Forced vital capacity (FVC), a spirometric measure of pulmonary function, reflects lung volume and is used to diagnose and monitor lung diseases. We performed genome-wide association study meta-analysis of FVC in 52,253 individuals from 26 studies and followed up the top associations in 32,917 additional individuals of European ancestry. We found six new regions associated at genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8) with FVC in or near EFEMP1, BMP6, MIR-129-2/HSD17B12, PRDM11, WWOX, and KCNJ2. Two (GSTCD and PTCH1) loci previously associated with spirometric measures were related to FVC. Newly implicated regions were followed-up in samples of African American, Korean, Chinese, and Hispanic individuals. We detected transcripts for all six newly implicated genes in human lung tissue. The new loci may inform mechanisms involved in lung development and pathogenesis of restrictive lung disease.
Pulmonary function measures reflect respiratory health and predict mortality, and are used in the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We tested genome-wide association with the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and the ratio of FEV1 to forced vital capacity (FVC) in 48,201 individuals of European ancestry, with follow-up of top associations in up to an additional 46,411 individuals. We identified new regions showing association (combined P<5×10−8) with pulmonary function, in or near MFAP2, TGFB2, HDAC4, RARB, MECOM (EVI1), SPATA9, ARMC2, NCR3, ZKSCAN3, CDC123, C10orf11, LRP1, CCDC38, MMP15, CFDP1, and KCNE2. Identification of these 16 new loci may provide insight into the molecular mechanisms regulating pulmonary function and into molecular targets for future therapy to alleviate reduced lung function.
Fibrin fragment D-dimer is one of several peptides produced when cross-linked fibrin is degraded by plasmin, and is the most widely-used clinical marker of activated blood coagulation. To identity genetic loci influencing D-dimer levels, we performed the first large-scale, genome-wide association search.
Methods and Results
A genome-wide investigation of the genomic correlates of plasma D-dimer levels was conducted among 21,052 European-ancestry adults. Plasma levels of D-dimer were measured independently in each of 13 cohorts. Each study analyzed the association between ~2.6 million genotyped and imputed variants across the 22 autosomal chromosomes and natural-log transformed D-dimer levels using linear regression in additive genetic models adjusted for age and sex. Among all variants, 74 exceeded the genome-wide significance threshold and marked 3 regions. At 1p22, rs12029080 (p-value 6.4×10−52) was 46.0 kb upstream from F3, coagulation factor III (tissue factor). At 1q24, rs6687813 (p-value 2.4×10−14) was 79.7 kb downstream of F5, coagulation factor V. At 4q32, rs13109457 (p-value 2.9×10−18) was located between 2 fibrinogen genes: 10.4 kb downstream from FGG and 3.0 kb upstream from FGA. Variants were associated with a 0.099, 0.096, and 0.061 unit difference, respectively, in natural-log transformed D-dimer and together accounted for 1.8% of the total variance. When adjusted for non-synonymous substitutions in F5 and FGA loci known to be associated with D-dimer levels, there was no evidence of an additional association at either locus.
Three genes were associated with fibrin D-dimer levels, of which the F3 association was the strongest and has not been previously reported.
genome-wide variation; D-dimer; epidemiology; meta-analysis; thrombosis; hemostasis
A balanced t(1;11) translocation which transects the Disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) gene shows genome-wide significant linkage for schizophrenia and recurrent major depressive disorder in a single large Scottish family, but genome-wide and exome sequencing-based association studies have not supported a role for DISC1 in psychiatric illness. To explore DISC1 in more detail, we sequenced 528 kb of the DISC1 locus in 653 cases and 889 controls. We report 2,718 validated single nucleotide polymorphisms of which 2,010 have a minor allele frequency of less than 1%. Only 38% of these variants are reported in the 1000 Genomes Project European subset. This suggests that many DISC1 SNPs remain undiscovered and are essentially private. Rare coding variants identified exclusively in patients were found in likely functional protein domains. Significant region-wide association was observed between rs16856199 and recurrent major depressive disorder (P=0.026, unadjusted P=6.3 × 10−5, OR=3.48). This was not replicated in additional recurrent major depression samples (replication P=0.11). Combined analysis of both the original and replication set supported the original association (P=0.0058, OR=1.46). Evidence for segregation of this variant with disease in families was limited to those of rMDD individuals referred from primary care. Burden analysis for coding and non-coding variants gave nominal associations with diagnosis and measures of mood and cognition. Together, these observations are likely to generalise to other candidate genes for major mental illness and may thus provide guidelines for the design of future studies.
Identifying functional non-coding variants is one of the greatest unmet challenges in genetics. To help address this, we introduce an R package, SuRFR, which integrates functional annotation and prior biological knowledge to prioritise candidate functional variants. SuRFR is publicly available, modular, flexible, fast, and simple to use. We demonstrate that SuRFR performs with high sensitivity and specificity and provide a widely applicable and scalable benchmarking dataset for model training and validation.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13073-014-0079-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
To investigate whether associations of smoking with depression and anxiety are likely to be causal, using a Mendelian randomisation approach.
Mendelian randomisation meta-analyses using a genetic variant (rs16969968/rs1051730) as a proxy for smoking heaviness, and observational meta-analyses of the associations of smoking status and smoking heaviness with depression, anxiety and psychological distress.
Current, former and never smokers of European ancestry aged ≥16 years from 25 studies in the Consortium for Causal Analysis Research in Tobacco and Alcohol (CARTA).
Primary outcome measures
Binary definitions of depression, anxiety and psychological distress assessed by clinical interview, symptom scales or self-reported recall of clinician diagnosis.
The analytic sample included up to 58 176 never smokers, 37 428 former smokers and 32 028 current smokers (total N=127 632). In observational analyses, current smokers had 1.85 times greater odds of depression (95% CI 1.65 to 2.07), 1.71 times greater odds of anxiety (95% CI 1.54 to 1.90) and 1.69 times greater odds of psychological distress (95% CI 1.56 to 1.83) than never smokers. Former smokers also had greater odds of depression, anxiety and psychological distress than never smokers. There was evidence for positive associations of smoking heaviness with depression, anxiety and psychological distress (ORs per cigarette per day: 1.03 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.04), 1.03 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.04) and 1.02 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.03) respectively). In Mendelian randomisation analyses, there was no strong evidence that the minor allele of rs16969968/rs1051730 was associated with depression (OR=1.00, 95% CI 0.95 to 1.05), anxiety (OR=1.02, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.07) or psychological distress (OR=1.02, 95% CI 0.98 to 1.06) in current smokers. Results were similar for former smokers.
Findings from Mendelian randomisation analyses do not support a causal role of smoking heaviness in the development of depression and anxiety.
Mendelian randomisation; Smoking; Depression; Anxiety
Disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) is a risk factor for a spectrum of neuropsychiatric illnesses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder. Here we use two missense Disc1 mouse mutants, described previously with distinct behavioural phenotypes, to demonstrate that Disc1 variation exerts differing effects on the formation of newly generated neurons in the adult hippocampus. Disc1 mice carrying a homozygous Q31L mutation, and displaying depressive-like phenotypes, have fewer proliferating cells while Disc1 mice with a homozygous L100P mutation that induces schizophrenia-like phenotypes, show changes in the generation, placement and maturation of newly generated neurons in the hippocampal dentate gyrus. Our results demonstrate Disc1 allele specific effects in the adult hippocampus, and suggest that the divergence in behavioural phenotypes may in part stem from changes in specific cell populations in the brain.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is one of the most common autosomal recessive lethal disorders affecting white populations of northern European ancestry. To date there is no cure for CF. Life-long treatments for CF are being developed and include gene therapy and the use of small-molecule drugs designed to target specific cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene mutations. Irrespective of the type of molecular therapy for CF, which may include gene replacement, exon skipping, nonsense suppression, or molecular correctors, because all of these modulate gene expression there is an inherent risk of activation of T cells against the wild-type version of CFTR. Here we report the validation of the human interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot assay and its application for the analysis of CFTR-specific T cell responses in patients with CF and in non-CF subjects. We found non-CF subjects with low levels of self-reactive CFTR-specific T cells in the United States and several patients with CF with low to high levels of self-reactive CFTR-specific T cells in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
Calcedo and colleagues develop and validate a sensitive interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot assay for detection of human T cells specific to the cystic fibrosis (CF) transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein. They detect CFTR reactive T cells in a significant portion of CF patients. Remarkably, T cells recognizing CFTR are also identified in non-CF subjects. These data have important implications for measuring and interpreting transgene-specific immune responses in gene therapy trials.
Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) is a common Mendelian condition which, untreated, results in premature coronary heart disease. An estimated 88% of FH cases are undiagnosed in the UK. We previously validated a method for FH mutation detection in a lipid clinic population using next generation sequencing (NGS), but this did not address the challenge of identifying index cases in primary care where most undiagnosed patients receive healthcare. Here, we evaluate the targeted use of NGS as a potential route to diagnosis of FH in a primary care population subset selected for hypercholesterolaemia.
We used microfluidics-based PCR amplification coupled with NGS and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) to detect mutations in LDLR, APOB and PCSK9 in three phenotypic groups within the Generation Scotland: Scottish Family Health Study including 193 individuals with high total cholesterol, 232 with moderately high total cholesterol despite cholesterol-lowering therapy, and 192 normocholesterolaemic controls.
Pathogenic mutations were found in 2.1% of hypercholesterolaemic individuals, in 2.2% of subjects on cholesterol-lowering therapy and in 42% of their available first-degree relatives. In addition, variants of uncertain clinical significance (VUCS) were detected in 1.4% of the hypercholesterolaemic and cholesterol-lowering therapy groups. No pathogenic variants or VUCS were detected in controls.
We demonstrated that population-based genetic testing using these protocols is able to deliver definitive molecular diagnoses of FH in individuals with high cholesterol or on cholesterol-lowering therapy. The lower cost and labour associated with NGS-based testing may increase the attractiveness of a population-based approach to FH detection compared to genetic testing with conventional sequencing. This could provide one route to increasing the present low percentage of FH cases with a genetic diagnosis.
Familial hypercholesterolaemia; Total cholesterol; LDLR; Molecular diagnostic testing; Next-generation sequencing; Primary care; Generation Scotland
Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε genotype has previously been significantly associated with cognitive, brain imaging, and Alzheimer's disease-related phenotypes (e.g., age of onset). In the TOMM40 gene, the rs10524523 (“523”) variable length poly-T repeat polymorphism has more recently been associated with similar ph/enotypes, although the allelic directions of these associations have varied between initial reports. Using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging tractography, the present study aimed to investigate whether there are independent effects of apolipoprotein E (APOE) and TOMM40 genotypes on human brain white matter integrity in a community-dwelling sample of older adults, the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (mean age = 72.70 years, standard deviation = 0.74, N approximately = 640–650; for most analyses). Some nominally significant effects were observed (i.e., covariate-adjusted differences between genotype groups at p < 0.05). For APOE, deleterious effects of ε4 “risk” allele presence (vs. absence) were found in the right ventral cingulum and left inferior longitudinal fasciculus. To test for biologically independent effects of the TOMM40 523 repeat, participants were stratified into APOE genotype subgroups, so that any significant effects could not be attributed to APOE variation. In participants with the APOE ε3/ε4 genotype, effects of TOMM40 523 status were found in the left uncinate fasciculus, left rostral cingulum, left ventral cingulum, and a general factor of white matter integrity. In all 4 of these tractography measures, carriers of the TOMM40 523 “short” allele showed lower white matter integrity when compared with carriers of the “long” and “very-long” alleles. Most of these effects survived correction for childhood intelligence test scores and vascular disease history, though only the effect of TOMM40 523 on the left ventral cingulum integrity survived correction for false discovery rate. The effects of APOE in this older population are more specific and restricted compared with those reported in previous studies, and the effects of TOMM40 on white matter integrity appear to be novel, although replication is required in large independent samples.
White matter; Cognitive ageing; Diffusion MRI; Tractography; APOE; TOMM40; Alzheimer's disease
Education, socioeconomic status, and intelligence are commonly used as predictors of health outcomes, social environment, and mortality. Education and socioeconomic status are typically viewed as environmental variables although both correlate with intelligence, which has a substantial genetic basis. Using data from 6815 unrelated subjects from the Generation Scotland study, we examined the genetic contributions to these variables and their genetic correlations. Subjects underwent genome-wide testing for common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). DNA-derived heritability estimates and genetic correlations were calculated using the ‘Genome-wide Complex Trait Analyses’ (GCTA) procedures. 21% of the variation in education, 18% of the variation in socioeconomic status, and 29% of the variation in general cognitive ability was explained by variation in common SNPs (SEs ~ 5%). The SNP-based genetic correlations of education and socioeconomic status with general intelligence were 0.95 (SE 0.13) and 0.26 (0.16), respectively. There are genetic contributions to intelligence and education with near-complete overlap between common additive SNP effects on these traits (genetic correlation ~ 1). Genetic influences on socioeconomic status are also associated with the genetic foundations of intelligence. The results are also compatible with substantial environmental contributions to socioeconomic status.
•Generation Scotland is a large family-based cohort of ~ 24,000 people.•We investigate the genetic influences on education, SES, and intelligence.•Both DNA-based (subset of ~ 6500) and pedigree-based analyses are used.•Genetic effects on SES and education are linked to the genetic basis of intelligence.•There are also substantial environmental effects on all three traits.
Generation Scotland; Intelligence; Education; Socioeconomic status; Genetics
Greater height and higher intelligence test scores are predictors of better health outcomes. Here, we used molecular (single-nucleotide polymorphism) data to estimate the genetic correlation between height and general intelligence (g) in 6,815 unrelated subjects (median age 57, IQR 49–63) from the Generation Scotland: Scottish Family Health Study cohort. The phenotypic correlation between height and g was 0.16 (SE 0.01). The genetic correlation between height and g was 0.28 (SE 0.09) with a bivariate heritability estimate of 0.71. Understanding the molecular basis of the correlation between height and intelligence may help explain any shared role in determining health outcomes. This study identified a modest genetic correlation between height and intelligence with the majority of the phenotypic correlation being explained by shared genetic influences.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10519-014-9644-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Height; Intelligence; Molecular genetics; Genetic correlation; Generation Scotland
Combining information from multiple SNPs may capture a greater amount of genetic variation than from the sum of individual SNP effects and help identifying missing heritability. Regions may capture variation from multiple common variants of small effect, multiple rare variants or a combination of both. We describe regional heritability mapping of human cognition. Measures of crystallised (gc) and fluid intelligence (gf) in late adulthood (64–79 years) were available for 1806 individuals genotyped for 549,692 autosomal single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The same individuals were tested at age 11, enabling us the rare opportunity to measure cognitive change across most of their lifespan. 547,750 SNPs ranked by position are divided into 10, 908 overlapping regions of 101 SNPs to estimate the genetic variance each region explains, an approach that resembles classical linkage methods. We also estimate the genetic variation explained by individual autosomes and by SNPs within genes. Empirical significance thresholds are estimated separately for each trait from whole genome scans of 500 permutated data sets. The 5% significance threshold for the likelihood ratio test of a single region ranged from 17–17.5 for the three traits. This is the equivalent to nominal significance under the expectation of a chi-squared distribution (between 1df and 0) of P<1.44×10−5. These thresholds indicate that the distribution of the likelihood ratio test from this type of variance component analysis should be estimated empirically. Furthermore, we show that estimates of variation explained by these regions can be grossly overestimated. After applying permutation thresholds, a region for gf on chromosome 5 spanning the PRRC1 gene is significant at a genome-wide 10% empirical threshold. Analysis of gene methylation on the temporal cortex provides support for the association of PRRC1 and fluid intelligence (P = 0.004), and provides a prime candidate gene for high throughput sequencing of these uniquely informative cohorts.
The APOE ε and TOMM40 rs10524523 (‘523’) variable length poly-T repeat gene loci have been significantly and independently associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) related phenotypes such as age of clinical onset. Hippocampal atrophy has been significantly associated with memory impairment, a characteristic of AD. The current study aimed to test for independent effects of APOE ε and TOMM40 ‘523’ genotypes on hippocampal volumes as assessed by brain structural MRI in a relatively large sample of community-dwelling older adults. As part of a longitudinal study of cognitive ageing, participants in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 underwent genotyping for APOE ε2/ε3/ε4 status and TOMM40 ‘523’ poly-T repeat length, and detailed structural brain MRI at a mean age of 72.7 years (standard deviation = 0.7, N range = 624 to 636). No significant effects of APOE ε or TOMM40 523 genotype were found on hippocampal volumes when analysed raw, or when adjusted for either intracranial or total brain tissue volumes. In summary, in a large community-dwelling sample of older adults, we found no effects of APOE ε or TOMM40 523 genotypes on hippocampal volumes. This is discrepant with some previous reports of significant association between APOE and left/right hippocampal volumes, and instead echoes other reports that found no association. Previous significant findings may partly reflect type 1 error. Future studies should carefully consider: 1) their specific techniques in adjusting for brain size; 2) assessing more detailed sub-divisions of the hippocampal formation; and 3) testing whether significant APOE-hippocampal associations are independent of generalised brain atrophy.
Measures of personality and psychological distress are correlated and exhibit genetic covariance. We conducted univariate genome-wide SNP (~2.5 million) and gene-based association analyses of these traits and examined the overlap in results across traits, including a prediction analysis of mood states using genetic polygenic scores for personality. Measures of neuroticism, extraversion, and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and general psychological distress were collected in eight European cohorts (n ranged 546 to 1 338; maximum total n=6 268) whose mean age ranged from 55 to 79 years. Meta-analysis of the cohort results was performed, with follow-up associations of the top SNPs and genes investigated in independent cohorts (n=527 to 6 032). Suggestive association (P=8×10−8) of rs1079196 in the FHIT gene was observed with symptoms of anxiety. Other notable associations (P<6.09×10−6) included SNPs in five genes for neuroticism (LCE3C, POLR3A, LMAN1L, ULK3, SCAMP2), KIAA0802 for extraversion, and NOS1 for general psychological distress. An association between symptoms of depression and rs7582472 (near to MGAT5 and NCKAP5) was replicated in two independent samples, but other replication findings were less consistent. Gene-based tests identified a significant locus on chromosome 15 (spanning five genes) associated with neuroticism which replicated (P<0.05) in an independent cohort. Support for common genetic effects among personality and mood (particularly neuroticism and depressive symptoms) was found in terms of SNP association overlap and polygenic score prediction. The variance explained by individual SNPs was very small (up to 1%) confirming that there are no moderate/large effects of common SNPs on personality and related traits.
GWAS; extraversion; neuroticism; anxiety; depression
Disrupted-In-Schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) is a candidate risk factor for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe recurrent depression. Here, we demonstrate that DISC1 associates robustly with trafficking-protein-Kinesin-binding-1 which is, in turn, known to interact with the outer mitochondrial membrane proteins Miro1/2, linking mitochondria to the kinesin motor for microtubule-based subcellular trafficking. DISC1 also associates with Miro1 and is thus a component of functional mitochondrial transport complexes. Consistent with these observations, in neuronal axons DISC1 promotes specifically anterograde mitochondrial transport. DISC1 thus participates directly in mitochondrial trafficking, which is essential for neural development and neurotransmission. Any factor affecting mitochondrial DISC1 function is hence likely to have deleterious consequences for the brain, potentially contributing to increased risk of psychiatric illness. Intriguingly, therefore, a rare putatively causal human DISC1 sequence variant, 37W, impairs the ability of DISC1 to promote anterograde mitochondrial transport. This is likely related to a number of mitochondrial abnormalities induced by expression of DISC1-37W, which redistributes mitochondrial DISC1 and enhances kinesin mitochondrial association, while also altering protein interactions within the mitochondrial transport complex.
Anecdotal and biographical reports have long suggested that bipolar disorder is more common in people with exceptional cognitive or creative ability. Epidemiological evidence for such a link is sparse. We investigated the relationship between intelligence and subsequent risk of hospitalisation for bipolar disorder in a prospective cohort study of 1,049,607 Swedish men. Intelligence was measured on conscription for military service at a mean age of 18.3 years and data on psychiatric hospital admissions over a mean follow-up period of 22.6 years was obtained from national records. Risk of hospitalization with any form of bipolar disorder fell in a stepwise manner as intelligence increased (p for linear trend <0.0001). However, when we restricted analyses to men with no psychiatric comorbidity, there was a ‘reversed-J’ shaped association: men with the lowest intelligence had the greatest risk of being admitted with pure bipolar disorder, but risk was also elevated among men with the highest intelligence (p for quadratic trend = 0.03), primarily in those with the highest verbal (p for quadratic trend=0.009) or technical ability (p for quadratic trend <0.0001). At least in men, high intelligence may indeed be a risk factor for bipolar disorder, but only in the minority of cases who have the disorder in a pure form with no psychiatric comorbidity.
Mental disorders have a complex etiology resulting from
between multiple genetic risk factors and stressful life events. Orphan
G protein-coupled receptor 50 (GPR50) has been identified as a genetic
risk factor for bipolar disorder and major depression in women, and
there is additional genetic and functional evidence linking GPR50
to neurite outgrowth, lipid metabolism, and adaptive thermogenesis
and torpor. However, in the absence of a ligand, a specific function
has not been identified. Adult GPR50 expression has previously been
reported in brain regions controlling the HPA axis, but its developmental
expression is unknown. In this study, we performed extensive expression
analysis of GPR50 and three protein interactors using rt-PCR and immunohistochemistry
in the developing and adult mouse brain. Gpr50 is expressed at embryonic
day 13 (E13), peaks at E18, and is predominantly expressed by neurons.
Additionally we identified novel regions of Gpr50 expression, including
brain stem nuclei involved in neurotransmitter signaling: the locus
coeruleus, substantia nigra, and raphe nuclei, as well as nuclei involved
in metabolic homeostasis. Gpr50 colocalizes with yeast-two-hybrid
interactors Nogo-A, Abca2, and Cdh8 in the hypothalamus, amygdala,
cortex, and selected brain stem nuclei at E18 and in the adult. With
this study, we identify a link between GPR50 and neurotransmitter
signaling and strengthen a likely role in stress response and energy
GPR50; Nogo-A; Cadherin 8; ABCA2; rt-PCR; immunohistochemistry
Rationale: Ongoing efforts to improve pulmonary gene transfer thereby enabling gene therapy for the treatment of lung diseases, such as cystic fibrosis (CF), has led to the assessment of a lentiviral vector (simian immunodeficiency virus [SIV]) pseudotyped with the Sendai virus envelope proteins F and HN.
Objectives: To place this vector onto a translational pathway to the clinic by addressing some key milestones that have to be achieved.
Methods: F/HN-SIV transduction efficiency, duration of expression, and toxicity were assessed in mice. In addition, F/HN-SIV was assessed in differentiated human air–liquid interface cultures, primary human nasal epithelial cells, and human and sheep lung slices.
Measurements and Main Results: A single dose produces lung expression for the lifetime of the mouse (∼2 yr). Only brief contact time is needed to achieve transduction. Repeated daily administration leads to a dose-related increase in gene expression. Repeated monthly administration to mouse lower airways is feasible without loss of gene expression. There is no evidence of chronic toxicity during a 2-year study period. F/HN-SIV leads to persistent gene expression in human differentiated airway cultures and human lung slices and transduces freshly obtained primary human airway epithelial cells.
Conclusions: The data support F/HN-pseudotyped SIV as a promising vector for pulmonary gene therapy for several diseases including CF. We are now undertaking the necessary refinements to progress this vector into clinical trials.
lentivirus; cystic fibrosis; gene therapy; lung; gene transfer
Identifying genetic variants influencing human brain structures may reveal new biological mechanisms underlying cognition and neuropsychiatric illness. The volume of the hippocampus is a biomarker of incipient Alzheimer’s disease1,2 and is reduced in schizophrenia3, major depression4 and mesial temporal lobe epilepsy5. Whereas many brain imaging phenotypes are highly heritable6,7, identifying and replicating genetic influences has been difficult, as small effects and the high costs of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have led to underpowered studies. Here we report genome-wide association meta-analyses and replication for mean bilateral hippocampal, total brain and intracranial volumes from a large multinational consortium. The intergenic variant rs7294919 was associated with hippocampal volume (12q24.22; N = 21,151; P = 6.70 × 10−16) and the expression levels of the positional candidate gene TESC in brain tissue. Additionally, rs10784502, located within HMGA2, was associated with intracranial volume (12q14.3; N = 15,782; P = 1.12 × 10−12). We also identified a suggestive association with total brain volume at rs10494373 within DDR2 (1q23.3; N = 6,500; P = 5.81 × 10−7).
Nuclear distribution factor E-homolog 1 (NDE1), Lissencephaly 1 (LIS1), and NDE-like 1 (NDEL1) together participate in essential neurodevelopmental processes, including neuronal precursor proliferation and differentiation, neuronal migration, and neurite out-growth. NDE1/LIS1/NDEL1 interacts with Disrupted in Schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) and the cAMP-hydrolyzing enzyme phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4). DISC1, PDE4, NDE1, and NDEL1 have each been implicated as genetic risk factors for major mental illness. Here, we demonstrate that DISC1 and PDE4 modulate NDE1 phosphorylation by cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) and identify a novel PKA substrate site on NDE1 at threonine-131 (T131). Homology modeling predicts that phosphorylation at T131 modulates NDE1–LIS1 and NDE1–NDEL1 interactions, which we confirm experimentally. DISC1–PDE4 interaction thus modulates organization of the NDE1/NDEL1/LIS1 complex. T131-phosphorylated NDE1 is present at the postsynaptic density, in proximal axons, within the nucleus, and at the centrosome where it becomes substantially enriched during mitosis. Mutation of the NDE1 T131 site to mimic PKA phosphorylation inhibits neurite outgrowth. Thus PKA-dependent phosphorylation of the NDE1/LIS1/NDEL1 complex is DISC1–PDE4 modulated and likely to regulate its neural functions.
Generation Scotland: Scottish Family Health Study (GS:SFHS) is a family-based biobank of 24,000 participants with rich phenotype and DNA available for genetic research. This paper describes the laboratory results from genotyping 32 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on DNA from over 10,000 participants who attended GS:SFHS research clinics. The analysis described here was undertaken to test the quality of genetic information available to researchers. The success rate of each marker genotyped (call rate), minor allele frequency and adherence to Mendelian inheritance are presented. The few deviations in marker transmission in the 925 parent-child trios analysed were assessed as to whether they were likely to be miscalled genotypes, data or sample handling errors, or pedigree inaccuracies including non-paternity.
The first 10,450 GS:SFHS clinic participants who had spirometry and smoking data available and DNA extracted were selected. 32 SNPs were assayed, chosen as part of a replication experiment from a Genome-Wide Association Study meta-analysis of lung function.
In total 325,336 genotypes were returned. The overall project pass rate (32 SNPs on 10,450 samples) was 97.29%. A total of 925 parent-child trios were assessed for transmission of the SNP markers, with 16 trios indicating evidence of inconsistency in the recorded pedigrees.
The Generation Scotland: Scottish Family Health Study used well-validated study methods and can produce good quality genetic data, with a low error rate. The GS:SFHS DNA samples are of high quality and the family groups were recorded and processed with accuracy during collection of the cohort.
Genetics; SNP Genotyping; Parent-child trios; Error rate; Non paternity; Generation Scotland; Biobank
Genetic influences have an important role in the ageing process. The genetic factors that influence success in bodily ageing may also contribute to the successful ageing of cognitive abilities. A comparative genomics approach found longevity genes conserved between yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. We hypothesised that these longevity genes influence variance in cognitive ability and age-related cognitive decline in humans. Here, we investigated six of these genes that have human orthologs and show expression in the brain. We tested AFG3L2 (MIM: 604581, AFG3 ATPase family gene 3-like 2 (yeast)), FRAP1 (MIM: 601231, a FK506 binding protein 12-rapamycin associated protein), MAT1A, MAT2A (MIM: 610550 and 601468, methionine adenosyltransferases I alpha and II alpha, respectively), SYNJ1 and SYNJ2 (MIM: 604297 and 609410, synaptojanin-1 and synaptojanin-2, respectively) in approximately 1000 healthy older Scots: the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (LBC1936). They were tested on general cognitive ability at age 11 years. At a mean age of 70 years, they re-sat the same general cognitive ability test and underwent an additional battery of diverse cognitive tests. In all, 70 tag and functional SNPs in the six longevity genes were genotyped and tested for association with cognition and cognitive ageing in LBC1936. Suggestive associations were detected between SNPs in SYNJ2, MAT1A, AFG3L2 and SYNJ1 and a general memory factor and general cognitive ability at age 11 and 70 years. Replication studies for cognitive ability associations were performed in 2506 samples from the Cognitive Ageing Genetics in England and Scotland consortium. A meta-analysis replicated the SYNJ2 association with cognitive abilities (lowest P=0.00077). SYNJ2 is a novel gene in which variation is potentially associated with cognitive abilities.
cognition; cognitive ageing; longevity genes; gene association; SYNJ2
Differences in genomic structure between individuals are ubiquitous features of human genetic variation. Specific copy number variants (CNVs) have been associated with susceptibility to numerous complex psychiatric disorders, including attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder, autism-spectrum disorders and schizophrenia. These disorders often display co-morbidity with low intelligence. Rare chromosomal deletions and duplications are associated with these disorders, so it has been suggested that these deletions or duplications may be associated with differences in intelligence. Here we investigate associations between large (≥500kb), rare (<1% population frequency) CNVs and both fluid and crystallized intelligence in community-dwelling older people. We observe no significant associations between intelligence and total CNV load. Examining individual CNV regions previously implicated in neuropsychological disorders, we find suggestive evidence that CNV regions around SHANK3 are associated with fluid intelligence as derived from a battery of cognitive tests. This is the first study to examine the effects of rare CNVs as called by multiple algorithms on cognition in a large non-clinical sample, and finds no effects of such variants on general cognitive ability.