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1.  Genetic association study of QT interval highlights role for calcium signaling pathways in myocardial repolarization 
Arking, Dan E. | Pulit, Sara L. | Crotti, Lia | van der Harst, Pim | Munroe, Patricia B. | Koopmann, Tamara T. | Sotoodehnia, Nona | Rossin, Elizabeth J. | Morley, Michael | Wang, Xinchen | Johnson, Andrew D. | Lundby, Alicia | Gudbjartsson, Daníel F. | Noseworthy, Peter A. | Eijgelsheim, Mark | Bradford, Yuki | Tarasov, Kirill V. | Dörr, Marcus | Müller-Nurasyid, Martina | Lahtinen, Annukka M. | Nolte, Ilja M. | Smith, Albert Vernon | Bis, Joshua C. | Isaacs, Aaron | Newhouse, Stephen J. | Evans, Daniel S. | Post, Wendy S. | Waggott, Daryl | Lyytikäinen, Leo-Pekka | Hicks, Andrew A. | Eisele, Lewin | Ellinghaus, David | Hayward, Caroline | Navarro, Pau | Ulivi, Sheila | Tanaka, Toshiko | Tester, David J. | Chatel, Stéphanie | Gustafsson, Stefan | Kumari, Meena | Morris, Richard W. | Naluai, Åsa T. | Padmanabhan, Sandosh | Kluttig, Alexander | Strohmer, Bernhard | Panayiotou, Andrie G. | Torres, Maria | Knoflach, Michael | Hubacek, Jaroslav A. | Slowikowski, Kamil | Raychaudhuri, Soumya | Kumar, Runjun D. | Harris, Tamara B. | Launer, Lenore J. | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Alonso, Alvaro | Bader, Joel S. | Ehret, Georg | Huang, Hailiang | Kao, W.H. Linda | Strait, James B. | Macfarlane, Peter W. | Brown, Morris | Caulfield, Mark J. | Samani, Nilesh J. | Kronenberg, Florian | Willeit, Johann | Smith, J. Gustav | Greiser, Karin H. | zu Schwabedissen, Henriette Meyer | Werdan, Karl | Carella, Massimo | Zelante, Leopoldo | Heckbert, Susan R. | Psaty, Bruce M. | Rotter, Jerome I. | Kolcic, Ivana | Polašek, Ozren | Wright, Alan F. | Griffin, Maura | Daly, Mark J. | Arnar, David O. | Hólm, Hilma | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Denny, Joshua C. | Roden, Dan M. | Zuvich, Rebecca L. | Emilsson, Valur | Plump, Andrew S. | Larson, Martin G. | O'Donnell, Christopher J. | Yin, Xiaoyan | Bobbo, Marco | D'Adamo, Adamo P. | Iorio, Annamaria | Sinagra, Gianfranco | Carracedo, Angel | Cummings, Steven R. | Nalls, Michael A. | Jula, Antti | Kontula, Kimmo K. | Marjamaa, Annukka | Oikarinen, Lasse | Perola, Markus | Porthan, Kimmo | Erbel, Raimund | Hoffmann, Per | Jöckel, Karl-Heinz | Kälsch, Hagen | Nöthen, Markus M. | consortium, HRGEN | den Hoed, Marcel | Loos, Ruth J.F. | Thelle, Dag S. | Gieger, Christian | Meitinger, Thomas | Perz, Siegfried | Peters, Annette | Prucha, Hanna | Sinner, Moritz F. | Waldenberger, Melanie | de Boer, Rudolf A. | Franke, Lude | van der Vleuten, Pieter A. | Beckmann, Britt Maria | Martens, Eimo | Bardai, Abdennasser | Hofman, Nynke | Wilde, Arthur A.M. | Behr, Elijah R. | Dalageorgou, Chrysoula | Giudicessi, John R. | Medeiros-Domingo, Argelia | Barc, Julien | Kyndt, Florence | Probst, Vincent | Ghidoni, Alice | Insolia, Roberto | Hamilton, Robert M. | Scherer, Stephen W. | Brandimarto, Jeffrey | Margulies, Kenneth | Moravec, Christine E. | Fabiola Del, Greco M. | Fuchsberger, Christian | O'Connell, Jeffrey R. | Lee, Wai K. | Watt, Graham C.M. | Campbell, Harry | Wild, Sarah H. | El Mokhtari, Nour E. | Frey, Norbert | Asselbergs, Folkert W. | Leach, Irene Mateo | Navis, Gerjan | van den Berg, Maarten P. | van Veldhuisen, Dirk J. | Kellis, Manolis | Krijthe, Bouwe P. | Franco, Oscar H. | Hofman, Albert | Kors, Jan A. | Uitterlinden, André G. | Witteman, Jacqueline C.M. | Kedenko, Lyudmyla | Lamina, Claudia | Oostra, Ben A. | Abecasis, Gonçalo R. | Lakatta, Edward G. | Mulas, Antonella | Orrú, Marco | Schlessinger, David | Uda, Manuela | Markus, Marcello R.P. | Völker, Uwe | Snieder, Harold | Spector, Timothy D. | Ärnlöv, Johan | Lind, Lars | Sundström, Johan | Syvänen, Ann-Christine | Kivimaki, Mika | Kähönen, Mika | Mononen, Nina | Raitakari, Olli T. | Viikari, Jorma S. | Adamkova, Vera | Kiechl, Stefan | Brion, Maria | Nicolaides, Andrew N. | Paulweber, Bernhard | Haerting, Johannes | Dominiczak, Anna F. | Nyberg, Fredrik | Whincup, Peter H. | Hingorani, Aroon | Schott, Jean-Jacques | Bezzina, Connie R. | Ingelsson, Erik | Ferrucci, Luigi | Gasparini, Paolo | Wilson, James F. | Rudan, Igor | Franke, Andre | Mühleisen, Thomas W. | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Lehtimäki, Terho J. | Paterson, Andrew D. | Parsa, Afshin | Liu, Yongmei | van Duijn, Cornelia | Siscovick, David S. | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Jamshidi, Yalda | Salomaa, Veikko | Felix, Stephan B. | Sanna, Serena | Ritchie, Marylyn D. | Stricker, Bruno H. | Stefansson, Kari | Boyer, Laurie A. | Cappola, Thomas P. | Olsen, Jesper V. | Lage, Kasper | Schwartz, Peter J. | Kääb, Stefan | Chakravarti, Aravinda | Ackerman, Michael J. | Pfeufer, Arne | de Bakker, Paul I.W. | Newton-Cheh, Christopher
Nature genetics  2014;46(8):826-836.
The QT interval, an electrocardiographic measure reflecting myocardial repolarization, is a heritable trait. QT prolongation is a risk factor for ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death (SCD) and could indicate the presence of the potentially lethal Mendelian Long QT Syndrome (LQTS). Using a genome-wide association and replication study in up to 100,000 individuals we identified 35 common variant QT interval loci, that collectively explain ∼8-10% of QT variation and highlight the importance of calcium regulation in myocardial repolarization. Rare variant analysis of 6 novel QT loci in 298 unrelated LQTS probands identified coding variants not found in controls but of uncertain causality and therefore requiring validation. Several newly identified loci encode for proteins that physically interact with other recognized repolarization proteins. Our integration of common variant association, expression and orthogonal protein-protein interaction screens provides new insights into cardiac electrophysiology and identifies novel candidate genes for ventricular arrhythmias, LQTS,and SCD.
doi:10.1038/ng.3014
PMCID: PMC4124521  PMID: 24952745
genome-wide association study; QT interval; Long QT Syndrome; sudden cardiac death; myocardial repolarization; arrhythmias
2.  CEACAM1 regulates TIM–3–mediated tolerance and exhaustion 
Nature  2014;517(7534):386-390.
T-cell immunoglobulin domain and mucin domain-3 (TIM-3, also known as HAVCR2) is an activation-induced inhibitory molecule involved in tolerance and shown to induce T-cell exhaustion in chronic viral infection and cancers1–5. Under some conditions, TIM-3 expression has also been shown to be stimulatory. Considering that TIM-3, like cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) and programmed death 1 (PD-1), is being targeted for cancer immunotherapy, it is important to identify the circumstances under which TIM-3 can inhibit and activate T-cell responses. Here we show that TIM-3 is co-expressed and forms a heterodimer with carcinoembryonic antigen cell adhesion molecule 1 (CEACAM1), another well-known molecule expressed on activated T cells and involved in T-cell inhibition6–10. Biochemical, biophysical and X-ray crystallography studies show that the membrane-distal immunoglobulin-variable (IgV)-like amino-terminal domain of each is crucial to these interactions. The presence of CEACAM1 endows TIM-3 with inhibitory function. CEACAM1 facilitates the maturation and cell surface expression of TIM-3 by forming a heterodimeric interaction in cis through the highly related membrane-distal N-terminal domains of each molecule. CEACAM1 and TIM-3 also bind in trans through their N-terminal domains. Both cis and trans interactions between CEACAM1 and TIM-3 determine the tolerance-inducing function of TIM-3. In a mouse adoptive transfer colitis model, CEACAM1-deficient T cells are hyper-inflammatory with reduced cell surface expression of TIM-3 and regulatory cytokines, and this is restored by T-cell-specific CEACAM1 expression. During chronic viral infection and in a tumour environment, CEACAM1 and TIM-3 mark exhausted T cells. Co-blockade of CEACAM1 and TIM-3 leads to enhancement of anti-tumour immune responses with improved elimination of tumours in mouse colorectal cancer models. Thus, CEACAM1 serves as a heterophilic ligand for TIM-3 that is required for its ability to mediate T-cell inhibition, and this interaction has a crucial role in regulating autoimmunity and anti-tumour immunity.
doi:10.1038/nature13848
PMCID: PMC4297519  PMID: 25363763
3.  Refinement of the MHC Risk Map in a Scandinavian Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis Population 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114486.
Background
Genetic variants within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) represent the strongest genetic susceptibility factors for primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). Identifying the causal variants within this genetic complex represents a major challenge due to strong linkage disequilibrium and an overall high physical density of candidate variants. We aimed to refine the MHC association in a geographically restricted PSC patient panel.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A total of 365 PSC cases and 368 healthy controls of Scandinavian ancestry were included in the study. We incorporated data from HLA typing (HLA-A, -B, -C, -DRB3, -DRB1, -DQB1) and single nucleotide polymorphisms across the MHC (n = 18,644; genotyped and imputed) alongside previously suggested PSC risk determinants in the MHC, i.e. amino acid variation of DRβ, a MICA microsatellite polymorphism and HLA-C and HLA-B according to their ligand properties for killer immunoglobulin-like receptors. Breakdowns of the association signal by unconditional and conditional logistic regression analyses demarcated multiple PSC associated MHC haplotypes, and for eight of these classical HLA class I and II alleles represented the strongest association. A novel independent risk locus was detected near NOTCH4 in the HLA class III region, tagged by rs116212904 (odds ratio [95% confidence interval] = 2.32 [1.80, 3.00], P = 1.35×10−11).
Conclusions/Significance
Our study shows that classical HLA class I and II alleles, predominantly at HLA-B and HLA-DRB1, are the main risk factors for PSC in the MHC. In addition, the present assessments demonstrated for the first time an association near NOTCH4 in the HLA class III region.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0114486
PMCID: PMC4270690  PMID: 25521205
4.  miRNAs can be generally associated with human pathologies as exemplified for miR-144* 
BMC Medicine  2014;12(1):224.
Background
miRNA profiles are promising biomarker candidates for a manifold of human pathologies, opening new avenues for diagnosis and prognosis. Beyond studies that describe miRNAs frequently as markers for specific traits, we asked whether a general pattern for miRNAs across many diseases exists.
Methods
We evaluated genome-wide circulating profiles of 1,049 patients suffering from 19 different cancer and non-cancer diseases as well as unaffected controls. The results were validated on 319 individuals using qRT-PCR.
Results
We discovered 34 miRNAs with strong disease association. Among those, we found substantially decreased levels of hsa-miR-144* and hsa-miR-20b with AUC of 0.751 (95% CI: 0.703–0.799), respectively. We also discovered a set of miRNAs, including hsa-miR-155*, as rather stable markers, offering reasonable control miRNAs for future studies. The strong downregulation of hsa-miR-144* and the less variable pattern of hsa-miR-155* has been validated in a cohort of 319 samples in three different centers. Here, breast cancer as an additional disease phenotype not included in the screening phase has been included as the 20th trait.
Conclusions
Our study on 1,368 patients including 1,049 genome-wide miRNA profiles and 319 qRT-PCR validations further underscores the high potential of specific blood-borne miRNA patterns as molecular biomarkers. Importantly, we highlight 34 miRNAs that are generally dysregulated in human pathologies. Although these markers are not specific to certain diseases they may add to the diagnosis in combination with other markers, building a specific signature. Besides these dysregulated miRNAs, we propose a set of constant miRNAs that may be used as control markers.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12916-014-0224-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12916-014-0224-0
PMCID: PMC4268797  PMID: 25465851
Bioinformatics; Biomarker; Microarray; miRNA
5.  Meta-analysis in more than 17,900 cases of ischemic stroke reveals a novel association at 12q24.12 
Neurology  2014;83(8):678-685.
Objectives:
To perform a genome-wide association study (GWAS) using the Immunochip array in 3,420 cases of ischemic stroke and 6,821 controls, followed by a meta-analysis with data from more than 14,000 additional ischemic stroke cases.
Methods:
Using the Immunochip, we genotyped 3,420 ischemic stroke cases and 6,821 controls. After imputation we meta-analyzed the results with imputed GWAS data from 3,548 cases and 5,972 controls recruited from the ischemic stroke WTCCC2 study, and with summary statistics from a further 8,480 cases and 56,032 controls in the METASTROKE consortium. A final in silico “look-up” of 2 single nucleotide polymorphisms in 2,522 cases and 1,899 controls was performed. Associations were also examined in 1,088 cases with intracerebral hemorrhage and 1,102 controls.
Results:
In an overall analysis of 17,970 cases of ischemic stroke and 70,764 controls, we identified a novel association on chromosome 12q24 (rs10744777, odds ratio [OR] 1.10 [1.07–1.13], p = 7.12 × 10−11) with ischemic stroke. The association was with all ischemic stroke rather than an individual stroke subtype, with similar effect sizes seen in different stroke subtypes. There was no association with intracerebral hemorrhage (OR 1.03 [0.90–1.17], p = 0.695).
Conclusion:
Our results show, for the first time, a genetic risk locus associated with ischemic stroke as a whole, rather than in a subtype-specific manner. This finding was not associated with intracerebral hemorrhage.
doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000000707
PMCID: PMC4150131  PMID: 25031287
6.  Association Between Variants of PRDM1 and NDP52 and Crohn’s Disease, Based on Exome Sequencing and Functional Studies 
Gastroenterology  2013;145(2):339-347.
Background & Aims
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have identified 140 Crohn’s disease (CD) susceptibility loci. For most loci, the variants that cause disease are not known and the genes affected by these variants have not been identified. We aimed to identify variants that cause CD through detailed sequencing, genetic association, expression, and functional studies.
Methods
We sequenced whole exomes of 42 unrelated subjects with Crohn’s disease (CD) and 5 healthy individuals (controls), and then filtered single-nucleotide variants by incorporating association results from meta-analyses of CD GWASs and in silico mutation effect prediction algorithms. We then genotyped 9348 patients with CD, 2868 with ulcerative colitis, and 14,567 controls, and associated variants analyzed in functional studies using materials from patients and controls and in vitro model systems.
Results
We identified rare missense mutations in PR domain-containing1 (PRDM1) and associated these with CD. These increased proliferation of T cells and secretion of cytokines upon activation, and increased expression of the adhesion molecule L-selectin. A common CD risk allele, identified in GWASs, correlated with reduced expression of PRDM1 in ileal biopsies and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (combined P=1.6×0−8). We identified an association between CD and a common missense variant, Val248Ala, in nuclear domain 10 protein 52 (NDP52) (P=4.83×10−9). We found that this variant impairs the regulatory functions of NDP52 to inhibit NFκB activation of genes that regulate inflammation and affect stability of proteins in toll-like receptor pathways.
Conclusions
We have extended GWAS results and provide evidence that variants in PRDM1 and NDP52 determine susceptibility to CD. PRDM1 maps adjacent to a CD interval identified in GWASs and encodes a transcription factor expressed by T and B cells. NDP52 is an adaptor protein that functions in selective autophagy of intracellular bacteria and signaling molecules, supporting the role for autophagy in pathogenesis of CD.
doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2013.04.040
PMCID: PMC3753067  PMID: 23624108
inflammatory bowel disease; whole-exome sequencing; complex disease
7.  Autophagy receptor CALCOCO2/NDP52 takes center stage in Crohn disease 
Autophagy  2013;9(8):1256-1257.
To advance understanding of the complex genetics of Crohn disease (CD) we sequenced 42 whole exomes of patients with CD and five healthy control individuals, resulting in identification of a missense mutation in the autophagy receptor calcium binding and coiled-coil domain 2 (CALCOCO2/NDP52) gene. Protein domain modeling and functional studies highlight the potential role of this mutation in controlling NFKB signaling downstream of toll-like receptor (TLR) pathways. We summarize our recent findings and discuss the role of autophagy as a major modulator of proinflammatory signaling in the context of chronic inflammation.
doi:10.4161/auto.25483
PMCID: PMC3748200  PMID: 23820297
Crohn disease; autophagy; CALCOCO2; NDP52; inflammation; NF-kappaB; toll-like receptor; adaptophagy
8.  Systematic permutation testing in GWAS pathway analyses: identification of genetic networks in dilated cardiomyopathy and ulcerative colitis 
BMC Genomics  2014;15:622.
Background
Genome wide association studies (GWAS) are applied to identify genetic loci, which are associated with complex traits and human diseases. Analogous to the evolution of gene expression analyses, pathway analyses have emerged as important tools to uncover functional networks of genome-wide association data. Usually, pathway analyses combine statistical methods with a priori available biological knowledge. To determine significance thresholds for associated pathways, correction for multiple testing and over-representation permutation testing is applied.
Results
We systematically investigated the impact of three different permutation test approaches for over-representation analysis to detect false positive pathway candidates and evaluate them on genome-wide association data of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC). Our results provide evidence that the gold standard - permuting the case–control status – effectively improves specificity of GWAS pathway analysis. Although permutation of SNPs does not maintain linkage disequilibrium (LD), these permutations represent an alternative for GWAS data when case–control permutations are not possible. Gene permutations, however, did not add significantly to the specificity. Finally, we provide estimates on the required number of permutations for the investigated approaches.
Conclusions
To discover potential false positive functional pathway candidates and to support the results from standard statistical tests such as the Hypergeometric test, permutation tests of case control data should be carried out. The most reasonable alternative was case–control permutation, if this is not possible, SNP permutations may be carried out. Our study also demonstrates that significance values converge rapidly with an increasing number of permutations. By applying the described statistical framework we were able to discover axon guidance, focal adhesion and calcium signaling as important DCM-related pathways and Intestinal immune network for IgA production as most significant UC pathway.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-622
PMCID: PMC4223581  PMID: 25052024
DCM; UC; GWAS; Permutation tests; Pathway analysis
9.  Whole genome and exome sequencing of monozygotic twins discordant for Crohn’s disease 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):564.
Background
Crohn’s disease (CD) is an inflammatory bowel disease caused by genetic and environmental factors. More than 160 susceptibility loci have been identified for IBD, yet a large part of the genetic variance remains unexplained. Recent studies have demonstrated genetic differences between monozygotic twins, who were long thought to be genetically completely identical.
Results
We aimed to test if somatic mutations play a role in CD etiology by sequencing the genomes and exomes of directly affected tissue from the bowel and blood samples of one and the blood-derived exomes of two further monozygotic discordant twin pairs. Our goal was the identification of mutations present only in the affected twins, pointing to novel candidates for CD susceptibility loci. We present a thorough genetic characterization of the sequenced individuals but detected no consistent differences within the twin pairs. An estimate of the CD susceptibility based on known CD loci however hinted at a higher mutational load in all three twin pairs compared to 1,920 healthy individuals.
Conclusion
Somatic mosaicism does not seem to play a role in the discordance of monozygotic CD twins. Our study constitutes the first to perform whole genome sequencing for CD twins and therefore provides a valuable reference dataset for future studies. We present an example framework for mosaicism detection and point to the challenges in these types of analyses.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-564) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-564
PMCID: PMC4102722  PMID: 24996980
Crohn’s disease; Discordant monozygotic twins; Somatic mosaicism; Whole genome sequencing; Exome sequencing
10.  Deciphering the 8q24.21 association for glioma 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(11):2293-2302.
We have previously identified tagSNPs at 8q24.21 influencing glioma risk. We have sought to fine-map the location of the functional basis of this association using data from four genome-wide association studies, comprising a total of 4147 glioma cases and 7435 controls. To improve marker density across the 700 kb region, we imputed genotypes using 1000 Genomes Project data and high-coverage sequencing data generated on 253 individuals. Analysis revealed an imputed low-frequency SNP rs55705857 (P = 2.24 × 10−38) which was sufficient to fully capture the 8q24.21 association. Analysis by glioma subtype showed the association with rs55705857 confined to non-glioblastoma multiforme (non-GBM) tumours (P = 1.07 × 10−67). Validation of the non-GBM association was shown in three additional datasets (625 non-GBM cases, 2412 controls; P = 1.41 × 10−28). In the pooled analysis, the odds ratio for low-grade glioma associated with rs55705857 was 4.3 (P = 2.31 × 10−94). rs55705857 maps to a highly evolutionarily conserved sequence within the long non-coding RNA CCDC26 raising the possibility of direct functionality. These data provide additional insights into the aetiological basis of glioma development.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddt063
PMCID: PMC3652416  PMID: 23399484
11.  The age related markers lipofuscin and apoptosis show different genetic architecture by QTL mapping in short-lived Nothobranchius fish 
Aging (Albany NY)  2014;6(6):468-480.
Annual fish of the genus Nothobranchius show large variations in lifespan and expression of age-related phenotypes between closely related populations. We studied N. kadleci and its sister species N. furzeri GRZ strain, and found that N.kadleci is longer-lived than the N. furzeri. Lipofuscin and apoptosis measured in the liver increased with age in N. kadleci with different profiles: lipofuscin increased linearly, while apoptosis declined in the oldest animals. More lipofuscin (P < 0.001) and apoptosis (P < 0.001) was observed in N. furzeri than in N. kadleci at 16w age. Lipofuscin and apoptotic cells were then quantified in hybrids from the mating of N. furzeri to N. kadleci. F1 individuals showed heterosis for lipofuscin but additive effects for apoptosis. These two age-related phenotypes were not correlated in F2 hybrids. Quantitative trait loci analysis of 287 F2 fish using 237 markers identified two QTL accounting for 10% of lipofuscin variance (P < 0.001) with overdominance effect. Apoptotic cells revealed three significant- and two suggestive QTL explaining 19% of variance (P < 0.001), showing additive and dominance effects, and two interacting loci. Our results show that lipofuscin and apoptosis are markers of different age-dependent biological processes controlled by different genetic mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC4100809  PMID: 25093339
Nothobranchius; lifespan; lipofuscin; apoptosis; quantitative trait loci; aging
12.  GrabBlur - a framework to facilitate the secure exchange of whole-exome and -genome SNV data using VCF files 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(Suppl 4):S8.
Background
Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) of whole exomes or genomes is increasingly being used in human genetic research and diagnostics. Sharing NGS data with third parties can help physicians and researchers to identify causative or predisposing mutations for a specific sample of interest more efficiently. In many cases, however, the exchange of such data may collide with data privacy regulations. GrabBlur is a newly developed tool to aggregate and share NGS-derived single nucleotide variant (SNV) data in a public database, keeping individual samples unidentifiable. In contrast to other currently existing SNV databases, GrabBlur includes phenotypic information and contact details of the submitter of a given database entry. By means of GrabBlur human geneticists can securely and easily share SNV data from resequencing projects. GrabBlur can ease the interpretation of SNV data by offering basic annotations, genotype frequencies and in particular phenotypic information - given that this information was shared - for the SNV of interest.
Tool description
GrabBlur facilitates the combination of phenotypic and NGS data (VCF files) via a local interface or command line operations. Data submissions may include HPO (Human Phenotype Ontology) terms, other trait descriptions, NGS technology information and the identity of the submitter. Most of this information is optional and its provision at the discretion of the submitter. Upon initial intake, GrabBlur merges and aggregates all sample-specific data. If a certain SNV is rare, the sample-specific information is replaced with the submitter identity. Generally, all data in GrabBlur are highly aggregated so that they can be shared with others while ensuring maximum privacy. Thus, it is impossible to reconstruct complete exomes or genomes from the database or to re-identify single individuals. After the individual information has been sufficiently "blurred", the data can be uploaded into a publicly accessible domain where aggregated genotypes are provided alongside phenotypic information. A web interface allows querying the database and the extraction of gene-wise SNV information. If an interesting SNV is found, the interrogator can get in contact with the submitter to exchange further information on the carrier and clarify, for example, whether the latter's phenotype matches with phenotype of their own patient.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-S4-S8
PMCID: PMC4083413  PMID: 25055742
13.  Mitochondrial DNA Variants in Obesity 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e94882.
Heritability estimates for body mass index (BMI) variation are high. For mothers and their offspring higher BMI correlations have been described than for fathers. Variation(s) in the exclusively maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) might contribute to this parental effect. Thirty-two to 40 mtDNA single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were available from genome-wide association study SNP arrays (Affymetrix 6.0). For discovery, we analyzed association in a case-control (CC) sample of 1,158 extremely obese children and adolescents and 435 lean adult controls. For independent confirmation, 7,014 population-based adults were analyzed as CC sample of n = 1,697 obese cases (BMI≥30 kg/m2) and n = 2,373 normal weight and lean controls (BMI<25 kg/m2). SNPs were analyzed as single SNPs and haplogroups determined by HaploGrep. Fisher's two-sided exact test was used for association testing. Moreover, the D-loop was re-sequenced (Sanger) in 192 extremely obese children and adolescents and 192 lean adult controls. Association testing of detected variants was performed using Fisher's two-sided exact test. For discovery, nominal association with obesity was found for the frequent allele G of m.8994G/A (rs28358887, p = 0.002) located in ATP6. Haplogroup W was nominally overrepresented in the controls (p = 0.039). These findings could not be confirmed independently. For two of the 252 identified D-loop variants nominal association was detected (m.16292C/T, p = 0.007, m.16189T/C, p = 0.048). Only eight controls carried the m.16292T allele, five of whom belonged to haplogroup W that was initially enriched among these controls. m.16189T/C might create an uninterrupted poly-C tract located near a regulatory element involved in replication of mtDNA. Though follow-up of some D-loop variants still is conceivable, our hypothesis of a contribution of variation in the exclusively maternally inherited mtDNA to the observed larger correlations for BMI between mothers and their offspring could not be substantiated by the findings of the present study.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094882
PMCID: PMC4008486  PMID: 24788344
14.  Analysis of immune-related loci identifies 48 new susceptibility variants for multiple sclerosis 
Beecham, Ashley H | Patsopoulos, Nikolaos A | Xifara, Dionysia K | Davis, Mary F | Kemppinen, Anu | Cotsapas, Chris | Shahi, Tejas S | Spencer, Chris | Booth, David | Goris, An | Oturai, Annette | Saarela, Janna | Fontaine, Bertrand | Hemmer, Bernhard | Martin, Claes | Zipp, Frauke | D’alfonso, Sandra | Martinelli-Boneschi, Filippo | Taylor, Bruce | Harbo, Hanne F | Kockum, Ingrid | Hillert, Jan | Olsson, Tomas | Ban, Maria | Oksenberg, Jorge R | Hintzen, Rogier | Barcellos, Lisa F | Agliardi, Cristina | Alfredsson, Lars | Alizadeh, Mehdi | Anderson, Carl | Andrews, Robert | Søndergaard, Helle Bach | Baker, Amie | Band, Gavin | Baranzini, Sergio E | Barizzone, Nadia | Barrett, Jeffrey | Bellenguez, Céline | Bergamaschi, Laura | Bernardinelli, Luisa | Berthele, Achim | Biberacher, Viola | Binder, Thomas M C | Blackburn, Hannah | Bomfim, Izaura L | Brambilla, Paola | Broadley, Simon | Brochet, Bruno | Brundin, Lou | Buck, Dorothea | Butzkueven, Helmut | Caillier, Stacy J | Camu, William | Carpentier, Wassila | Cavalla, Paola | Celius, Elisabeth G | Coman, Irène | Comi, Giancarlo | Corrado, Lucia | Cosemans, Leentje | Cournu-Rebeix, Isabelle | Cree, Bruce A C | Cusi, Daniele | Damotte, Vincent | Defer, Gilles | Delgado, Silvia R | Deloukas, Panos | di Sapio, Alessia | Dilthey, Alexander T | Donnelly, Peter | Dubois, Bénédicte | Duddy, Martin | Edkins, Sarah | Elovaara, Irina | Esposito, Federica | Evangelou, Nikos | Fiddes, Barnaby | Field, Judith | Franke, Andre | Freeman, Colin | Frohlich, Irene Y | Galimberti, Daniela | Gieger, Christian | Gourraud, Pierre-Antoine | Graetz, Christiane | Graham, Andrew | Grummel, Verena | Guaschino, Clara | Hadjixenofontos, Athena | Hakonarson, Hakon | Halfpenny, Christopher | Hall, Gillian | Hall, Per | Hamsten, Anders | Harley, James | Harrower, Timothy | Hawkins, Clive | Hellenthal, Garrett | Hillier, Charles | Hobart, Jeremy | Hoshi, Muni | Hunt, Sarah E | Jagodic, Maja | Jelčić, Ilijas | Jochim, Angela | Kendall, Brian | Kermode, Allan | Kilpatrick, Trevor | Koivisto, Keijo | Konidari, Ioanna | Korn, Thomas | Kronsbein, Helena | Langford, Cordelia | Larsson, Malin | Lathrop, Mark | Lebrun-Frenay, Christine | Lechner-Scott, Jeannette | Lee, Michelle H | Leone, Maurizio A | Leppä, Virpi | Liberatore, Giuseppe | Lie, Benedicte A | Lill, Christina M | Lindén, Magdalena | Link, Jenny | Luessi, Felix | Lycke, Jan | Macciardi, Fabio | Männistö, Satu | Manrique, Clara P | Martin, Roland | Martinelli, Vittorio | Mason, Deborah | Mazibrada, Gordon | McCabe, Cristin | Mero, Inger-Lise | Mescheriakova, Julia | Moutsianas, Loukas | Myhr, Kjell-Morten | Nagels, Guy | Nicholas, Richard | Nilsson, Petra | Piehl, Fredrik | Pirinen, Matti | Price, Siân E | Quach, Hong | Reunanen, Mauri | Robberecht, Wim | Robertson, Neil P | Rodegher, Mariaemma | Rog, David | Salvetti, Marco | Schnetz-Boutaud, Nathalie C | Sellebjerg, Finn | Selter, Rebecca C | Schaefer, Catherine | Shaunak, Sandip | Shen, Ling | Shields, Simon | Siffrin, Volker | Slee, Mark | Sorensen, Per Soelberg | Sorosina, Melissa | Sospedra, Mireia | Spurkland, Anne | Strange, Amy | Sundqvist, Emilie | Thijs, Vincent | Thorpe, John | Ticca, Anna | Tienari, Pentti | van Duijn, Cornelia | Visser, Elizabeth M | Vucic, Steve | Westerlind, Helga | Wiley, James S | Wilkins, Alastair | Wilson, James F | Winkelmann, Juliane | Zajicek, John | Zindler, Eva | Haines, Jonathan L | Pericak-Vance, Margaret A | Ivinson, Adrian J | Stewart, Graeme | Hafler, David | Hauser, Stephen L | Compston, Alastair | McVean, Gil | De Jager, Philip | Sawcer, Stephen | McCauley, Jacob L
Nature genetics  2013;45(11):10.1038/ng.2770.
Using the ImmunoChip custom genotyping array, we analysed 14,498 multiple sclerosis subjects and 24,091 healthy controls for 161,311 autosomal variants and identified 135 potentially associated regions (p-value < 1.0 × 10-4). In a replication phase, we combined these data with previous genome-wide association study (GWAS) data from an independent 14,802 multiple sclerosis subjects and 26,703 healthy controls. In these 80,094 individuals of European ancestry we identified 48 new susceptibility variants (p-value < 5.0 × 10-8); three found after conditioning on previously identified variants. Thus, there are now 110 established multiple sclerosis risk variants in 103 discrete loci outside of the Major Histocompatibility Complex. With high resolution Bayesian fine-mapping, we identified five regions where one variant accounted for more than 50% of the posterior probability of association. This study enhances the catalogue of multiple sclerosis risk variants and illustrates the value of fine-mapping in the resolution of GWAS signals.
doi:10.1038/ng.2770
PMCID: PMC3832895  PMID: 24076602
15.  HLA variants related to primary sclerosing cholangitis influence rejection after liver transplantation 
AIM: To investigate influence of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) and killer immunoglobuline-like receptor (KIR) genotypes on risks of acute rejection (AR) after liver transplantation (LTX).
METHODS: In this retrospective study we included 143 adult donor-recipient pairs with a minimum of 6 mo follow-up after LTX for whom DNA was available from both donor and recipients. Clinical data, all early complications including episodes and severity of AR and graft/patient survival were registered. The diagnosis of AR was based on clinical, biochemical and histological criteria. All suspected episodes of AR were biopsy confirmed. Key classical HLA loci (HLA-A, HLA-B, HLA-C and HLA-DRB1) were genotyped using Sanger sequencing. 16 KIR genes were genotyped using a novel real time PCR approach which allows for determination of the diploid copy number of each KIR gene. Immunohistochemical staining for T (CD3), B (CD20) and natural killer (NK) cells (CD56 and CD57) were performed on liver biopsies from 3 different patient groups [primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), primary biliary cirrhosis and non-autoimmune liver disease], 10 in each group, with similar grade of AR.
RESULTS: Fourty-four (31%) patients were transplanted on the basis of PSC, 40% of them had AR vs 24% in the non-PSC group (P = 0.04). No significant impact of donor-recipient matching for HLA and KIR genotypes was detected. In the overall recipient population an increased risk of AR was detected for HLA-B*08 (P = 0.002, OR = 2.5; 95%CI: 1.4-4.6), HLA-C*07 (P = 0.001, OR = 2.4; 95%CI: 1.4-4.0) and HLA-DRB1*03 (P = 0.03, OR = 1.9; 95%CI: 1.0-3.3) and a decreased risk for HLA-DRB1*04 (P = 0.001, OR = 0.2; 95%CI: 0.1-0.5). For HLA-B*08, HLA-C*07 and DRB1*04 the associations remained evident in a subgroup analysis of non-PSC recipients (P = 0.04, P = 0.003 and P = 0.02, respectively). In PSC recipients corresponding P values were 0.002, 0.17 and 0.01 for HLA-B*08, HLA-C*07 and DRB1*04, respectively. A dosage effect of AR prevalence according to the PSC associated HLA alleles was also notable in the total recipient population. For HLA-B*08 the frequency of AR was 56% in HLA-B*08 homozygous recipients, 39% in heterozygous recipients and 21% in recipients lacking HLA-B*08 (P = 0.02). The same was observed for the HLA-C*07 allele with AR in 57%, 27% and 18% in recipients being homozygous, heterozygous and lacking HLA-C*07 respectively (P = 0.003). Immunohistochemical analysis showed similar infiltration of T, B and NK cells in biopsies with AR in all three groups.
CONCLUSION: We found significant associations between the PSC-associated HLA-B*08, HLA-C*07, HLA-DRB1*03 and HLA-DRB1*04 alleles and risk of AR in liver transplant recipients.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i14.3986
PMCID: PMC3983454  PMID: 24744588
Liver transplantation; Primary sclerosing cholangitis; Acute rejection; Human leukocyte antigen; Killer immunoglobulin-like receptor
16.  Investigation of Complement Component C4 Copy Number Variation in Human Longevity 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86188.
Genetic factors have been estimated to account for about 25% of the variation in an adult's life span. The complement component C4 with the isotypes C4A and C4B is an effector protein of the immune system, and differences in the overall C4 copy number or gene size (long C4L; short C4S) may influence the strength of the immune response and disease susceptibilities. Previously, an association between C4B copy number and life span was reported for Hungarians and Icelanders, where the C4B*Q0 genotype, which is defined by C4B gene deficiency, showed a decrease in frequency with age. Additionally, one of the studies indicated that a low C4B copy number might be a genetic trait that is manifested only in the presence of the environmental risk factor “smoking”. These observations prompted us to investigate the role of the C4 alleles in our large German longevity sample (∼700 cases; 94–110 years and ∼900 younger controls). No significant differences in the number of C4A, C4B and C4S were detected. Besides, the C4B*Q0 carrier state did not decrease with age, irrespective of smoking as an interacting variable. However, for C4L*Q0 a significantly different carrier frequency was observed in the cases compared with controls (cases: 5.08%; controls: 9.12%; p = 0.003). In a replication sample of 714 German cases (91–108 years) and 890 controls this result was not replicated (p = 0.14) although a similar trend of decreased C4L*Q0 carrier frequency in cases was visible (cases: 7.84%; controls: 10.00%).
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086188
PMCID: PMC3899116  PMID: 24465950
17.  High density genotyping study identifies four new susceptibility loci for atopic dermatitis 
Nature genetics  2013;45(7):808-812.
Atopic dermatitis is a common inflammatory skin disease with a strong heritable component. Pathogenetic models consider keratinocyte differentiation defects and immune alterations as scaffolds1, and recent data indicate a role for autoreactivity in at least a subgroup of patients2. With filaggrin (FLG) a major locus causing a skin barrier deficiency was identified3. To better define risk variants and identify additional susceptibility loci, we densely genotyped 2,425 German cases and 5,449 controls using the Immunochip array, followed by replication in 7,196 cases and 15,480 controls from Germany, Ireland, Japan and China. We identified 4 new susceptibility loci for atopic dermatitis and replicated previous associations. This brings the number of atopic dermatitis risk loci reported in individuals of European ancestry to 11. We estimate that these susceptibility loci together account for 14.4% of the heritability for atopic dermatitis.
doi:10.1038/ng.2642
PMCID: PMC3797441  PMID: 23727859
18.  Integration of genome-wide association studies with biological knowledge identifies six novel genes related to kidney function 
Chasman, Daniel I. | Fuchsberger, Christian | Pattaro, Cristian | Teumer, Alexander | Böger, Carsten A. | Endlich, Karlhans | Olden, Matthias | Chen, Ming-Huei | Tin, Adrienne | Taliun, Daniel | Li, Man | Gao, Xiaoyi | Gorski, Mathias | Yang, Qiong | Hundertmark, Claudia | Foster, Meredith C. | O'Seaghdha, Conall M. | Glazer, Nicole | Isaacs, Aaron | Liu, Ching-Ti | Smith, Albert V. | O'Connell, Jeffrey R. | Struchalin, Maksim | Tanaka, Toshiko | Li, Guo | Johnson, Andrew D. | Gierman, Hinco J. | Feitosa, Mary F. | Hwang, Shih-Jen | Atkinson, Elizabeth J. | Lohman, Kurt | Cornelis, Marilyn C. | Johansson, Åsa | Tönjes, Anke | Dehghan, Abbas | Lambert, Jean-Charles | Holliday, Elizabeth G. | Sorice, Rossella | Kutalik, Zoltan | Lehtimäki, Terho | Esko, Tõnu | Deshmukh, Harshal | Ulivi, Sheila | Chu, Audrey Y. | Murgia, Federico | Trompet, Stella | Imboden, Medea | Coassin, Stefan | Pistis, Giorgio | Harris, Tamara B. | Launer, Lenore J. | Aspelund, Thor | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Mitchell, Braxton D. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Schmidt, Helena | Cavalieri, Margherita | Rao, Madhumathi | Hu, Frank | Demirkan, Ayse | Oostra, Ben A. | de Andrade, Mariza | Turner, Stephen T. | Ding, Jingzhong | Andrews, Jeanette S. | Freedman, Barry I. | Giulianini, Franco | Koenig, Wolfgang | Illig, Thomas | Meisinger, Christa | Gieger, Christian | Zgaga, Lina | Zemunik, Tatijana | Boban, Mladen | Minelli, Cosetta | Wheeler, Heather E. | Igl, Wilmar | Zaboli, Ghazal | Wild, Sarah H. | Wright, Alan F. | Campbell, Harry | Ellinghaus, David | Nöthlings, Ute | Jacobs, Gunnar | Biffar, Reiner | Ernst, Florian | Homuth, Georg | Kroemer, Heyo K. | Nauck, Matthias | Stracke, Sylvia | Völker, Uwe | Völzke, Henry | Kovacs, Peter | Stumvoll, Michael | Mägi, Reedik | Hofman, Albert | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Aulchenko, Yurii S. | Polasek, Ozren | Hastie, Nick | Vitart, Veronique | Helmer, Catherine | Wang, Jie Jin | Stengel, Bénédicte | Ruggiero, Daniela | Bergmann, Sven | Kähönen, Mika | Viikari, Jorma | Nikopensius, Tiit | Province, Michael | Ketkar, Shamika | Colhoun, Helen | Doney, Alex | Robino, Antonietta | Krämer, Bernhard K. | Portas, Laura | Ford, Ian | Buckley, Brendan M. | Adam, Martin | Thun, Gian-Andri | Paulweber, Bernhard | Haun, Margot | Sala, Cinzia | Mitchell, Paul | Ciullo, Marina | Kim, Stuart K. | Vollenweider, Peter | Raitakari, Olli | Metspalu, Andres | Palmer, Colin | Gasparini, Paolo | Pirastu, Mario | Jukema, J. Wouter | Probst-Hensch, Nicole M. | Kronenberg, Florian | Toniolo, Daniela | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Coresh, Josef | Schmidt, Reinhold | Ferrucci, Luigi | Siscovick, David S. | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Kardia, Sharon L.R. | Liu, Yongmei | Curhan, Gary C. | Rudan, Igor | Gyllensten, Ulf | Wilson, James F. | Franke, Andre | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Rettig, Rainer | Prokopenko, Inga | Witteman, Jacqueline | Hayward, Caroline | Ridker, Paul M | Parsa, Afshin | Bochud, Murielle | Heid, Iris M. | Kao, W.H. Linda | Fox, Caroline S. | Köttgen, Anna
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;21(24):5329-5343.
In conducting genome-wide association studies (GWAS), analytical approaches leveraging biological information may further understanding of the pathophysiology of clinical traits. To discover novel associations with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), a measure of kidney function, we developed a strategy for integrating prior biological knowledge into the existing GWAS data for eGFR from the CKDGen Consortium. Our strategy focuses on single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) in genes that are connected by functional evidence, determined by literature mining and gene ontology (GO) hierarchies, to genes near previously validated eGFR associations. It then requires association thresholds consistent with multiple testing, and finally evaluates novel candidates by independent replication. Among the samples of European ancestry, we identified a genome-wide significant SNP in FBXL20 (P = 5.6 × 10−9) in meta-analysis of all available data, and additional SNPs at the INHBC, LRP2, PLEKHA1, SLC3A2 and SLC7A6 genes meeting multiple-testing corrected significance for replication and overall P-values of 4.5 × 10−4–2.2 × 10−7. Neither the novel PLEKHA1 nor FBXL20 associations, both further supported by association with eGFR among African Americans and with transcript abundance, would have been implicated by eGFR candidate gene approaches. LRP2, encoding the megalin receptor, was identified through connection with the previously known eGFR gene DAB2 and extends understanding of the megalin system in kidney function. These findings highlight integration of existing genome-wide association data with independent biological knowledge to uncover novel candidate eGFR associations, including candidates lacking known connections to kidney-specific pathways. The strategy may also be applicable to other clinical phenotypes, although more testing will be needed to assess its potential for discovery in general.
doi:10.1093/hmg/dds369
PMCID: PMC3607468  PMID: 22962313
19.  Dense genotyping of immune-related disease regions identifies nine new risk loci for primary sclerosing cholangitis 
Liu, Jimmy Z. | Hov, Johannes Roksund | Folseraas, Trine | Ellinghaus, Eva | Rushbrook, Simon M. | Doncheva, Nadezhda T. | Andreassen, Ole A. | Weersma, Rinse K. | Weismüller, Tobias J. | Eksteen, Bertus | Invernizzi, Pietro | Hirschfield, Gideon M. | Gotthardt, Daniel Nils | Pares, Albert | Ellinghaus, David | Shah, Tejas | Juran, Brian D. | Milkiewicz, Piotr | Rust, Christian | Schramm, Christoph | Müller, Tobias | Srivastava, Brijesh | Dalekos, Georgios | Nöthen, Markus M. | Herms, Stefan | Winkelmann, Juliane | Mitrovic, Mitja | Braun, Felix | Ponsioen, Cyriel Y. | Croucher, Peter J. P. | Sterneck, Martina | Teufel, Andreas | Mason, Andrew L. | Saarela, Janna | Leppa, Virpi | Dorfman, Ruslan | Alvaro, Domenico | Floreani, Annarosa | Onengut-Gumuscu, Suna | Rich, Stephen S. | Thompson, Wesley K. | Schork, Andrew J. | Næss, Sigrid | Thomsen, Ingo | Mayr, Gabriele | König, Inke R. | Hveem, Kristian | Cleynen, Isabelle | Gutierrez-Achury, Javier | Ricaño-Ponce, Isis | van Heel, David | Björnsson, Einar | Sandford, Richard N. | Durie, Peter R. | Melum, Espen | Vatn, Morten H | Silverberg, Mark S. | Duerr, Richard H. | Padyukov, Leonid | Brand, Stephan | Sans, Miquel | Annese, Vito | Achkar, Jean-Paul | Boberg, Kirsten Muri | Marschall, Hanns-Ulrich | Chazouillères, Olivier | Bowlus, Christopher L. | Wijmenga, Cisca | Schrumpf, Erik | Vermeire, Severine | Albrecht, Mario | Rioux, John D. | Alexander, Graeme | Bergquist, Annika | Cho, Judy | Schreiber, Stefan | Manns, Michael P. | Färkkilä, Martti | Dale, Anders M. | Chapman, Roger W. | Lazaridis, Konstantinos N. | Franke, Andre | Anderson, Carl A. | Karlsen, Tom H.
Nature genetics  2013;45(6):670-675.
doi:10.1038/ng.2616
PMCID: PMC3667736  PMID: 23603763
genetic association study; disease genetics; immunogenetics; liver
20.  Immunochip analyses identify a novel risk locus for primary biliary cirrhosis at 13q14, multiple independent associations at four established risk loci and epistasis between 1p31 and 7q32 risk variants 
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;21(23):5209-5221.
To further characterize the genetic basis of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), we genotyped 2426 PBC patients and 5731 unaffected controls from three independent cohorts using a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array (Immunochip) enriched for autoimmune disease risk loci. Meta-analysis of the genotype data sets identified a novel disease-associated locus near the TNFSF11 gene at 13q14, provided evidence for association at six additional immune-related loci not previously implicated in PBC and confirmed associations at 19 of 22 established risk loci. Results of conditional analyses also provided evidence for multiple independent association signals at four risk loci, with haplotype analyses suggesting independent SNP effects at the 2q32 and 16p13 loci, but complex haplotype driven effects at the 3q25 and 6p21 loci. By imputing classical HLA alleles from this data set, four class II alleles independently contributing to the association signal from this region were identified. Imputation of genotypes at the non-HLA loci also provided additional associations, but none with stronger effects than the genotyped variants. An epistatic interaction between the IL12RB2 risk locus at 1p31and the IRF5 risk locus at 7q32 was also identified and suggests a complementary effect of these loci in predisposing to disease. These data expand the repertoire of genes with potential roles in PBC pathogenesis that need to be explored by follow-up biological studies.
doi:10.1093/hmg/dds359
PMCID: PMC3490520  PMID: 22936693
21.  Intestinal DMBT1 Expression Is Modulated by Crohn’s Disease-Associated IL23R Variants and by a DMBT1 Variant Which Influences Binding of the Transcription Factors CREB1 and ATF-2 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e77773.
Objectives
DMBT is an antibacterial pattern recognition and scavenger receptor. In this study, we analyzed the role of DMBT1 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) regarding inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) susceptibility and examined their functional impact on transcription factor binding and downstream gene expression.
Methods
Seven SNPs in the DMBT1 gene region were analyzed in 2073 individuals including 818 Crohn’s disease (CD) patients and 972 healthy controls in two independent case-control panels. Comprehensive epistasis analyses for the known CD susceptibility genes NOD2, IL23R and IL27 were performed. The influence of IL23R variants on DMBT1 expression was analyzed. Functional analysis included siRNA transfection, quantitative PCR, western blot, electrophoretic mobility shift and luciferase assays.
Results
IL-22 induces DMBT1 protein expression in intestinal epithelial cells dependent on STAT3, ATF-2 and CREB1. IL-22 expression-modulating, CD risk-associated IL23R variants influence DMBT1 expression in CD patients and DMBT1 levels are increased in the inflamed intestinal mucosa of CD patients. Several DMBT1 SNPs were associated with CD susceptibility. SNP rs2981804 was most strongly associated with CD in the combined panel (p = 3.0×10−7, OR 1.42; 95% CI 1.24–1.63). All haplotype groups tested showed highly significant associations with CD (including omnibus P-values as low as 6.1×10−18). The most strongly CD risk-associated, non-coding DMBT1 SNP rs2981804 modifies the DNA binding sites for the transcription factors CREB1 and ATF-2 and the respective genomic region comprising rs2981804 is able to act as a transcriptional regulator in vitro. Intestinal DMBT1 expression is decreased in CD patients carrying the rs2981804 CD risk allele.
Conclusion
We identified novel associations of DMBT1 variants with CD susceptibility and discovered a novel functional role of rs2981804 in regulating DMBT1 expression. Our data suggest an important role of DMBT1 in CD pathogenesis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077773
PMCID: PMC3818382  PMID: 24223725
22.  Association of a common TLR-6 polymorphism with coronary artery disease – implications for healthy ageing? 
Background
The pro-inflammatory status of the elderly triggers most of the age-related diseases such as cancer and atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis, the leading cause world wide of morbidity and death, is an inflammatory disease influenced by life-style and genetic host factors. Stimuli such as oxLDL or microbial ligands have been proposed to trigger inflammation leading to atherosclerosis. It has recently been shown that oxLDL activates immune cells via the Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4/6 complex. Several common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the TLR system have been associated with atherosclerosis. To investigate the role of TLR-6 we analyzed the association of the TLR-6 SNP Pro249Ser with atherogenesis.
Results
Genotyping of two independent groups with CAD, as well as of healthy controls revealed a significant association of the homozygous genotype with a reduced risk for atherosclerosis (odds ratio: 0.69, 95% CI 0.51-0.95, P = 0.02). In addition, we found a trend towards an association with the risk of restenosis after transluminal coronary angioplasty (odds ratio: 0.53, 95% CI 0.24-1.16, P = 0.12). In addition, first evidence is presented that the frequency of this protective genotype increases in a healthy population with age. Taken together, our results define a role for TLR-6 and its genetic variations in modulating the inflammatory response leading to atherosclerosis.
Conclusions
These results may lead to a better risk stratification, and potentially to an improved prophylactic treatment of high-risk populations. Furthermore, the protective effect of this polymorphism may lead to an increase of this genotype in the healthy elderly and may therefore be a novel genetic marker for the well-being during aging.
doi:10.1186/1742-4933-10-43
PMCID: PMC4028875  PMID: 24498948
Coronary artery disease (CAD); Restenosis; Toll-like receptor (TLR) 6; Gene polymorphism; Innate immunity
23.  Deep Resequencing of GWAS Loci Identifies Rare Variants in CARD9, IL23R and RNF186 That Are Associated with Ulcerative Colitis 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(9):e1003723.
Genome-wide association studies and follow-up meta-analyses in Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) have recently identified 163 disease-associated loci that meet genome-wide significance for these two inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). These discoveries have already had a tremendous impact on our understanding of the genetic architecture of these diseases and have directed functional studies that have revealed some of the biological functions that are important to IBD (e.g. autophagy). Nonetheless, these loci can only explain a small proportion of disease variance (∼14% in CD and 7.5% in UC), suggesting that not only are additional loci to be found but that the known loci may contain high effect rare risk variants that have gone undetected by GWAS. To test this, we have used a targeted sequencing approach in 200 UC cases and 150 healthy controls (HC), all of French Canadian descent, to study 55 genes in regions associated with UC. We performed follow-up genotyping of 42 rare non-synonymous variants in independent case-control cohorts (totaling 14,435 UC cases and 20,204 HC). Our results confirmed significant association to rare non-synonymous coding variants in both IL23R and CARD9, previously identified from sequencing of CD loci, as well as identified a novel association in RNF186. With the exception of CARD9 (OR = 0.39), the rare non-synonymous variants identified were of moderate effect (OR = 1.49 for RNF186 and OR = 0.79 for IL23R). RNF186 encodes a protein with a RING domain having predicted E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase activity and two transmembrane domains. Importantly, the disease-coding variant is located in the ubiquitin ligase domain. Finally, our results suggest that rare variants in genes identified by genome-wide association in UC are unlikely to contribute significantly to the overall variance for the disease. Rather, these are expected to help focus functional studies of the corresponding disease loci.
Author Summary
Genetic studies of common diseases have seen tremendous progress in the last half-decade primarily due to recent technologies that enable a systematic examination of genetic markers across the entire genome in large numbers of patients and healthy controls. The studies, while identifying genomic regions that influence a person's risk for developing disease, often do not pinpoint the actual gene or gene variants that account for this risk (called a causal gene/variant). A prime example of this can be seen with the 163 genetic risk factors that have recently been associated with the chronic inflammatory bowel diseases known as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. For less than a handful of these 163 is the causative change in the genetic code known. The current study used an approach to directly look at the genetic code for a subset of these and identified a causative change in the genetic code for eight risk factors for ulcerative colitis. This finding is particularly important because it directs biological studies to understand the mechanisms that lead to this chronic life-long inflammatory disease.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003723
PMCID: PMC3772057  PMID: 24068945
24.  A genome-wide association study of atopic dermatitis identifies loci with overlapping effects on asthma and psoriasis 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;22(23):4841-4856.
Atopic dermatitis (AD) is the most common dermatological disease of childhood. Many children with AD have asthma and AD shares regions of genetic linkage with psoriasis, another chronic inflammatory skin disease. We present here a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of childhood-onset AD in 1563 European cases with known asthma status and 4054 European controls. Using Illumina genotyping followed by imputation, we generated 268 034 consensus genotypes and in excess of 2 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) for analysis. Association signals were assessed for replication in a second panel of 2286 European cases and 3160 European controls. Four loci achieved genome-wide significance for AD and replicated consistently across all cohorts. These included the epidermal differentiation complex (EDC) on chromosome 1, the genomic region proximal to LRRC32 on chromosome 11, the RAD50/IL13 locus on chromosome 5 and the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) on chromosome 6; reflecting action of classical HLA alleles. We observed variation in the contribution towards co-morbid asthma for these regions of association. We further explored the genetic relationship between AD, asthma and psoriasis by examining previously identified susceptibility SNPs for these diseases. We found considerable overlap between AD and psoriasis together with variable coincidence between allergic rhinitis (AR) and asthma. Our results indicate that the pathogenesis of AD incorporates immune and epidermal barrier defects with combinations of specific and overlapping effects at individual loci.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddt317
PMCID: PMC3820131  PMID: 23886662
25.  1000 Genomes-based imputation identifies novel and refined associations for the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium phase 1 Data 
We hypothesize that imputation based on data from the 1000 Genomes Project can identify novel association signals on a genome-wide scale due to the dense marker map and the large number of haplotypes. To test the hypothesis, the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium (WTCCC) Phase I genotype data were imputed using 1000 genomes as reference (20100804 EUR), and seven case/control association studies were performed using imputed dosages. We observed two ‘missed' disease-associated variants that were undetectable by the original WTCCC analysis, but were reported by later studies after the 2007 WTCCC publication. One is within the IL2RA gene for association with type 1 diabetes and the other in proximity with the CDKN2B gene for association with type 2 diabetes. We also identified two refined associations. One is SNP rs11209026 in exon 9 of IL23R for association with Crohn's disease, which is predicted to be probably damaging by PolyPhen2. The other refined variant is in the CUX2 gene region for association with type 1 diabetes, where the newly identified top SNP rs1265564 has an association P-value of 1.68 × 10−16. The new lead SNP for the two refined loci provides a more plausible explanation for the disease association. We demonstrated that 1000 Genomes-based imputation could indeed identify both novel (in our case, ‘missed' because they were detected and replicated by studies after 2007) and refined signals. We anticipate the findings derived from this study to provide timely information when individual groups and consortia are beginning to engage in 1000 genomes-based imputation.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2012.3
PMCID: PMC3376268  PMID: 22293688
genome-wide association study; the 1000 Genomes project; imputation

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