. Allelic association was detected between the marker rs3918342 (M23), 3' to the DAOA gene and both schizophrenia (χ2 = 5.824 p = 0.016) and bipolar disorder (χ2 = 4.293 p = 0.038). A trend towards association with schizophrenia was observed for two other DAOA markers rs3916967 (M14, χ2 = 3.675 p = 0.055) and rs1421292 (M24; χ2 = 3.499 p = 0.062). A test of association between a three marker haplotype comprising of the SNPs rs778293 (M22), rs3918342 (M23) and rs1421292 (M24) and schizophrenia gave a global empirical significance of p = 0.015. No evidence was found to confirm the association of genetic markers at the DAO gene with schizophrenia.
Our results provide some support for a role for DAOA in susceptibility to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Deviations from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) are commonly thought of as indicating genotyping errors, population stratification or some other artefact. However they could also arise through important biological mechanisms. In particular, genetic variants having a recessive effect on the successful fertilisation and/or development of an embryo might be manifest through such deviations in an unselected sample of "control" subjects.
We investigated genotypes from 463842 autosomal markers from 1504 British subjects. We identified regions in which several neighbouring markers exhibited deviation from HWE in the same direction by considering "heterozygosity scores" in windows of 10 markers. The heterozygosity score for each marker was defined as -log(p) or log(p) according to whether the marker demonstrated increased heterozygosity or homozygosity. In each window the marker with the highest absolute score was ignored and the positive and negative scores were summed for the other nine markers. Windows were selected on the basis of this sum exceeding a given threshold, for which we used values of 50 or 15.
For the threshold of 50, we identified 7 regions with increased heterozygosity and for the threshold of 15 we identified 22 regions with increased heterozygosity, 23 with increased homozygosity and 2 containing both kinds of window. The most impressive of these results came from a group of 6 markers at 17q21, each of which showed increased heterozygosity significant at p < 10-190.
The human genome contains regions which deviate markedly from HWE and these might harbour genes influencing embryonic survival.
There is evidence of linkage to a schizophrenia susceptibility locus on chromosome 8p21-22 found by several family linkage studies.
To fine map and identify a susceptibility gene for schizophrenia on chromosome 8p22 and to investigate the effect of this genetic susceptibility on an endophenotype of abnormal brain structure using magnetic resonance imaging.
Fine mapping and identification of a chromosome 8p22 susceptibility gene was carried out by finding linkage disequilibrium between genetic markers and schizophrenia in multiply affected families, a case-control sample, and a trio sample. Variation in brain morphology associated with pericentriolar material 1 (PCM1) alleles was examined using voxel-based morphometry and statistical parametric mapping with magnetic resonance imaging.
Setting and Patients:
A family sample of 13 large families multiply affected with schizophrenia, 2 schizophrenia case-control samples from the United Kingdom and Scotland, and a sample of schizophrenic trios from the United States containing parents and 1 affected child with schizophrenia.
Main Outcome Measures:
Tests of transmission disequilibrium between PCM1 locus polymorphisms and schizophrenia using a family sample and tests of allelic association in case-control and trio samples. Voxel-based morphometry using statistical parametric mapping.
The family and trio samples both showed significant transmission disequilibrium between marker D85261 in the PCM1 gene locus and schizophrenia. The case-control sample from the United Kingdom also found significant allelic association between PCM1 gene markers and schizophrenia. Voxel-based morphometry of cases who had inherited a PCM1 genetic susceptibility showed a significant relative reduction in the volume of orbitofrontal cortex gray matter in comparison with patients with non–PCM1–associated schizophrenia, who, by contrast, showed gray matter volume reduction in the temporal pole, hippocampus, and inferior temporal cortex.
The PCM1 gene is implicated in susceptibility to schizophrenia and is associated with orbitofrontal gray matter volumetric deficits.
It is expected that different markers may show different patterns of association with different pathogenic variants within a given gene. It would be helpful to combine the evidence implicating association at the level of the whole gene rather than just for individual markers or haplotypes. Doing this is complicated by the fact that different markers do not represent independent sources of information.
We propose combining the p values from all single locus and/or multilocus analyses of different markers according to the formula of Fisher, X = ∑(−2ln(pi)), and then assessing the empirical significance of this statistic using permutation testing. We present an example application to 19 markers around the HTRA2 gene in a case-control study of Parkinson’s disease.
Applying our approach shows that, although some individual tests produce low p values, overall association at the level of the gene is not supported.
Approaches such as this should be more widely used in assimilating the overall evidence supporting involvement of a gene in a particular disease. Information can be combined from biallelic and multiallelic markers and from single markers along with multimarker analyses. Single genes can be tested or results from groups of genes involved in the same pathway could be combined in order to test biologically relevant hypotheses. The approach has been implemented in a computer program called COMBASSOC which is made available for downloading.
Fisher; significance; genetic marker
Previous studies have reported frequent stretches of homozygosity in human subjects but have failed to clarify whether these are due to cytogenetic abnormalities or to autozygosity.
Trios which had been typed for closely spaced SNPs spanning the genome were studied. Stretches of extended homozygosity were identified in the child members, as were occasions on which the child had been genotyped as not inheriting one parental allele. The number of times such transmission errors occurred within regions of extended homozygosity was compared with the chance expectation.
Transmission errors occurred more rarely in regions of extended homozygosity than would be expected by chance.
Regions of extended homozygosity are not generally due to cytogenetic abnormalities such as uniparental isodisomy. They reflect the Mendelian inheritance of haplotypes from a common ancestor. This may have implications for mapping disease genes.
Previous linkage and association studies may have implicated the Dystrobrevin-binding protein 1 (DTNBP1) gene locus or a gene in linkage disequilibrium with DTNBP1 on chromosome 6p22.3 in genetic susceptibility to schizophrenia.
We used the case control design to test for of allelic and haplotypic association with schizophrenia in a sample of four hundred and fifty research subjects with schizophrenia and four hundred and fifty ancestrally matched supernormal controls. We genotyped the SNP markers previously found to be significantly associated with schizophrenia in the original study and also other markers found to be positive in subsequent studies.
We could find no evidence of allelic, genotypic or haplotypic association with schizophrenia in our UK sample.
The results suggest that the DTNBP1 gene contribution to schizophrenia must be rare or absent in our sample. The discrepant allelic association results in previous studies of association between DTNBP1 and schizophrenia could be due population admixture. However, even positive studies of European populations do not show any consistent DTNBP1 alleles or haplotypes associated with schizophrenia. Further research is needed to resolve these issues. The possible confounding of linkage with association in family samples already showing linkage at 6p22.3 might be revealed by testing genes closely linked to DTNBP1 for allelic association and by restricting family based tests of association to only one case per family.
Debate remains as to the optimal method for utilising genotype data obtained from multiple markers in case-control association studies. I and colleagues have previously described a method of association analysis using artificial neural networks (ANNs), whose performance compared favourably to single-marker methods. Here, the perfomance of ANN analysis is compared with other multi-marker methods, comprising different haplotype-based analyses and locus-based analyses.
Of several methods studied and applied to simulated SNP datasets, heterogeneity testing of estimated haplotype frequencies using asymptotic p values rather than permutation testing had the lowest power of the methods studied and ANN analysis had the highest power. The difference in power to detect association between these two methods was statistically significant (p = 0.001) but other comparisons between methods were not significant. The raw t statistic obtained from ANN analysis correlated highly with the empirical statistical significance obtained from permutation testing of the ANN results and with the p value obtained from the heterogeneity test.
Although ANN analysis was more powerful than the standard haplotype-based test it is unlikely to be taken up widely. The permutation testing necessary to obtain a valid p value makes it slow to perform and it is not underpinned by a theoretical model relating marker genotypes to disease phenotype. Nevertheless, the superior performance of this method does imply that the widely-used haplotype-based methods for detecting association with multiple markers are not optimal and efforts could be made to improve upon them. The fact that the t statistic obtained from ANN analysis is highly correlated with the statistical significance does suggest a possibility to use ANN analysis in situations where large numbers of markers have been genotyped, since the t value could be used as a proxy for the p value in preliminary analyses.
Tests for association between a haplotype and disease are commonly performed using a likelihood ratio test for heterogeneity between case and control haplotype frequencies. Using data from a study of association between heroin dependence and the DRD2 gene, we obtained estimated haplotype frequencies and the associated likelihood ratio statistic using two different computer programs, MLOCUS and GENECOUNTING. We also carried out permutation testing to assess the empirical significance of the results obtained.
Both programs yielded similar, though not identical, estimates for the haplotype frequencies. MLOCUS produced a p value of 1.8*10-15 and GENECOUNTING produced a p value of 5.4*10-4. Permutation testing produced a p value 2.8*10-4.
The fact that very large differences occur between the likelihood ratio statistics from the two programs may reflect the fact that the haplotype frequencies for the combined group are not constrained to be equal to the weighted averages of the frequencies for the cases and controls, as they would be if they were directly observed rather than being estimated. Minor differences in haplotype frequency estimates can result in very large differences in the likelihood ratio statistic and associated p value.
Genome wide association (GWA) studies provide the opportunity to develop new kinds of analysis. Analysing pairs of markers from separate regions might lead to the detection of allelic association which might indicate an interaction between nearby genes.
396,591 markers typed in 541 subjects were studied. 7.8*1010 pairs of markers were screened and those showing initial evidence for allelic association were subjected to more thorough investigation along with 10 flanking markers on either side.
No evidence was detected for interaction. However 6 markers appeared to have an incorrect map position according to NCBI Build 35. One of these was corrected in Build 36 and 2 were dropped. The remaining 3 were left with map positions inconsistent with their allelic association relationships.
Although no interaction effects were detected the method was successful in identifying markers with probably incorrect map positions.
The study of allelic association can supplement other methods for assigning markers to particular map positions. Analyses of this type may usefully be applied to data from future GWA studies.
Researchers may embark on a genome-wide association study before fully investigating candidate regions which have been reported to produce evidence to suggest that they harbour susceptibility loci. If the genome wide study had not been carried out then results which demonstrated only modest statistical significance from candidate regions would be judged to be of interest and would stimulate further investigation. However if hundreds of thousands of markers are typed then inevitably very large numbers of such results will occur by chance and those from candidate regions may attract no special attention.
An approach is proposed in which differential treatment is afforded to markers from candidate regions and from those that are routinely typed in the context of a genome wide scan. Different prior probabilities are assigned to the two types of marker. A likelihood ratio is derived from the reported p value for each marker, calculated as LR = echiinv(1,p)/2, and the posterior odds in favour of a true positive association are obtained. These odds can be used to rank the markers with a view to suggesting the regions in which further genotyping is indicated. We suggest that prior probabilities be specified such that a candidate marker significant at p = 0.01 and a routine marker significant at p = 0.00001 will yield similar values for the posterior odds. We show that this can be achieved by setting a value for prior probability of association to 0.1 for candidate markers and to 0.00018 for routine markers.
It is essential that formal procedures be adopted in order to avoid modestly positively results from candidate regions being swamped by the huge number of nominally significant results which will be obtained when very many markers are genotyped. Software to carry out the conversion from p values to posterior odds is available from .
Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) is a member of the proteinase K subfamily of subtilases that reduces the number of LDL receptors (LDLRs) in liver through an undefined posttranscriptional mechanism. We show that purified PCSK9 added to the medium of HepG2 cells reduces the number of cell-surface LDLRs in a dose- and time-dependent manner. This activity was approximately 10-fold greater for a gain-of-function mutant, PCSK9(D374Y), that causes hypercholesterolemia. Binding and uptake of PCSK9 were largely dependent on the presence of LDLRs. Coimmunoprecipitation and ligand blotting studies indicated that PCSK9 and LDLR directly associate; both proteins colocalized to late endocytic compartments. Purified PCSK9 had no effect on cell-surface LDLRs in hepatocytes lacking autosomal recessive hypercholesterolemia (ARH), an adaptor protein required for endocytosis of the receptor. Transgenic mice overexpressing human PCSK9 in liver secreted large amounts of the protein into plasma, which increased plasma LDL cholesterol concentrations to levels similar to those of LDLR-knockout mice. To determine whether PCSK9 was active in plasma, transgenic PCSK9 mice were parabiosed with wild-type littermates. After parabiosis, secreted PCSK9 was transferred to the circulation of wild-type mice and reduced the number of hepatic LDLRs to nearly undetectable levels. We conclude that secreted PCSK9 associates with the LDLR and reduces hepatic LDLR protein levels.
There have been previous reported deaths due to clozapine-induced constipation. In all these cases patients have experienced prior abdominal symptoms over a period of weeks or months.
We report the sudden death due to constipation of a healthy young male patient on clozapine without any known history of prior abdominal symptoms.
Psychiatrists need to be alert to the medical emergencies which can occur in the context of clozapine treatment and also need to make other clinicians who may have contact with their patients aware of these.
Previous studies have indicated that the stem cell leukemia gene (SCL) is essential for both embryonic and adult erythropoiesis. We have examined erythropoiesis in conditional SCL knockout mice for at least 6 months after loss of SCL function and report that SCL was important but not essential for the generation of mature red blood cells. Although SCL-deleted mice were mildly anemic with increased splenic erythropoiesis, they responded appropriately to endogenous erythropoietin and hemolytic stress, a measure of late erythroid progenitors. However, SCL was more important for the proliferation of early erythroid progenitors because the predominant defects in SCL-deleted erythropoiesis were loss of in vitro growth of the burst-forming erythroid unit and an in vivo growth defect revealed by transplant assays. With respect to erythroid maturation, SCL-deleted proerythroblasts could generate more mature erythroblasts and circulating red blood cells. However, SCL was required for normal expression of TER119, one of the few proposed target genes of SCL. The unexpected finding that SCL-independent erythropoiesis can proceed in the adult suggests that alternate factors can replace the essential functions of SCL and raises the possibility that similar mechanisms also explain the relatively minor defects previously observed in SCL-null hematopoietic stem cells.
In order to confirm a previous finding of linkage to alcoholism on chromosome 1 we have carried out a genetic linkage study.
DNA from eighteen families, densely affected by alcoholism, was used to genotype a set of polymorphic microsatellite markers at loci approximately 10 centimorgans apart spanning the short arm and part of the long arm of chromosome 1. Linkage analyses were performed using the classical lod score and a model-free method. Three different definitions of affection status were defined, these were 1. Heavy Drinking (HD) where affected subjects drank more than the Royal College of Psychiatrists recommended weekly amount. 2. The Research Diagnostic Criteria for alcoholism (RDCA) 3. Alcohol Dependence Syndrome (ADS) as defined by Edwards and Gross (1976) and now incorporated into ICD10 and DSMIV.
Linkage analyses with the markers D1S1588, D1S2134, D1S1675 covering the cytogenetic region 1p22.1-11.2 all gave positive two point and multipoint lods with a maximum lod of 1.8 at D1S1588 (1p22.1) for the RDCA definition of alcoholism. Another lod of 1.8 was found with D1S1653 in the region 1q21.3-24.2 using the HD affection model.
These results both support the presence of linkage in the 1p22.1-11.2 region which was previously implicated by the USA Collaborative Study of the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) study and also suggest the presence of another susceptibility locus at 1q21.3-24.2.
This paper presents a method of performing model-free LOD-score based linkage analysis on quantitative traits. It is implemented in the QMFLINK program. The method is used to perform a genome screen on the Framingham Heart Study data. A number of markers that show some support for linkage in our study coincide substantially with those implicated in other linkage studies of hypertension.
Although the new method needs further testing on additional real and simulated data sets we can already say that it is straightforward to apply and may offer a useful complementary approach to previously available methods for the linkage analysis of quantitative traits.