Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a complex and heritable eating disorder characterized by dangerously low body weight. Neither candidate gene studies nor an initial genome wide association study (GWAS) have yielded significant and replicated results. We performed a GWAS in 2,907 cases with AN from 14 countries (15 sites) and 14,860 ancestrally matched controls as part of the Genetic Consortium for AN (GCAN) and the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 3 (WTCCC3). Individual association analyses were conducted in each stratum and meta-analyzed across all 15 discovery datasets. Seventy-six (72 independent) SNPs were taken forward for in silico (two datasets) or de novo (13 datasets) replication genotyping in 2,677 independent AN cases and 8,629 European ancestry controls along with 458 AN cases and 421 controls from Japan. The final global meta-analysis across discovery and replication datasets comprised 5,551 AN cases and 21,080 controls. AN subtype analyses (1,606 AN restricting; 1,445 AN binge-purge) were performed. No findings reached genome-wide significance. Two intronic variants were suggestively associated: rs9839776 (P=3.01×10-7) in SOX2OT and rs17030795 (P=5.84×10-6) in PPP3CA. Two additional signals were specific to Europeans: rs1523921 (P=5.76×10-6) between CUL3 and FAM124B and rs1886797 (P=8.05×10-6) near SPATA13. Comparing discovery to replication results, 76% of the effects were in the same direction, an observation highly unlikely to be due to chance (P=4×10-6), strongly suggesting that true findings exist but that our sample, the largest yet reported, was underpowered for their detection. The accrual of large genotyped AN case-control samples should be an immediate priority for the field.
anorexia nervosa; eating disorders; GWAS; genome-wide association study; body mass index; metabolic
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.
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).
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.
Identification of genes contributing to alcohol dependence will improve our understanding of the mechanisms underlying this disorder.
To identify susceptibility genes for alcohol dependence through a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and follow-up study in a population of German male inpatients with an early age at onset.
The GWAS included 487 male inpatients with DSM-IV alcohol dependence with an age at onset below 28 years and 1,358 population based control individuals. The follow-up study included 1,024 male inpatients and 996 age-matched male controls. All subjects were of German descent. The GWAS tested 524,396 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). All SNPs with p<10-4 were subjected to the follow-up study. In addition, nominally significant SNPs from those genes that had also shown expression changes in rat brains after chronic alcohol consumption were selected for the follow-up step.
The GWAS produced 121 SNPs with nominal p<10-4. These, together with 19 additional SNPs from homologs of rat genes showing differential expression, were genotyped in the follow-up sample. Fifteen SNPs showed significant association with the same allele as in the GWAS. In the combined analysis, two closely linked intergenic SNPs met genome-wide significance (rs7590720 p=9.72×10-9; rs1344694 p=1.69×10-8). They are located on chromosome 2q35, a region which has been implicated in linkage studies for alcohol phenotypes. Nine SNPs were located in genes, including CDH13 and ADH1C genes which have been reported to be associated with alcohol dependence.
This is the first GWAS and follow-up study to identify a genome-wide significant association in alcohol dependence. Further independent studies are required to confirm these findings.
In nonrandomized trials, neoadjuvant treatment was reported to prolong survival in patients with pancreatic cancer. As neoadjuvant chemoradiation is established for the treatment of rectal cancer we examined the value of neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy in pancreatic cancer in a randomized phase II trial. Radiological staging defining resectability was basic information prior to randomization in contrast to adjuvant therapy trials resting on pathological staging.
Patients and methods
Patients with resectable adenocarcinoma of the pancreatic head were randomized to primary surgery (Arm A) or neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy followed by surgery (Arm B), which was followed by adjuvant chemotherapy in both arms. A total of 254 patients were required to detect a 4.33-month improvement in median overall survival (mOS).
The trial was stopped after 73 patients; 66 patients were eligible for analysis. Twenty nine of 33 allocated patients received chemoradiotherapy. Radiotherapy was completed in all patients. Chemotherapy was changed in 3 patients due to toxicity. Tumor resection was performed in 23 vs. 19 patients (A vs. B). The R0 resection rate was 48 % (A) and 52 % (B, P = 0.81) and (y)pN0 was 30 % (A) vs. 39 % (B, P = 0.44), respectively. Postoperative complications were comparable in both groups. mOS was 14.4 vs. 17.4 months (A vs. B; intention-to-treat analysis; P = 0.96). After tumor resection, mOS was 18.9 vs. 25.0 months (A vs. B; P = 0.79).
This worldwide first randomized trial for neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy in pancreatic cancer showed that neoadjuvant chemoradiation is safe with respect to toxicity, perioperative morbidity, and mortality. Nevertheless, the trial was terminated early due to slow recruiting and the results were not significant. ISRCTN78805636; NCT00335543.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi: 10.1007/s00066-014-0737-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Adenocarcinoma; Chemoradiation; Pancreas; Surgical procedures; operative; Survival; Adenokarzinom; Radiochemotherapie; Pankreas; Operative chirurgische Verfahren; Überleben
Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) represent the sixth largest group among all human malignancies. However, the exact molecular mechanisms inducing the genesis and the progression of metastasis in these tumors are poorly understood. The identification of molecular alterations involved in metastasis of HNSCC might influence the value of clinical diagnostics, impact therapy strategies and finally improve the prognosis of the patients. The purpose of this study was to identify clinically relevant alterations at the transcriptional and translational levels, when comparing metastatic (N+) and non-metastatic (N0) primary HNSCC. Three transcripts HERPUD1, SLPI and RAD51 were selected for further validation based on their association with carcinogenesis and metastasis. Quantitative real-time-PCR was performed to determine the mRNA expression levels. For subsequent confirmation of the results, immunohistochemistry was performed applying a monoclonal anti-SLPI antibody on 121 HNSCC tumor specimens (N0, n=40; N+, n=81). In metastatic primary cancer, SLPI mRNA showed 5.9-fold lower expression in comparison with non-metastatic primary cancer (p=0.0092). Immunohistochemical staining revealed a fold change of −1.79 between the N+ and the N0 group (p=0.0002). The results presented here clearly indicate the repression of SLPI, measurable on both, mRNA and protein levels in metastatic primary HNSCC as compared to non-metastatic HNSCC. Therefore, it can be assumed that SLPI might have a substantial protective effect on the metastasis process of HNSCC.
secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor; metastases; antileukoprotease; head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
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.
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.
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.
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.
inflammatory bowel disease; whole-exome sequencing; complex disease
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.
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.
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.
Crohn’s disease; Discordant monozygotic twins; Somatic mosaicism; Whole genome sequencing; Exome sequencing
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.
To re-examine the correlation between mtDNA variability and longevity, we examined mtDNAs from samples obtained from over 2200 ultranonagenarians (and an equal number of controls) collected within the framework of the GEHA EU project. The samples were categorized by high-resolution classification, while about 1300 mtDNA molecules (650 ultranonagenarians and an equal number of controls) were completely sequenced. Sequences, unlike standard haplogroup analysis, made possible to evaluate for the first time the cumulative effects of specific, concomitant mtDNA mutations, including those that per se have a low, or very low, impact. In particular, the analysis of the mutations occurring in different OXPHOS complex showed a complex scenario with a different mutation burden in 90+ subjects with respect to controls. These findings suggested that mutations in subunits of the OXPHOS complex I had a beneficial effect on longevity, while the simultaneous presence of mutations in complex I and III (which also occurs in J subhaplogroups involved in LHON) and in complex I and V seemed to be detrimental, likely explaining previous contradictory results. On the whole, our study, which goes beyond haplogroup analysis, suggests that mitochondrial DNA variation does affect human longevity, but its effect is heavily influenced by the interaction between mutations concomitantly occurring on different mtDNA genes.
genetics of longevity; longevity; mitochondrial DNA; mtDNA sequencing; oxidative phosphorylation
The etiology of Parkinson disease (PD) is complex and multifactorial, with hereditary and environmental factors contributing. Monogenic forms have provided molecular clues to disease mechanisms but genetic modifiers of idiopathic PD are still to be determined.
We carried out whole-genome expression profiling of isolated human substantia nigra (SN) neurons from patients with PD vs. controls followed by association analysis of tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in differentially regulated genes. Association was investigated in a German PD sample and confirmed in Italian and British cohorts.
We identified four differentially expressed genes located in PD candidate pathways, ie, MTND2 (mitochondrial, p = 7.14 × 10−7), PDXK (vitamin B6/dopamine metabolism, p = 3.27 × 10−6), SRGAP3 (axon guidance, p = 5.65 × 10−6), and TRAPPC4 (vesicle transport, p = 5.81 × 10−6). We identified a DNA variant (rs2010795) in PDXK associated with an increased risk of PD in the German cohort (p = 0.00032). This association was confirmed in the British (p = 0.028) and Italian (p = 0.0025) cohorts individually and reached a combined value of p = 1.2 × 10−7 (odds ratio [OR], 1.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.18–1.44).
We provide an example of how microgenomic genome-wide expression studies in combination with association analysis can aid to identify genetic modifiers in neurodegenerative disorders. The detection of a genetic variant in PDXK, together with evidence accumulating from clinical studies, emphasize the impact of vitamin B6 status and metabolism on disease risk and therapy in PD.
Autophagy related 16-like 1 (ATG16L1) as a genetic risk factor has exposed the critical role of autophagy in Crohn’s disease (CD)1. Homozygosity for the highly prevalent ATG16L1 risk allele, or murine hypomorphic (HM) activity causes Paneth cell dysfunction2,3. As Atg16l1HM mice do not develop spontaneous intestinal inflammation, the mechanism(s) by which ATG16L1 contributes to disease remains obscure. Deletion of the unfolded protein response (UPR) transcription factor X-box binding protein-1 (Xbp1) in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs), whose human orthologue harbors rare inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) risk variants, results in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, Paneth cell impairment and spontaneous enteritis4. Unresolved ER stress is a common feature of IBD epithelium4,5, and several genetic risk factors of CD affect Paneth cells2,4,6-9. Here we show that impairment in either UPR (Xbp1ΔIEC) or autophagy function (Atg16l1ΔIEC or Atg7ΔIEC) in IECs results in each other’s compensatory engagement, and severe spontaneous CD-like transmural ileitis if both mechanisms are compromised. Xbp1ΔIEC mice exhibit autophagosome formation in hypomorphic Paneth cells, which is linked to ER stress via protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK), elongation initiation factor 2α (eIF2α) and activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4). Ileitis is dependent on commensal microbiota and derives from increased IEC death, inositol requiring enzyme 1α (IRE1α)-regulated NFκB activation and tumor necrosis factor signaling which are synergistically increased when autophagy is deficient. ATG16L1 restrains IRE1α activity and augmentation of autophagy in IECs ameliorates ER stress-induced intestinal inflammation and eases NFκB overactivation and IEC death. ER stress, autophagy induction and spontaneous ileitis emerge from Paneth cell-specific deletion of Xbp1. Genetically and environmentally controlled UPR function within Paneth cells may therefore set the threshold for the development of intestinal inflammation upon hypomorphic ATG16L1 function and implicate ileal CD as a specific disorder of Paneth cells.
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.
In addition to APOE and FOXO3, AKT1 has recently been suggested as a third consistent longevity gene, with variants in AKT1 found to be associated with human lifespan in two previous studies. Here, we evaluated AKT1 as a longevity-associated gene across populations by attempting to replicate the previously identified variant rs3803304 as well as by analyzing six additional AKT1 single-nucleotide polymorphisms, thus capturing more of the common variation in the gene. The study population was 2996 long-lived individuals (nonagenarians and centenarians) and 1840 younger controls of Danish and German ancestry. None of the seven SNPs tested were significantly associated with longevity in either a case–control or a longitudinal setting, although a supportive nominal indication of a disadvantageous effect of rs3803304 was found in a restricted group of Danish centenarian men. Overall, our results do not support AKT1 as a universal longevity-associated gene.
human longevity; AKT1; association
Inflammation and metabolism have been shown to be evolutionary linked and increasing evidence exists that pro-inflammatory factors are involved in the pathogenesis of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Until now, most data suggest that within adipose tissue these factors are secreted by cells of the innate immune system, e. g. macrophages. In the present study we demonstrate that B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) is increased in human obesity. In contrast to several pro-inflammatory factors, we found the source of BLyS in human adipose tissue to be the adipocytes rather than immune cells. In grade 3 obese human subjects, expression of BLyS in vivo in adipose tissue is significantly increased (p<0.001). Furthermore, BLyS serum levels are elevated in grade 3 human obesity (862.5+222.0 pg/ml vs. 543.7+60.7 pg/ml in lean controls, p<0.001) and are positively correlated to the BMI (r = 0.43, p<0.0002). In the present study, bariatric surgery significantly altered serum BLyS concentrations. In contrast, weight loss due to a very-low-calorie-formula-diet (800 kcal/d) had no such effect. To examine metabolic activity of BLyS, in a translational research approach, insulin sensitivity was measured in human subjects in vivo before and after treatment with the human recombinant anti-BLyS antibody belimumab. Since BLyS is known to promote B-cell proliferation and immunoglobulin secretion, the present data suggest that adipocytes of grade 3 obese human subjects are able to activate the adaptive immune system, suggesting that in metabolic inflammation in humans both, innate and adaptive immunity, are of pathophysiological relevance.
Approaches exploiting extremes of the trait distribution may reveal novel loci for common traits, but it is unknown whether such loci are generalizable to the general population. In a genome-wide search for loci associated with upper vs. lower 5th percentiles of body mass index, height and waist-hip ratio, as well as clinical classes of obesity including up to 263,407 European individuals, we identified four new loci (IGFBP4, H6PD, RSRC1, PPP2R2A) influencing height detected in the tails and seven new loci (HNF4G, RPTOR, GNAT2, MRPS33P4, ADCY9, HS6ST3, ZZZ3) for clinical classes of obesity. Further, we show that there is large overlap in terms of genetic structure and distribution of variants between traits based on extremes and the general population and little etiologic heterogeneity between obesity subgroups.
In this study, we investigated 102 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) covering the common genetic variation in 16 genes recurrently regarded as candidates for human longevity: APOE; ACE; CETP; HFE; IL6; IL6R; MTHFR; TGFB1; APOA4; APOC3; SIRTs 1, 3, 6; and HSPAs 1A, 1L, 14. In a case–control study of 1,089 oldest-old (ages 92–93) and 736 middle-aged Danes, the minor allele frequency (MAF) of rs769449 (APOE) was significantly decreased in the oldest-old, while the MAF of rs9923854 (CETP) was significantly enriched. These effects were supported when investigating 1,613 oldest-old (ages 95–110) and 1,104 middle-aged Germans. rs769449 was in modest linkage equilibrium (R2 = 0.55) with rs429358 of the APOE-ε4 haplotype and adjusting for rs429358 eliminated the association of rs769449, indicating that the association likely reflects the well-known effect of rs429358. Gene-based analysis confirmed the effects of variation in APOE and CETP and furthermore pointed to HSPA14 as a longevity gene. In a longitudinal study with 11 years of follow-up on survival in the oldest-old Danes, only one SNP, rs2069827 (IL6), was borderline significantly associated with survival from age 92 (P-corrected = 0.064). This advantageous effect of the minor allele was supported when investigating a Dutch longitudinal cohort (N = 563) of oldest-old (age 85+). Since rs2069827 was located in a putative transcription factor binding site, quantitative RNA expression studies were conducted. However, no difference in IL6 expression was observed between rs2069827 genotype groups. In conclusion, we here support and expand the evidence suggesting that genetic variation in APOE, CETP, and IL6, and possible HSPA14, is associated with human longevity.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11357-011-9373-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Human longevity; Candidate gene association study; Case–control data; Longitudinal data
Clear evidence exists for heritability of human longevity, and much interest is focused on identifying genes associated with longer lives. To identify such longevity alleles, we performed the largest genome-wide linkage scan thus far reported. Linkage analyses included 2118 nonagenarian Caucasian sibling pairs that have been enrolled in fifteen study centers of eleven European countries as part of the Genetics of Healthy Ageing (GEHA) project. In the joint linkage analyses we observed four regions that show linkage with longevity; chromosome 14q11.2 (LOD=3.47), chromosome 17q12-q22 (LOD=2.95), chromosome 19p13.3-p13.11 (LOD=3.76) and chromosome 19q13.11-q13.32 (LOD=3.57). To fine map these regions linked to longevity, we performed association analysis using GWAS data in a subgroup of 1,228 unrelated nonagenarian and 1,907 geographically matched controls. Using a fixed effect meta-analysis approach, rs4420638 at the TOMM40/APOE/APOC1 gene locus showed significant association with longevity (p-value=9.6 × 10−8). By combined modeling of linkage and association we showed that association of longevity with APOEε4 and APOEε2 alleles explain the linkage at 19q13.11-q13.32 with p-value=0.02 and p-value=1.0 × 10−5, respectively. In the largest linkage scan thus far performed for human familial longevity, we confirm that the APOE locus is a longevity gene and that additional longevity loci may be identified at 14q11.2, 17q12-q22 and 19p13.3-p13.11. Since the latter linkage results are not explained by common variants, we suggest that rare variants play an important role in human familial longevity.
Human familial longevity; genome-wide linkage analysis; APOE gene; association analysis; nonagenarian sibling pairs
The genetic contribution to the variation in human lifespan is ∼25%. Despite the large number of identified disease-susceptibility loci, it is not known which loci influence population mortality. We performed a genome-wide association meta-analysis of 7729 long-lived individuals of European descent (≥85 years) and 16 121 younger controls (<65 years) followed by replication in an additional set of 13 060 long-lived individuals and 61 156 controls. In addition, we performed a subset analysis in cases aged ≥90 years. We observed genome-wide significant association with longevity, as reflected by survival to ages beyond 90 years, at a novel locus, rs2149954, on chromosome 5q33.3 (OR = 1.10, P = 1.74 × 10−8). We also confirmed association of rs4420638 on chromosome 19q13.32 (OR = 0.72, P = 3.40 × 10−36), representing the TOMM40/APOE/APOC1 locus. In a prospective meta-analysis (n = 34 103), the minor allele of rs2149954 (T) on chromosome 5q33.3 associates with increased survival (HR = 0.95, P = 0.003). This allele has previously been reported to associate with low blood pressure in middle age. Interestingly, the minor allele (T) associates with decreased cardiovascular mortality risk, independent of blood pressure. We report on the first GWAS-identified longevity locus on chromosome 5q33.3 influencing survival in the general European population. The minor allele of this locus associates with low blood pressure in middle age, although the contribution of this allele to survival may be less dependent on blood pressure. Hence, the pleiotropic mechanisms by which this intragenic variation contributes to lifespan regulation have to be elucidated.
Genome sequencing projects are discovering millions of genetic variants in humans, and interpretation of their functional effects is essential for understanding the genetic basis of variation in human traits. Here we report sequencing and deep analysis of mRNA and miRNA from lymphoblastoid cell lines of 462 individuals from the 1000 Genomes Project – the first uniformly processed RNA-seq data from multiple human populations with high-quality genome sequences. We discovered extremely widespread genetic variation affecting regulation of the majority of genes, with transcript structure and expression level variation being equally common but genetically largely independent. Our characterization of causal regulatory variation sheds light on cellular mechanisms of regulatory and loss-of-function variation, and allowed us to infer putative causal variants for dozens of disease-associated loci. Altogether, this study provides a deep understanding of the cellular mechanisms of transcriptome variation and of the landscape of functional variants in the human genome.
Clostridium difficile infections are an emerging health problem in the modern hospital environment. Severe alterations of the gut microbiome with loss of resistance to colonization against C. difficile are thought to be the major trigger, but there is no clear concept of how C. difficile infection evolves and which microbiological factors are involved. We sequenced 16S rRNA amplicons generated from DNA and RNA/cDNA of fecal samples from three groups of individuals by FLX technology: (i) healthy controls (no antibiotic therapy); (ii) individuals receiving antibiotic therapy (Ampicillin/Sulbactam, cephalosporins, and fluoroquinolones with subsequent development of C. difficile infection or (iii) individuals receiving antibiotic therapy without C. difficile infection. We compared the effects of the three different antibiotic classes on the intestinal microbiome and the effects of alterations of the gut microbiome on C. difficile infection at the DNA (total microbiota) and rRNA (potentially active) levels. A comparison of antibiotic classes showed significant differences at DNA level, but not at RNA level. Among individuals that developed or did not develop a C. difficile infection under antibiotics we found no significant differences. We identified single species that were up- or down regulated in individuals receiving antibiotics who developed the infection compared to non-infected individuals. We found no significant differences in the global composition of the transcriptionally active gut microbiome associated with C. difficile infections. We suggest that up- and down regulation of specific bacterial species may be involved in colonization resistance against C. difficile providing a potential therapeutic approach through specific manipulation of the intestinal microbiome.
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) result from environmental and genetic factors and are characterized by an imbalanced immune response in the gut and deregulated activation of the transcription factor NF-κB. Addressing the potential role of gly96/iex-1 in the regulation of NF-κB in IBD, we used the dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) colitis model in mice in which the gly96/iex-1 gene had been deleted.
C57BL/6 mice of gly96/iex-1–/– or gly96/iex-1+/+ genotype were treated continuously with 4% DSS (5 days) and repeatedly with 2% DSS (28 days) for inducing acute and chronic colitis, respectively. In addition to clinical and histological exploration, colon organ culture and bone marrow-derived cells (BMCs) were analyzed for chemo/cytokine expression and NF-κB activation.
Compared to wildtype littermates, gly96/iex-1–/– mice exhibited an aggravated phenotype of both acute and chronic colitis, along with a greater loss of body weight and colon length. Colonic endoscopy revealed a higher degree of hyperemia, edema, and bleeding in gly96/iex-1–/– mice, and immunohistochemistry detected massive mucosal infiltration of leukocytes and marked histological changes. The expression of proinflammatory chemoand cytokines was higher in the colon of DSS-treated gly96/iex-1–/– mice, and the NF-κB activation was enhanced particularly in the distal colon. In cultured BMCs from gly96/iex-1–/– mice, Pam3Cys4 treatment induced expression of proinflammatory medi ators to a higher degree than in gly96/iex-1+/+ BMCs, along with greater NF-κB activation.
Based on the observation that genetic ablation of gly96/iex-1 triggers intestinal inflammation in mice, we demonstrate for the first time that gly96/iex-1 exerts strong antiinflammatory activity via its NF-κB-counterregulatory effect.
intestinal inflammation; signal transduction; cytokines; feedback regulation
Our study demonstrates that the genetic investigation of forkhead box O3A gene
(FOXO3A), a validated human longevity gene, is greatly hampered by the fact
that its exonic regions have 99% sequence homology with the FOXO3B
pseudogene. If unaccounted for, this high degree of homology can cause serious genotyping
or sequencing errors. Here, we present an experimental set-up that allows reliable data
generation for the highly homologous regions and that can be used for the evaluation of
assay specificity. Using this design, we exemplarily showed FOXO3A-specific
results for two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (rs4945816 and rs4946936) that are
significantly associated with longevity in our centenarian-control sample
(Peach=0.0008). Because both SNPs are located in the 3′
untranslated region of FOXO3A, they could be of functional relevance for the
longevity phenotype. Our experimental set-up can be used for reliable and reproducible
data generation for further sequencing and genotyping studies of FOXO3A with the
aim of discovering new SNPs of functional relevance.
centenarians; human longevity; aging; FOXO3A; FOXO3B
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%).
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.