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1.  Renal and Cardiovascular Morbidities Associated with APOL1 Status among African-American and Non-African-American Children with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis 
Background and objectives
African-American (AA) children with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) have later onset disease that progresses more rapidly than in non-AA children. It is unclear how APOL1 genotypes contribute to kidney disease risk, progression, and cardiovascular morbidity in children.
Design, setting, participants, and measurements
We examined the prevalence of APOL1 genotypes and associated cardiovascular phenotypes among children with FSGS in the Chronic Kidney Disease in Children (CKiD) study; an ongoing multicenter prospective cohort study of children aged 1–16 years with mild to moderate kidney disease.
A total of 140 AA children in the CKiD study were genotyped. High risk (HR) APOL1 genotypes were present in 24% of AA children (33/140) and were associated with FSGS, p < 0.001. FSGS was the most common cause of glomerular disease in children with HR APOL1 (89%; 25/28). Of 32 AA children with FSGS, 25 (78%) had HR APOL1. Compared to children with low risk APOL1 and FSGS (comprising 36 non-AA and 7 AA), children with HR APOL1 developed FSGS at a later age, 12.0 (IQR: 9.5, 12.5) vs. 5.5 (2.5, 11.5) years, p = 0.004, had a higher prevalence of uncontrolled hypertension (52 vs. 33%, p = 0.13), left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) (53 vs. 12%, p < 0.01), C-reactive protein > 3 mg/l (33 vs. 15%, p = 0.12), and obesity (48 vs. 19%, p = 0.01). There were no differences in glomerular filtration rate, hemoglobin, iPTH, or calcium–phosphate product.
AA children with HR APOL1 genotype and FSGS have increase prevalence of obesity and LVH despite a later age of FSGS onset, while adjusting for socioeconomic status. Treatment of obesity may be an important component of chronic kidney disease and LVH management in this population.
PMCID: PMC5110572  PMID: 27900314
cardiovascular; left ventricular hypertrophy; chronic renal disease; FSGS; children
2.  APOL1 Risk Alleles are Associated with More Severe Arteriosclerosis in Renal Resistance Vessels with Aging and Hypertension 
KI reports  2016;1(1):10-23.
The increased risk of end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) among hypertensive African Americans is partly related to APOL1 allele variants. Hypertension-associated arterionephrosclerosis consists of arteriosclerosis, glomerulosclerosis, and cortical fibrosis. The initial glomerulosclerosis, attributed to preglomerular arteriosclerosis and ischemia, consists of focal global glomerulosclerosis (FGGS), but in biopsy studies, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is found with progression to ESKD, particularly in African Americans. This is a study of arterionephrosclerosis in successfully APOL1 genotyped autopsy kidney tissue of 159 African Americans (61 no risk alleles, 68 one risk allele, 30 two risk alleles) and 135 whites aged 18–89 years from a general population with no clinical renal disease. Glomerulosclerosis was nearly exclusively FGGS with only three subjects having FSGS-like lesions that were unrelated to APOL1 risk status. For both races, in multivariable analysis, the dependent variables of arteriosclerosis, glomerulosclerosis, and cortical fibrosis were all significantly related to the independent variables of older age (P < 0.001) and hypertension (P < 0.001). A relationship between APOL1 genotype and arteriosclerosis was apparent only after 35 years of age when, for any level of elevated blood pressure, more severe arteriosclerosis was found in the interlobular arteries of 14 subjects with two APOL1 risk alleles when compared to African Americans with none (n = 37, P = 0.02) or one risk alleles (n = 35, P = 0.02). With the limitation of the small number of subjects contributing to the positive results, the findings imply that APOL1 risk alleles recessively augment small vessel arteriosclerosis in conjunction with age and hypertension. FSGS was not a significant finding, indicating that in the early stages of arterionephrosclerosis, the primary pathologic influence of APOL1 genotype is vascular rather than glomerular.
PMCID: PMC5012291  PMID: 27610422
3.  tarSVM: Improving the accuracy of variant calls derived from microfluidic PCR-based targeted next generation sequencing using a support vector machine 
BMC Bioinformatics  2016;17:233.
Targeted sequencing of discrete gene sets is a cost effective strategy to screen subjects for monogenic forms of disease. One method to achieve this pairs microfluidic PCR with next generation sequencing. The PCR step of this pipeline creates challenges in accurate variant calling. This includes that most reads targeting a specific exon are duplicates that have been amplified from the PCR step. To reduce false positive variant calls from these experiments, previous studies have used threshold-based filtering of alternative allele depth ratio and manual inspection of the alignments. However even after manual inspection and filtering, many variants fail to be validated via Sanger sequencing. To improve the accuracy of variant calling from these experiments, we are challenged to design a variant filtering strategy that sufficiently models microfluidic PCR-specific issues.
We developed an open source variant filtering pipeline, targeted sequencing support vector machine (“tarSVM”), that uses a Support Vector Machine (SVM) and a new score the normalized allele dosage test to identify high quality variants from microfluidic PCR data. tarSVM maximizes training knowledge by selecting variants that are likely true and likely false variants by incorporating knowledge from the 1000 Genomes and the Exome Aggregation Consortium projects. tarSVM improves on previous approaches by synthesizing variant features from the Genome Analysis Toolkit and allele dosage information. We compared the accuracy of tarSVM versus existing variant quality filtering strategies on two cohorts (n = 474 and n = 1152), and validated our method on a third cohort (n = 75). In the first cohort, our method achieved 84.5 % accuracy of predicting whether or not a variant would be validated with Sanger sequencing versus 78.8 % for the second most accurate method. In the second cohort, our method had an accuracy of 73.3 %, versus 61.5 % for the second best method. Finally, our method had a false discovery rate of 5 % for the validation cohort.
tarSVM increases the accuracy of variant calling when using microfluidic PCR based targeted sequencing approaches. This results in higher confidence downstream analyses, and ultimately reduces the costs Sanger validation. Our approach is less labor intensive than existing approaches, and is available as an open source pipeline for read trimming, aligning, variant calling, and variant quality filtering on GitHub at
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12859-016-1108-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4902911  PMID: 27287006
Microfluidic; PCR; Next-generation sequencing; Variant calling; Accuracy; Support vector machine; Nephrotic
4.  Genome-wide Association Study and Admixture Mapping Reveal New Loci Associated with Total IgE Levels in Latinos 
Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is a key mediator of allergic inflammation and is frequently elevated in allergic disorders.
To identify genetic variants associated with IgE levels in Latinos.
We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and admixture mapping of total IgE levels in 3,334 Latinos from the Genes-environments & Admixture in Latino Americans (GALA II) study. Replication was evaluated in 454 Latinos, 1,564 European Americans, and 3,187 African Americans from independent studies.
We confirmed associations of six genes identified by previous GWAS and identified a novel genome-wide significant association of a polymorphism in ZNF365 with total IgE (rs200076616, p=2.3x10−8). We next identified four admixture mapping peaks (6p21.32-p22.1, 13p22-31, 14q23.2, and 22q13.1) where local African, European, and/or Native American ancestry was significantly associated with IgE levels. The most significant peak was 6p21.32-p22.1, where Native American ancestry was associated with lower levels of IgE (p=4.95x10−8). All but 22q13.1 were replicated in an independent sample of Latinos, and two of the peaks were replicated in African Americans (6p21.32-p22.1 and 14q23.2). Fine mapping of 6p21.32-p22.1 identified six genome-wide significant single nucleotide polymorphisms in Latinos, two of which replicated in European Americans. Another SNP was peak-wide significant within 14q23.2 in African Americans (rs1741099, p=3.7x10−6), and replicated in non-African American samples (p=0.011).
We confirmed genetic associations at six genes, and identified novel associations within ZNF365, HLA-DQA1, and 14q23.2. Our results highlight the importance of studying diverse, multi-ethnic populations to uncover novel loci associated with total IgE levels.
PMCID: PMC4458233  PMID: 25488688
immunoglobulin E; genome-wide association study; admixture mapping; allergy; asthma; next-generation sequencing; Latinos; Hispanics; minority populations
5.  A role for genetic susceptibility in sporadic focal segmental glomerulosclerosis 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  null;126(3):1067-1078.
Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is a syndrome that involves kidney podocyte dysfunction and causes chronic kidney disease. Multiple factors including chemical toxicity, inflammation, and infection underlie FSGS; however, highly penetrant disease genes have been identified in a small fraction of patients with a family history of FSGS. Variants of apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) have been linked to FSGS in African Americans with HIV or hypertension, supporting the proposal that genetic factors enhance FSGS susceptibility. Here, we used sequencing to investigate whether genetics plays a role in the majority of FSGS cases that are identified as primary or sporadic FSGS and have no known cause. Given the limited number of biopsy-proven cases with ethnically matched controls, we devised an analytic strategy to identify and rank potential candidate genes and used an animal model for validation. Nine candidate FSGS susceptibility genes were identified in our patient cohort, and three were validated using a high-throughput mouse method that we developed. Specifically, we introduced a podocyte-specific, doxycycline-inducible transactivator into a murine embryonic stem cell line with an FSGS-susceptible genetic background that allows shRNA-mediated targeting of candidate genes in the adult kidney. Our analysis supports a broader role for genetic susceptibility of both sporadic and familial cases of FSGS and provides a tool to rapidly evaluate candidate FSGS-associated genes.
PMCID: PMC4767358  PMID: 26901816
6.  Telomerase reverse transcriptase promoter mutations in hepatitis B virus-associated hepatocellular carcinoma 
Oncotarget  2016;7(19):27838-27847.
Telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) promoter mutations are among the most frequent noncoding somatic mutations in multiple cancers, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The clinical and pathological implications of TERT promoter mutations in hepatitis B virus (HBV)-associated HCC have not been resolved. To investigate TERT promoter mutations, protein expression, and their clinical-pathological implications, we sequenced the TERT promoter region for hotspot mutations in HCC tissues and performed immunostaining for TERT protein expression from HBV-associated HCC in Chinese patients. Of 276 HCC tumor DNA samples sequenced, 85 (31%) carried TERT promoter mutations. TERT promoter mutations were more frequent in those with low α-fetoprotein (AFP) serum levels (p = 0.03), advanced age (p = 0.04), and in those lacking HCC family history (p = 0.02), but were not correlated with HCC stages and grades. TERT protein levels were higher in HCC (n = 28) compared to normal liver tissues (n = 8) (p =0.001), but did not differ between mutated and non-mutated tumor tissues. In conclusion, TERT promoter mutations are common somatic mutations in HCC of Han Chinese with HBV infection. Detection of TERT promoter mutations in those with low levels of AFP may aid diagnosis of HCC with atypical presentation.
PMCID: PMC5053691  PMID: 27056898
hepatocellular carcinoma; TERT; mutation; telomerase reverse transcriptase
7.  Selecting SNPs informative for African, American Indian and European Ancestry: application to the Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes (FIND) 
BMC Genomics  2016;17:325.
The presence of population structure in a sample may confound the search for important genetic loci associated with disease. Our four samples in the Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes (FIND), European Americans, Mexican Americans, African Americans, and American Indians are part of a genome- wide association study in which population structure might be particularly important. We therefore decided to study in detail one component of this, individual genetic ancestry (IGA). From SNPs present on the Affymetrix 6.0 Human SNP array, we identified 3 sets of ancestry informative markers (AIMs), each maximized for the information in one the three contrasts among ancestral populations: Europeans (HAPMAP, CEU), Africans (HAPMAP, YRI and LWK), and Native Americans (full heritage Pima Indians). We estimate IGA and present an algorithm for their standard errors, compare IGA to principal components, emphasize the importance of balancing information in the ancestry informative markers (AIMs), and test the association of IGA with diabetic nephropathy in the combined sample.
A fixed parental allele maximum likelihood algorithm was applied to the FIND to estimate IGA in four samples: 869 American Indians; 1385 African Americans; 1451 Mexican Americans; and 826 European Americans. When the information in the AIMs is unbalanced, the estimates are incorrect with large error. Individual genetic admixture is highly correlated with principle components for capturing population structure. It takes ~700 SNPs to reduce the average standard error of individual admixture below 0.01. When the samples are combined, the resulting population structure creates associations between IGA and diabetic nephropathy.
The identified set of AIMs, which include American Indian parental allele frequencies, may be particularly useful for estimating genetic admixture in populations from the Americas. Failure to balance information in maximum likelihood, poly-ancestry models creates biased estimates of individual admixture with large error. This also occurs when estimating IGA using the Bayesian clustering method as implemented in the program STRUCTURE. Odds ratios for the associations of IGA with disease are consistent with what is known about the incidence and prevalence of diabetic nephropathy in these populations.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-016-2654-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4855449  PMID: 27142425
Individual genetic ancestry; Population structure; SNP; Diabetic nephropathy
8.  APOL1 kidney disease risk variants – an evolving landscape 
Seminars in nephrology  2015;35(3):222-236.
APOL1 genetic variants account for much of the excess risk of chronic and end stage kidney disease, which results in a significant global health disparity for persons of African ancestry. We estimate the lifetime risk of kidney disease in APOL1 dual-risk allele individuals to be at least 15%. Experimental evidence suggests a direct role of APOL1 in pore formation, cellular injury, and programmed cell death in renal injury. The APOL1 BH3 motif, often associated with cell death, is unlikely to play a role in APOL1-induced cytotoxicity as it is not conserved within the APOL family and is dispensable for cell death in vitro. We discuss two models for APOL1 trypanolytic activity: one involving lysosome permeabilization and another colloid-osmotic swelling of the cell body, as well as their relevance to human pathophysiology. Experimental evidence from human cell culture models suggests that both mechanisms may be operative. A systems biology approach whereby APOL1-associated perturbations in gene and protein expression in affected individuals are correlated with molecular pathways may be productive to elucidate APOL1 function in vivo.
PMCID: PMC4562465  PMID: 26215860
health disparities; chronic kidney disease; focal segmental glomerulosclerosis; innate immunity; APOL1
9.  Sequencing rare and common APOL1 coding variants to determine kidney disease risk 
Kidney international  2015;88(4):754-763.
A third of African Americans with sporadic focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) or HIV-associated nephropathy (HIVAN) do not carry APOL1 renal risk genotypes. This raises the possibility that other APOL1 variants may contribute to kidney disease. To address this question, we sequenced all APOL1 exons in 1, 437 Americans of African and European decent, including 464 patients with biopsy-proven FSGS/HIVAN. Testing for association with 33 common and rare variants with FSGS/HIVAN revealed no association independent of strong recessive G1 and G2 effects. Seeking additional variants that might have been under selection by pathogens and could represent candidates for kidney disease risk, we also sequenced an additional 1, 112 individuals representing 53 global populations. Except for G1 and G2, none of the 7 common codon-altering variants showed evidence of selection or could restore lysis against trypanosomes causing human African trypanosomiasis. Thus, only APOL1 G1 and G2 confer renal risk and other common and rare APOL1 missense variants, including the archaic G3 haplotype, do not contribute to sporadic FSGS and HIVAN in the United States population. Hence, in most potential clinical or screening applications, our study suggests that sequencing APOL1 exons is unlikely to bring additional information compared to genotyping only APOL1 G1 and G2 risk alleles.
PMCID: PMC4591109  PMID: 25993319
APOL1; FSGS; HIVAN; chronic kidney disease; association; population genetics; selection; trypanolysis; personalized medicine
11.  Variants in CXCR4 associate with juvenile idiopathic arthritis susceptibility 
BMC Medical Genetics  2016;17:24.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is the most common chronic rheumatic disease among children, the etiology of which involves a strong genetic component, but much of the underlying genetic determinants still remain unknown. Our aim was to identify novel genetic variants that predispose to JIA.
We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and replication in a total of 1166 JIA cases and 9500 unrelated controls of European ancestry. Correlation of SNP genotype and gene expression was investigated. Then we conducted targeted resequencing of a candidate locus, among a subset of 480 cases and 480 controls. SUM test was performed to evaluate the association of the identified rare functional variants.
The CXCR4 locus on 2q22.1 was found to be significantly associated with JIA, peaking at SNP rs953387. However, this result is subjected to subpopulation stratification within the subjects of European ancestry. After adjusting for principal components, nominal significant association remained (p < 10−4). Because of its interesting known function in immune regulation, we carried out further analyses to assess its relationship with JIA. Expression of CXCR4 was correlated with CXCR4 rs953387 genotypes in lymphoblastoid cell lines (p = 0.014) and T-cells (p = 0.0054). In addition, rare non-synonymous and stop-gain sequence variants in CXCR4, putatively damaging for CXCR4 function, were significantly enriched in JIA cases (p = 0.015).
Our results suggest the association of CXCR4 variants with JIA, implicating that this gene may be involved in the pathogenesis of autoimmune disease. However, because this locus is subjected to population stratification within the subjects of European ancestry, additional replication is still necessary for this locus to be considered a true risk locus for JIA. This cell-surface chemokine receptor has already been targeted in other diseases and may serve as a tractable therapeutic target for a specific subset of pediatric arthritis patients with additional replication and functional validation of the locus.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12881-016-0285-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4804485  PMID: 27005825
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis; Genome-wide association study; CXCR4; Targeted resequencing
12.  Role of APOBEC3F Gene Variation in HIV-1 Disease Progression and Pneumocystis Pneumonia 
PLoS Genetics  2016;12(3):e1005921.
Human APOBEC3 cytidine deaminases are intrinsic resistance factors to HIV-1. However, HIV-1 encodes a viral infectivity factor (Vif) that degrades APOBEC3 proteins. In vitro APOBEC3F (A3F) anti-HIV-1 activity is weaker than A3G but is partially resistant to Vif degradation unlike A3G. It is unknown whether A3F protein affects HIV-1 disease in vivo. To assess the effect of A3F gene on host susceptibility to HIV- acquisition and disease progression, we performed a genetic association study in six well-characterized HIV-1 natural cohorts. A common six-Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) haplotype of A3F tagged by a codon-changing variant (p. I231V, with allele (V) frequency of 48% in European Americans) was associated with significantly lower set-point viral load and slower rate of progression to AIDS (Relative Hazards (RH) = 0.71, 95% CI: 0.56, 0.91) and delayed development of pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) (RH = 0.53, 95% CI: 0.37–0.76). A validation study in the International Collaboration for the Genomics of HIV (ICGH) showed a consistent association with lower set-point viral load. An in vitro assay revealed that the A3F I231V variant may influence Vif mediated A3F degradation. Our results provide genetic epidemiological evidence that A3F modulates HIV-1/AIDS disease progression.
Author Summary
Cytidine deaminases of the human APOBEC3 (A3) gene family serve as intrinsic resistance factors to HIV-1 and other retroviruses. HIV-1 encodes the viral infectivity factor (Vif) protein that degrades APOBEC3 proteins via the ubiquitination-proteosomal pathway. APOBEC3F (A3F), unlike APOBEC3G (A3G), is partially resistant to Vif-mediated degradation. The antiviral activity of the A3 family has largely been demonstrated in in vitro experiments, and there is mounting evidence that A3G genetic variants influence HIV disease progression. It is not resolved if A3F protein affects HIV disease in vivo. To assess the in vivo effect of A3F, we performed a genetic association study of genetic variants in A3F for their influence on HIV- acquisition and HIV disease progression. A common A3F haplotype was associated with a 30% reduced rate of AIDS disease progression, lower set-point viral load and delayed development of pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) in European Americans. This study provides the first epidemiological evidence that A3F might modify HIV-1/AIDS pathogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4778847  PMID: 26942578
13.  Genetic Ancestry Influences Asthma Susceptibility and Lung Function Among Latinos 
Childhood asthma prevalence and morbidity varies among Latinos in the United States, with Puerto Ricans having the highest and Mexicans the lowest.
To determine whether genetic ancestry is associated with the odds of asthma among Latinos, and secondarily whether genetic ancestry is associated with lung function among Latino children.
We analyzed 5,493 Latinos with and without asthma from three independent studies. For each participant we estimated the proportion of African, European, and Native American ancestry using genome-wide data. We tested whether genetic ancestry was associated with the presence of asthma and lung function among subjects with and without asthma. Odds ratios (OR) and effect sizes were assessed for every 20% increase in each ancestry.
Native American ancestry was associated with lower odds of asthma (OR=0.72, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.66–0.78, p=8.0×10−15), while African ancestry was associated with higher odds of asthma (OR=1.40, 95%CI: 1.14–1.72, p=0.001). These associations were robust to adjustment for covariates related to early life exposures, air pollution and socioeconomic status. Among children with asthma, African ancestry was associated with lower lung function, including both pre- and post-bronchodilator measures of forced expiratory volume in the first second (−77±19 ml, p=5.8×10−5 and −83±19 ml, p=1.1×10−5, respectively) and forced vital capacity (−100±21 ml, p=2.7×10−6 and −107±22 ml, p=1.0×10−6, respectively).
Differences in the proportions of genetic ancestry can partially explain disparities in asthma susceptibility and lung function among Latinos.
PMCID: PMC4289103  PMID: 25301036
genetic admixture; childhood asthma; Hispanics; minority; pulmonary function
14.  APOL1 Toxin, Innate Immunity and Kidney Injury 
Kidney international  2015;88(1):28-34.
The discovery that two common APOL1 alleles were strongly associated with non-diabetic kidney diseases in African descent populations led to hope for improved diagnosis and treatment. Unfortunately, we still do not have a clear understanding of the biological function played by APOL1 in podocytes or other kidney cells, nor how the renal risk alleles initiate the development of nephropathies. Important clues for APOL1 function may be gleaned from the natural defense mechanism of APOL1 against trypanosome infections and from similar proteins (e.g. diphtheria toxin, mammalian Bcl-2 family members). This review provides an update on the biological functions for circulating (trypanosome resistance) and intracellular (emerging role for autophagy) APOL1. Further, we introduce a multimer model for APOL1 in kidney cells that reconciles the gain-of-function variants with the recessive inheritance pattern of APOL1 renal risk alleles.
PMCID: PMC4490079  PMID: 25853332
APOL1; renal function; innate defense; autophagy; multimer; toxicity
15.  Regulatory Variation in HIV-1 Dependency Factor ZNRD1 Associates with Host Resistance to HIV-1 Acquisition 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2014;210(10):1539-1548.
Background. ZNRD1 was identified as a host protein required for the completion of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) lifecycle in a genome-wide screen using small interfering RNA gene silencing. Subsequently, a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of host determinants for HIV-1 disease identified an association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the ZNRD1 region with CD4+ T-cell depletion.
Methods. We investigated the effects of SNPs in the ZNRD1 region on human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection and progression to clinical outcomes in 5 US-based HIV-1 longitudinal cohorts consisting of men who have sex with men, males with hemophilia, and injection drug users (IDUs) (n = 1865). SNP function was evaluated by electrophoretic mobility shift assay and promoter luciferase assay.
Results. A haplotype in the ZNRD1 gene showed significant association with a 35% decreased risk of HIV-1 acquisition (OR = 0.65, 95% CI, .47–.89), independent of HLA-C rs9264942, in European Americans. The SNP rs3132130 tagging this haplotype, located in the ZNRD1 5′ upstream region, caused a loss of nuclear factor binding and decrease in ZNRD1 promoter activity. ZNRD1 variants also affected HIV-1 disease progression in European- and African-American cohorts.
Conclusions. This study provides novel evidence that ZNRD1 polymorphism may confer host resistance to HIV-1 acquisition.
PMCID: PMC4215072  PMID: 24842830
HIV-1; infection; host susceptibility; AIDS; SNP; single nucleotide polymorphism; ZNRD1; genetic association
16.  Global diversity, population stratification, and selection of human copy number variation 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2015;349(6253):aab3761.
In order to explore the diversity and selective signatures of duplication and deletion human copy number variants (CNVs), we sequenced 236 individuals from 125 distinct human populations. We observed that duplications exhibit fundamentally different population genetic and selective signatures than deletions and are more likely to be stratified between human populations. Through reconstruction of the ancestral human genome, we identify megabases of DNA lost in different human lineages and pinpoint large duplications that introgressed from the extinct Denisova lineage now found at high frequency exclusively in Oceanic populations. We find that the proportion of CNV base pairs to single nucleotide variant base pairs is greater among non-Africans than it is among African populations, but we conclude that this difference is likely due to unique aspects of non-African population history as opposed to differences in CNV load.
PMCID: PMC4568308  PMID: 26249230
17.  APOL1 Kidney Risk Alleles: Population Genetics and Disease Associations 
APOL1 kidney disease is a unique case in the field of the genetics of common disease: 2 variants (termed G1 and G2) with high population frequency have been repeatedly associated with nondiabetic CKDs, with very strong effect size (odds ratios 3–29) in populations of sub-Saharan African descent. This review provides an update on the spectrum of APOL1 kidney disease and on the worldwide distribution of these kidney risk variants. We also summarize the proper way to run a recessive analysis on joint and independent effects of APOL1 G1 and G2 kidney risk variants.
PMCID: PMC4157456  PMID: 25168832
Glomerular disease; Apolipoprotein L1; African admixture; APOL1 demographics; Chronic kidney disease
18.  Genome-Wide Association and Trans-ethnic Meta-Analysis for Advanced Diabetic Kidney Disease: Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes (FIND) 
PLoS Genetics  2015;11(8):e1005352.
Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is the most common etiology of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the industrialized world and accounts for much of the excess mortality in patients with diabetes mellitus. Approximately 45% of U.S. patients with incident end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) have DKD. Independent of glycemic control, DKD aggregates in families and has higher incidence rates in African, Mexican, and American Indian ancestral groups relative to European populations. The Family Investigation of Nephropathy and Diabetes (FIND) performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) contrasting 6,197 unrelated individuals with advanced DKD with healthy and diabetic individuals lacking nephropathy of European American, African American, Mexican American, or American Indian ancestry. A large-scale replication and trans-ethnic meta-analysis included 7,539 additional European American, African American and American Indian DKD cases and non-nephropathy controls. Within ethnic group meta-analysis of discovery GWAS and replication set results identified genome-wide significant evidence for association between DKD and rs12523822 on chromosome 6q25.2 in American Indians (P = 5.74x10-9). The strongest signal of association in the trans-ethnic meta-analysis was with a SNP in strong linkage disequilibrium with rs12523822 (rs955333; P = 1.31x10-8), with directionally consistent results across ethnic groups. These 6q25.2 SNPs are located between the SCAF8 and CNKSR3 genes, a region with DKD relevant changes in gene expression and an eQTL with IPCEF1, a gene co-translated with CNKSR3. Several other SNPs demonstrated suggestive evidence of association with DKD, within and across populations. These data identify a novel DKD susceptibility locus with consistent directions of effect across diverse ancestral groups and provide insight into the genetic architecture of DKD.
Author Summary
Type 2 diabetes is the most common cause of severe kidney disease worldwide and diabetic kidney disease (DKD) associates with premature death. Individuals of non-European ancestry have the highest burden of type 2 DKD; hence understanding the causes of DKD remains critical to reducing health disparities. Family studies demonstrate that genes regulate the onset and progression of DKD; however, identifying these genes has proven to be challenging. The Family Investigation of Diabetes and Nephropathy consortium (FIND) recruited a large multi-ethnic collection of individuals with type 2 diabetes with and without kidney disease in order to detect genes associated with DKD. FIND discovered and replicated a DKD-associated genetic locus on human chromosome 6q25.2 (rs955333) between the SCAF8 and CNKSR genes. Findings were supported by significantly different expression of genes in this region from kidney tissue of subjects with, versus without DKD. The present findings identify a novel kidney disease susceptibility locus in individuals with type 2 diabetes which is consistent across subjects of differing ancestries. In addition, FIND results provide a rich catalogue of genetic variation in DKD patients for future research on the genetic architecture regulating this common and devastating disease.
PMCID: PMC4549309  PMID: 26305897
19.  GWAS and admixture mapping identify different asthma-associated loci in Latinos: The GALA II Study 
Asthma is a complex disease with both genetic and environmental causes. Genome-wide association studies of asthma have mostly involved European populations and replication of positive associations has been inconsistent.
To identify asthma-associated genes in a large Latino population with genome-wide association analysis and admixture mapping.
Latino children with asthma (n = 1,893) and healthy controls (n = 1,881) were recruited from five sites in the United States: Puerto Rico, New York, Chicago, Houston, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Subjects were genotyped on an Affymetrix World Array IV chip. We performed genome-wide association and admixture mapping to identify asthma-associated loci.
We identified a significant association between ancestry and asthma at 6p21 (lowest p-value: rs2523924, p < 5 × 10−6). This association replicates in a meta-analysis of the EVE Asthma Consortium (p = 0.01). Fine mapping of the region in this study and the EVE Asthma Consortium suggests an association between PSORS1C1 and asthma. We confirmed the strong allelic association between the 17q21 asthma in Latinos (IKZF3, lowest p-value: rs90792, OR: 0.67, 95% CI 0.61 – 0.75, p = 6 × 10−13) and replicated associations in several genes that had previously been associated with asthma in genome-wide association studies.
Admixture mapping and genome-wide association are complementary techniques that provide evidence for multiple asthma-associated loci in Latinos. Admixture mapping identifies a novel locus on 6p21 that replicates in a meta-analysis of several Latino populations, while genome-wide association confirms the previously identified locus on 17q21.
PMCID: PMC4085159  PMID: 24406073
Asthma; Latinos; Admixture Mapping; Genome-wide Association Study; Local Ancestry; 17q21; 6p21
20.  Evaluation of non-viral risk factors for nasopharyngeal carcinoma in a high-risk population of Southern China 
To understand the role of environmental and genetic influences on nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) in populations at high risk of NPC, we have performed a case-control study in Guangxi Province of Southern China in 2004-2005. NPC cases (n=1049) were compared to 785 NPC-free matched controls who were seropositive for IgA antibodies (IgA) to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) capsid antigen (VCA)—a predictive marker for NPC in Chinese populations. A questionnaire was used to capture exposure and NPC family history data. Risk factors associated with NPC in a multivariant analysis model were the following: 1) a first, second or third degree relative with NPC [Attributable risk (AR)= 6%, Odds ratio (OR) = 3.1, 95%CI = 2.0-4.9, p < 0.001]; 2) consumption of salted fish 3 or more than 3 times per month (AR=3%, OR = 1.9, 95%CI = 1.1-3.5, p = 0.035); 3) exposure to domestic wood cooking fires for more than 10 years (AR=69%, OR = 5.8, 95%CI = 2.5-13.6, p < 0.001); and 4) exposure to occupational solvents for 10 or less years (AR=4%, OR = 2.6, 95%CI = 1.4-4.8, p = 0.002). Consumption of preserved meats or a history of tobacco smoking were not associated with NPC (P>0.05). We also assessed the contribution of EBV/IgA/VCA antibody serostatus to NPC risk—32.2% of NPC can be explained by IgA+ status. However, family history and environmental risk factors cumulatively explained only 2.7% of NPC development in NPC high risk population. These findings should have important public health implications for NPC risk reduction in endemic regions.
PMCID: PMC4406046  PMID: 19296536
Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma; Risk factor; Epidemiology; Southern China; Epstein Barr Virus
21.  Ancient human genomes suggest three ancestral populations for present-day Europeans 
Lazaridis, Iosif | Patterson, Nick | Mittnik, Alissa | Renaud, Gabriel | Mallick, Swapan | Kirsanow, Karola | Sudmant, Peter H. | Schraiber, Joshua G. | Castellano, Sergi | Lipson, Mark | Berger, Bonnie | Economou, Christos | Bollongino, Ruth | Fu, Qiaomei | Bos, Kirsten I. | Nordenfelt, Susanne | Li, Heng | de Filippo, Cesare | Prüfer, Kay | Sawyer, Susanna | Posth, Cosimo | Haak, Wolfgang | Hallgren, Fredrik | Fornander, Elin | Rohland, Nadin | Delsate, Dominique | Francken, Michael | Guinet, Jean-Michel | Wahl, Joachim | Ayodo, George | Babiker, Hamza A. | Bailliet, Graciela | Balanovska, Elena | Balanovsky, Oleg | Barrantes, Ramiro | Bedoya, Gabriel | Ben-Ami, Haim | Bene, Judit | Berrada, Fouad | Bravi, Claudio M. | Brisighelli, Francesca | Busby, George B. J. | Cali, Francesco | Churnosov, Mikhail | Cole, David E. C. | Corach, Daniel | Damba, Larissa | van Driem, George | Dryomov, Stanislav | Dugoujon, Jean-Michel | Fedorova, Sardana A. | Romero, Irene Gallego | Gubina, Marina | Hammer, Michael | Henn, Brenna M. | Hervig, Tor | Hodoglugil, Ugur | Jha, Aashish R. | Karachanak-Yankova, Sena | Khusainova, Rita | Khusnutdinova, Elza | Kittles, Rick | Kivisild, Toomas | Klitz, William | Kučinskas, Vaidutis | Kushniarevich, Alena | Laredj, Leila | Litvinov, Sergey | Loukidis, Theologos | Mahley, Robert W. | Melegh, Béla | Metspalu, Ene | Molina, Julio | Mountain, Joanna | Näkkäläjärvi, Klemetti | Nesheva, Desislava | Nyambo, Thomas | Osipova, Ludmila | Parik, Jüri | Platonov, Fedor | Posukh, Olga | Romano, Valentino | Rothhammer, Francisco | Rudan, Igor | Ruizbakiev, Ruslan | Sahakyan, Hovhannes | Sajantila, Antti | Salas, Antonio | Starikovskaya, Elena B. | Tarekegn, Ayele | Toncheva, Draga | Turdikulova, Shahlo | Uktveryte, Ingrida | Utevska, Olga | Vasquez, René | Villena, Mercedes | Voevoda, Mikhail | Winkler, Cheryl | Yepiskoposyan, Levon | Zalloua, Pierre | Zemunik, Tatijana | Cooper, Alan | Capelli, Cristian | Thomas, Mark G. | Ruiz-Linares, Andres | Tishkoff, Sarah A. | Singh, Lalji | Thangaraj, Kumarasamy | Villems, Richard | Comas, David | Sukernik, Rem | Metspalu, Mait | Meyer, Matthias | Eichler, Evan E. | Burger, Joachim | Slatkin, Montgomery | Pääbo, Svante | Kelso, Janet | Reich, David | Krause, Johannes
Nature  2014;513(7518):409-413.
We sequenced the genomes of a ~7,000 year old farmer from Germany and eight ~8,000 year old hunter-gatherers from Luxembourg and Sweden. We analyzed these and other ancient genomes1–4 with 2,345 contemporary humans to show that most present Europeans derive from at least three highly differentiated populations: West European Hunter-Gatherers (WHG), who contributed ancestry to all Europeans but not to Near Easterners; Ancient North Eurasians (ANE) related to Upper Paleolithic Siberians3, who contributed to both Europeans and Near Easterners; and Early European Farmers (EEF), who were mainly of Near Eastern origin but also harbored WHG-related ancestry. We model these populations’ deep relationships and show that EEF had ~44% ancestry from a “Basal Eurasian” population that split prior to the diversification of other non-African lineages.
PMCID: PMC4170574  PMID: 25230663
22.  ALDsuite: Dense marker MALD using principal components of ancestral linkage disequilibrium 
BMC Genetics  2015;16:23.
Mapping by admixture linkage disequilibrium (MALD) is a whole genome gene mapping method that uses LD from extended blocks of ancestry inherited from parental populations among admixed individuals to map associations for diseases, that vary in prevalence among human populations. The extended LD queried for marker association with ancestry results in a greatly reduced number of comparisons compared to standard genome wide association studies. As ancestral population LD tends to confound the analysis of admixture LD, the earliest algorithms for MALD required marker sets sufficiently sparse to lack significant ancestral LD between markers. However current genotyping technologies routinely provide dense SNP data, which convey more information than sparse sets, if this information can be efficiently used. There are currently no software solutions that offer both local ancestry inference using dense marker data and disease association statistics.
We present here an R package, ALDsuite, which accounts for local LD using principal components of haplotypes from surrogate ancestral population data, and includes tools for quality control of data, MALD, downstream analysis of results and visualization graphics.
ALDsuite offers a fast, accurate estimation of global and local ancestry and comes bundled with the tools needed for MALD, from data quality control through mapping of and visualization of disease genes.
PMCID: PMC4408589  PMID: 25886794
Admixture linkage disequilibrium; MALD; Admixture inference
23.  Factors associated with degree of atopy in Latino children in a nationwide pediatric sample: The GALA II Study 
Atopy varies by ethnicity even within Latino groups. This variation may be due to environmental, socio-cultural or genetic factors.
To examine risk factors for atopy within a nationwide study of U.S. Latino children with and without asthma.
Aeroallergen skin test repsonse was analyzed in 1830 US latino subjects. Key determinants of atopy included: country / region of origin, generation in the U.S., acculturation, genetic ancestry and site to which individuals migrated. Serial multivariate zero inflated negative binomial regressions, stratified by asthma status, examined the association of each key determinant variable with the number of positive skin tests. In addition, the independent effect of each key variable was determined by including all key variables in the final models.
In baseline analyses, African ancestry was associated with 3 times as many positive skin tests in participants with asthma (95% CI:1.62–5.57) and 3.26 times as many positive skin tests in control participants (95% CI: 1.02–10.39). Generation and recruitment site were also associated with atopy in crude models. In final models adjusted for key variables, Puerto Rican [exp(β) (95%CI): 1.31(1.02–1.69)] and mixed ethnicity [exp(β) (95%CI):1.27(1.03–1.56)] asthmatics had a greater probability of positive skin tests compared to Mexican asthmatics. Ancestry associations were abrogated by recruitment site, but not region of origin.
Puerto Rican ethnicity and mixed origin were associated with degree of atopy within U.S. Latino children with asthma. African ancestry was not associated with degree of atopy after adjusting for recruitment site. Local environment variation, represented by site, was associated with degree of sensitization.
PMCID: PMC3788073  PMID: 23684070
Latino; atopy; region of origin; genetic ancestry; immigration; skin test; aeroallergen
24.  Evaluation and Integration of Genetic Signature for Prediction Risk of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma in Southern China 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:434072.
Genetic factors, as well as environmental factors, play a role in development of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). A number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been reported to be associated with NPC. To confirm these genetic associations with NPC, two independent case-control studies from Southern China comprising 1166 NPC cases and 2340 controls were conducted. Seven SNPs in ITGA9 at 3p21.3 and 9 SNPs within the 6p21.3 HLA region were genotyped. To explore the potential clinical application of these genetic markers in NPC, we further evaluate the predictive/diagnostic role of significant SNPs by calculating the area under the curve (AUC). Results. The reported associations between ITGA9 variants and NPC were not replicated. Multiple loci of GABBR1, HLA-F, HLA-A, and HCG9 were statistically significant in both cohorts (Pcombined range from 5.96 × 10−17 to 0.02). We show for the first time that these factors influence NPC development independent of environmental risk factors. This study also indicated that the SNP alone cannot serve as a predictive/diagnostic marker for NPC. Integrating the most significant SNP with IgA antibodies status to EBV, which is presently used as screening/diagnostic marker for NPC in Chinese populations, did not improve the AUC estimate for diagnosis of NPC.
PMCID: PMC4142549  PMID: 25180181
25.  NPHS2 Variation in Sporadic Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis 
Mutations in NPHS2, the gene that encodes podocin, are well-established causes of both familial and sporadic steroid-resistant focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) in the pediatric population, but have not been well-characterized in late-onset disease. To investigate the role of NPHS2 polymorphisms in sporadic cases of late-onset FSGS, we studied 377 biopsy-confirmed FSGS cases and 919 controls. We identified 18 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) by resequencing a subgroup of cases and controls, and subsequently genotyped African-American and European-American cases and controls for five missense SNPs, three SNPs within introns, and four SNPs in the 3′ untranslated region. No homozygotes or compound heterozygotes were observed for any missense mutation. R138Q carriers were more frequent among FSGS cases relative to controls (OR = 4.9, P = 0.06), but heterozygosity for the other four missense mutations was equally distributed among FSGS cases and controls. Finally, a common haplotype of noncoding SNPs carried by 20% of African-Americans, but not observed in European-Americans, was strongly associated with a 50% reduction in risk for sporadic FSGS (OR = 0.5, P = 0.001). These results indicate that genetic variation or mutation of NPHS2 may play a role in late-onset sporadic FSGS.
PMCID: PMC4096868  PMID: 17942957

Results 1-25 (71)