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1.  Novel TCAP Mutation c.32C>A Causing Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy 2G 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102763.
TCAP encoded telethonin is a 19 kDa protein, which plays an important role in anchoring titin in Z disc of the sarcomere, and is known to cause LGMD2G, a rare muscle disorder characterised by proximal and distal lower limb weakness, calf hypertrophy and loss of ambulation. A total of 300 individuals with ARLGMD were recruited for this study. Among these we identified 8 clinically well characterised LGMD2G cases from 7 unrelated Dravidian families. Clinical examination revealed predominantly proximo - distal form of weakness, scapular winging, muscle atrophy, calf hypertrophy and foot drop, immunoblot showed either complete absence or severe reduction of telethonin. Genetic analysis revealed a novel nonsense homozygous mutation c.32C>A, p.(Ser11*) in three patients of a consanguineous family and an 8 bp homozygous duplication c.26_33dupAGGTGTCG, p.(Arg12fs31*) in another patient. Both mutations possibly lead to truncated protein or nonsense mediated decay. We could not find any functionally significant TCAP mutation in the remaining 6 samples, except for two other polymorphisms, c.453A>C, p.( = ) and c.-178G>T, which were found in cases and controls. This is the first report from India to demonstrate TCAP association with LGMD2G.
PMCID: PMC4108395  PMID: 25055047
2.  A Novel Arginine to Tryptophan (R144W) Mutation in Troponin T (cTnT) Gene in an Indian Multigenerational Family with Dilated Cardiomyopathy (FDCM) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101451.
Cardiomyopathy is a major cause of heart failure and sudden cardiac death; several mutations in sarcomeric protein genes have been associated with this disease. Our aim in the present study is to investigate the genetic variations in Troponin T (cTnT) gene and its association with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in south-Indian patients. Analyses of all the exons and exon-intron boundaries of cTnT in 147 DCM and in 207 healthy controls had revealed a total of 15 SNPs and a 5 bp INDEL; of which, polymorphic SNPs were compared with the HapMap population data. Interestingly, a novel R144W mutation, that substitutes polar-neutral tryptophan for a highly conserved basic arginine in cTnT, altering the charge drastically, was identified in a DCM, with a family history of sudden-cardiac death (SCD). This mutation was found within the tropomyosin (TPM1) binding domain, and was evolutionarily conserved across species, therefore it is expected to have a significant impact on the structure and function of the protein. Family studies had revealed that the R144W is co-segregating with disease in the family as an autosomal dominant trait, but it was completely absent in 207 healthy controls and in 162 previously studied HCM patients. Further screening of the proband and three of his family members (positive for R144W mutant) with eight other genes β-MYH7, MYBPC3, TPM1, TNNI3, TTN, ACTC, MYL2 and MYL3, did not reveal any disease causing mutation, proposing the absence of compound heterozygosity. Therefore, we strongly suggest that the novel R144W unique/private mutant identified in this study is associated with FDCM. This is furthermore signifying the unique genetic architecture of Indian population.
PMCID: PMC4081629  PMID: 24992688
5.  Strong Impact of TGF-β1 Gene Polymorphisms on Breast Cancer Risk in Indian Women: A Case-Control and Population-Based Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75979.
TGF-β1 is a multi-functional cytokine that plays an important role in breast carcinogenesis. Critical role of TGF-β1 signaling in breast cancer progression is well documented. Some TGF-β1 polymorphisms influence its expression; however, their impact on breast cancer risk is not clear.
We analyzed 1222 samples in a candidate gene-based genetic association study on two distantly located and ethnically divergent case-control groups of Indian women, followed by a population-based genetic epidemiology study analyzing these polymorphisms in other Indian populations. The c.29C>T (Pro10Leu, rs1982073 or rs1800470) and c.74G>C (Arg25Pro, rs1800471) polymorphisms in the TGF-β1 gene were analyzed using direct DNA sequencing, and peripheral level of TGF-β1 were measured by ELISA.
c.29C>T substitution increased breast cancer risk, irrespective of ethnicity and menopausal status. On the other hand, c.74G>C substitution reduced breast cancer risk significantly in the north Indian group (p = 0.0005) and only in the pre-menopausal women. The protective effect of c.74G>C polymorphism may be ethnicity-specific, as no association was seen in south Indian group. The polymorphic status of c.29C>T was comparable among Indo-Europeans, Dravidians, and Tibeto-Burmans. Interestingly, we found that Tibeto-Burmans lack polymorphism at c.74G>C locus as true for the Chinese populations. However, the Brahmins of Nepal (Indo-Europeans) showed polymorphism in 2.08% of alleles. Mean TGF-β1 was significantly elevated in patients in comparison to controls (p<0.001).
c.29C>T and c.74G>C polymorphisms in the TGF-β1 gene significantly affect breast cancer risk, which correlates with elevated TGF-β1 level in the patients. The c.29C>T locus is polymorphic across ethnically different populations, but c.74G>C locus is monomorphic in Tibeto-Burmans and polymorphic in other Indian populations.
PMCID: PMC3798290  PMID: 24146803
6.  Genetic Structure of Tibeto-Burman Populations of Bangladesh: Evaluating the Gene Flow along the Sides of Bay-of-Bengal 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75064.
Human settlement and migrations along sides of Bay-of-Bengal have played a vital role in shaping the genetic landscape of Bangladesh, Eastern India and Southeast Asia. Bangladesh and Northeast India form the vital land bridge between the South and Southeast Asia. To reconstruct the population history of this region and to see whether this diverse region geographically acted as a corridor or barrier for human interaction between South Asia and Southeast Asia, we, for the first time analyzed high resolution uniparental (mtDNA and Y chromosome) and biparental autosomal genetic markers among aboriginal Bangladesh tribes currently speaking Tibeto-Burman language. All the three studied populations; Chakma, Marma and Tripura from Bangladesh showed strikingly high homogeneity among themselves and strong affinities to Northeast Indian Tibeto-Burman groups. However, they show substantially higher molecular diversity than Northeast Indian populations. Unlike Austroasiatic (Munda) speakers of India, we observed equal role of both males and females in shaping the Tibeto-Burman expansion in Southern Asia. Moreover, it is noteworthy that in admixture proportion, TB populations of Bangladesh carry substantially higher mainland Indian ancestry component than Northeast Indian Tibeto-Burmans. Largely similar expansion ages of two major paternal haplogroups (O2a and O3a3c), suggested that they arose before the differentiation of any language group and approximately at the same time. Contrary to the scenario proposed for colonization of Northeast India as male founder effect that occurred within the past 4,000 years, we suggest a significantly deep colonization of this region. Overall, our extensive analysis revealed that the population history of South Asian Tibeto-Burman speakers is more complex than it was suggested before.
PMCID: PMC3794028  PMID: 24130682
7.  Androgen Receptor CAG Repeats Length Polymorphism and the Risk of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75709.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) refers to an inheritable androgen excess disorder characterized by multiple small follicles located at the ovarian periphery. Hyperandrogenism in PCOS, and inverse correlation between androgen receptor (AR) CAG numbers and AR function, led us to hypothesize that CAG length variations may affect PCOS risk.
CAG repeat region of 169 patients recruited following strictly defined Rotterdam (2003) inclusion criteria and that of 175 ethnically similar control samples, were analyzed. We also conducted a meta-analysis on the data taken from published studies, to generate a pooled estimate on 2194 cases and 2242 controls.
CAG bi-allelic mean length was between 8.5 and 24.5 (mean = 17.43, SD = 2.43) repeats in the controls and between 11 and 24 (mean = 17.39, SD = 2.29) repeats in the cases, without any significant difference between the two groups. Further, comparison of bi-allelic mean and its frequency distribution in three categories (short, moderate and long alleles) did not show any significant difference between controls and various case subgroups. Frequency distribution of bi-allelic mean in two categories (extreme and moderate alleles) showed over-representation of extreme sized alleles in the cases with marginally significant value (50.3% vs. 61.5%, χ2 = 4.41; P = 0.036), which turned insignificant upon applying Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons. X-chromosome inactivation analysis showed no significant difference in the inactivation pattern of CAG alleles or in the comparison of weighed bi-allelic mean between cases and controls. Meta-analysis also showed no significant correlation between CAG length and PCOS risk, except a minor over-representation of short CAG alleles in the cases.
CAG bi-allelic mean length did not differ between controls and cases/case sub-groups nor did the allele distribution. Over-representation of short/extreme-sized alleles in the cases may be a chance finding without any true association with PCOS risk.
PMCID: PMC3792992  PMID: 24116069
8.  LRRK2 and RIPK2 Variants in the NOD 2-Mediated Signaling Pathway Are Associated with Susceptibility to Mycobacterium leprae in Indian Populations 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e73103.
In recent years, genome wide association studies have discovered a large number of gene loci that play a functional role in innate and adaptive immune pathways associated with leprosy susceptibility. The immunological control of intracellular bacteria M. leprae is modulated by NOD2-mediated signaling of Th1 responses. In this study, we investigated 211 clinically classified leprosy patients and 230 ethnically matched controls in Indian population by genotyping four variants in NOD2 (rs9302752A/G), LRRK2 (rs1873613A/G), RIPK2 (rs40457A/G and rs42490G/A). The LRRK2 locus is associated with leprosy outcome. The LRRK2 rs1873613A minor allele and respective rs1873613AA genotypes were significantly associated with an increased risk whereas the LRRK2 rs1873613G major allele and rs1873613GG genotypes confer protection in paucibacillary and leprosy patients. The reconstructed GA haplotypes from RIPK2 rs40457A/G and rs42490G/A variants was observed to contribute towards increased risk whereas haplotypes AA was observed to confer protective role. Our results indicate that a possible shared mechanisms underlying the development of these two clinical forms of the disease as hypothesized. Our findings confirm and validates the role of gene variants involved in NOD2-mediated signalling pathways that play a role in immunological control of intracellular bacteria M. leprae.
PMCID: PMC3756038  PMID: 24015287
9.  The Phylogeography of Y-Chromosome Haplogroup H1a1a-M82 Reveals the Likely Indian Origin of the European Romani Populations 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48477.
Linguistic and genetic studies on Roma populations inhabited in Europe have unequivocally traced these populations to the Indian subcontinent. However, the exact parental population group and time of the out-of-India dispersal have remained disputed. In the absence of archaeological records and with only scanty historical documentation of the Roma, comparative linguistic studies were the first to identify their Indian origin. Recently, molecular studies on the basis of disease-causing mutations and haploid DNA markers (i.e. mtDNA and Y-chromosome) supported the linguistic view. The presence of Indian-specific Y-chromosome haplogroup H1a1a-M82 and mtDNA haplogroups M5a1, M18 and M35b among Roma has corroborated that their South Asian origins and later admixture with Near Eastern and European populations. However, previous studies have left unanswered questions about the exact parental population groups in South Asia. Here we present a detailed phylogeographical study of Y-chromosomal haplogroup H1a1a-M82 in a data set of more than 10,000 global samples to discern a more precise ancestral source of European Romani populations. The phylogeographical patterns and diversity estimates indicate an early origin of this haplogroup in the Indian subcontinent and its further expansion to other regions. Tellingly, the short tandem repeat (STR) based network of H1a1a-M82 lineages displayed the closest connection of Romani haplotypes with the traditional scheduled caste and scheduled tribe population groups of northwestern India.
PMCID: PMC3509117  PMID: 23209554
10.  IL-4 Haplotype -590T, -34T and Intron-3 VNTR R2 Is Associated with Reduced Malaria Risk among Ancestral Indian Tribal Populations 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e48136.
Interleukin 4 (IL-4) is an anti-inflammatory cytokine, which regulates balance between TH1 and TH2 immune response, immunoglobulin class switching and humoral immunity. Polymorphisms in this gene have been reported to affect the risk of infectious and autoimmune diseases.
We have analyzed three regulatory IL-4 polymorphisms; -590C>T, -34C>T and 70 bp intron-3 VNTR, in 4216 individuals; including: (1) 430 ethnically matched case-control groups (173 severe malaria, 101 mild malaria and 156 asymptomatic); (2) 3452 individuals from 76 linguistically and geographically distinct endogamous populations of India, and (3) 334 individuals with different ancestry from outside India (84 Brazilian, 104 Syrian, and 146 Vietnamese).
The -590T, -34T and intron-3 VNTR R2 alleles were found to be associated with reduced malaria risk (P<0.001 for -590C>T and -34C>T, and P = 0.003 for VNTR). These three alleles were in strong LD (r2>0.75) and the TTR2 (-590T, -34T and intron-3 VNTR R2) haplotype appeared to be a susceptibility factor for malaria (P = 0.009, OR = 0.552, 95% CI = 0.356 –0.854). Allele and genotype frequencies differ significantly between caste, nomadic, tribe and ancestral tribal populations (ATP). The distribution of protective haplotype TTR2 was found to be significant (χ23 = 182.95, p-value <0.001), which is highest in ATP (40.5%); intermediate in tribes (33%); and lowest in caste (17.8%) and nomadic (21.6%).
Our study suggests that the IL-4 polymorphisms regulate host susceptibility to malaria and disease progression. TTR2 haplotype, which gives protection against malaria, is high among ATPs. Since they inhabited in isolation and mainly practice hunter-gatherer lifestyles and exposed to various parasites, IL-4 TTR2 haplotype might be under positive selection.
PMCID: PMC3480467  PMID: 23110190
11.  Genetic Affinities of the Central Indian Tribal Populations 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e32546.
The central Indian state Madhya Pradesh is often called as ‘heart of India’ and has always been an important region functioning as a trinexus belt for three major language families (Indo-European, Dravidian and Austroasiatic). There are less detailed genetic studies on the populations inhabited in this region. Therefore, this study is an attempt for extensive characterization of genetic ancestries of three tribal populations, namely; Bharia, Bhil and Sahariya, inhabiting this region using haploid and diploid DNA markers.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Mitochondrial DNA analysis showed high diversity, including some of the older sublineages of M haplogroup and prominent R lineages in all the three tribes. Y-chromosomal biallelic markers revealed high frequency of Austroasiatic-specific M95-O2a haplogroup in Bharia and Sahariya, M82-H1a in Bhil and M17-R1a in Bhil and Sahariya. The results obtained by haploid as well as diploid genetic markers revealed strong genetic affinity of Bharia (a Dravidian speaking tribe) with the Austroasiatic (Munda) group. The gene flow from Austroasiatic group is further confirmed by their Y-STRs haplotype sharing analysis, where we determined their founder haplotype from the North Munda speaking tribe, while, autosomal analysis was largely in concordant with the haploid DNA results.
Bhil exhibited largely Indo-European specific ancestry, while Sahariya and Bharia showed admixed genetic package of Indo-European and Austroasiatic populations. Hence, in a landscape like India, linguistic label doesn't unequivocally follow the genetic footprints.
PMCID: PMC3290590  PMID: 22393414
12.  Cellular Model of Warburg Effect Identifies Tumor Promoting Function of UCP2 in Breast Cancer and Its Suppression by Genipin 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e24792.
The Warburg Effect is characterized by an irreversible injury to mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and an increased rate of aerobic glycolysis. In this study, we utilized a breast epithelial cell line lacking mitochondrial DNA (rho0) that exhibits the Warburg Effect associated with breast cancer. We developed a MitoExpress array for rapid analysis of all known nuclear genes encoding the mitochondrial proteome. The gene-expression pattern was compared among a normal breast epithelial cell line, its rho0 derivative, breast cancer cell lines and primary breast tumors. Among several genes, our study revealed that over-expression of mitochondrial uncoupling protein UCP2 in rho0 breast epithelial cells reflects gene expression changes in breast cancer cell lines and in primary breast tumors. Furthermore, over-expression of UCP2 was also found in leukemia, ovarian, bladder, esophagus, testicular, colorectal, kidney, pancreatic, lung and prostate tumors. Ectopic expression of UCP2 in MCF7 breast cancer cells led to a decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and increased tumorigenic properties as measured by cell migration, in vitro invasion and anchorage independent growth. Consistent with in vitro studies, we demonstrate that UCP2 over-expression leads to development of tumors in vivo in an orthotopic model of breast cancer. Genipin, a plant derived small molecule, suppressed the UCP2 led tumorigenic properties, which were mediated by decreased reactive oxygen species and down-regulation of UCP2. However, UCP1, 3, 4 and 5 gene expression was unaffected. UCP2 transcription was controlled by SMAD4. Together, these studies suggest a tumor-promoting function of UCP2 in breast cancer. In summary, our studies demonstrate that i) the Warburg Effect is mediated by UCP2; ii) UCP2 is over-expressed in breast and many other cancers; iii) UCP2 promotes tumorigenic properties in vitro and in vivo and iv) genipin suppresses the tumor promoting function of UCP2.
PMCID: PMC3174207  PMID: 21935467
13.  The Influence of Natural Barriers in Shaping the Genetic Structure of Maharashtra Populations 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e15283.
The geographical position of Maharashtra state makes it rather essential to study the dispersal of modern humans in South Asia. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the cultural, linguistic and geographical affinity of the populations living in Maharashtra state with other South Asian populations. The genetic origin of populations living in this state is poorly understood and hitherto been described at low molecular resolution level.
Methodology/Principal Findings
To address this issue, we have analyzed the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of 185 individuals and NRY (non-recombining region of Y chromosome) of 98 individuals belonging to two major tribal populations of Maharashtra, and compared their molecular variations with that of 54 South Asian contemporary populations of adjacent states. Inter and intra population comparisons reveal that the maternal gene pool of Maharashtra state populations is composed of mainly South Asian haplogroups with traces of east and west Eurasian haplogroups, while the paternal haplogroups comprise the South Asian as well as signature of near eastern specific haplogroup J2a.
Our analysis suggests that Indian populations, including Maharashtra state, are largely derived from Paleolithic ancient settlers; however, a more recent (∼10 Ky older) detectable paternal gene flow from west Asia is well reflected in the present study. These findings reveal movement of populations to Maharashtra through the western coast rather than mainland where Western Ghats-Vindhya Mountains and Narmada-Tapti rivers might have acted as a natural barrier. Comparing the Maharastrian populations with other South Asian populations reveals that they have a closer affinity with the South Indian than with the Central Indian populations.
PMCID: PMC3004917  PMID: 21187967
14.  Androgen Receptor CAG Repeat Polymorphism and Epigenetic Influence among the South Indian Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e12401.
The present study was carried out to assess the role of androgen receptor CAG repeat polymorphism and X chromosome inactivation (XCI) pattern among Indian PCOS women and controls which has not been hitherto explored and also to test the hypothesis that shorter CAG alleles would be preferentially activated in PCOS. CAG repeat polymorphism and X chromosome methylation patterns were compared between PCOS and non-PCOS women. 250 PCOS women and 299 controls were included for this study. Androgen receptor CAG repeat sizes, XCI percentages, and clinical and biochemical parameters were measured. The mean CAG repeat number is similar between the cases (18.74±0.13) and controls (18.73±0.12). The obese PCOS women were significantly more frequent in the <18 and >20 CAG repeat category than the lean PCOS women, yielding a highly significant odds (p = 0.001). Among the women with non-random X-inactivation, alleles with <19 repeats were more frequently activated among cases than controls (p = 0.33). CAG repeat polymorphism by itself cannot be considered as a useful marker for discriminating PCOS. We observed a trend of preferential activation of the shorter allele among the PCOS cases with non random XCI pattern. In the obese PCOS women, this microsatellite variation may account for the hyperandrogenicity to a larger extent than the lean PCOS women.
PMCID: PMC2928732  PMID: 20865044
15.  Role of Progesterone Receptor Polymorphisms in the Recurrent Spontaneous Abortions: Indian Case 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(1):e8712.
We attempt to ascertain if the 3 linked single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the Progesterone Receptor (PR) gene (exon 1: G 1031 C; S344T, exon 4: G 1978 T; L660V and exon 5: C 2310 T; H770H) and the PROGINS insertion in the intron G, between exons 7 and 8, are associated with Recurrent Spontaneous Abortion (RSA) in the Indian population.
Methodology/Principal Findings
A total of 143 women with RSA and 150 controls were sequenced for all the 8 exons looking for the above 3 linked SNPs of the PR gene earlier implicated in the RSA, as well as for any new SNPs that may be possibly found in the Indian population. PROGINS insertion was screened by electrophoresis. We did not find any new mutations, not observed earlier, in our population. Further, we did not find significant role of the *2 allele (representing the mutant allele at the three SNP loci) or the T2 allele (PROGINS insertion) in the manifestation of RSA. We also did not find an LD pattern between each of the 3 SNPs and the PROGINS insertion.
The results suggest that the PR gene mutations may not play any exclusive role in the manifestation of RSA, and instead, given significantly higher frequency of the *2 allele among the normal women, we surmise if it does not really confer a protective role among the Indian populations, albeit further studies are required in the heterogeneous populations of this region before making any conclusive statement.
PMCID: PMC2806831  PMID: 20090851
16.  Deep Rooting In-Situ Expansion of mtDNA Haplogroup R8 in South Asia 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(8):e6545.
The phylogeny of the indigenous Indian-specific mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups have been determined and refined in previous reports. Similar to mtDNA superhaplogroups M and N, a profusion of reports are also available for superhaplogroup R. However, there is a dearth of information on South Asian subhaplogroups in particular, including R8. Therefore, we ought to access the genealogy and pre-historic expansion of haplogroup R8 which is considered one of the autochthonous lineages of South Asia.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Upon screening the mtDNA of 5,836 individuals belonging to 104 distinct ethnic populations of the Indian subcontinent, we found 54 individuals with the HVS-I motif that defines the R8 haplogroup. Complete mtDNA sequencing of these 54 individuals revealed two deep-rooted subclades: R8a and R8b. Furthermore, these subclades split into several fine subclades. An isofrequency contour map detected the highest frequency of R8 in the state of Orissa. Spearman's rank correlation analysis suggests significant correlation of R8 occurrence with geography.
The coalescent age of newly-characterized subclades of R8, R8a (15.4±7.2 Kya) and R8b (25.7±10.2 Kya) indicates that the initial maternal colonization of this haplogroup occurred during the middle and upper Paleolithic period, roughly around 40 to 45 Kya. These results signify that the southern part of Orissa currently inhabited by Munda speakers is likely the origin of these autochthonous maternal deep-rooted haplogroups. Our high-resolution study on the genesis of R8 haplogroup provides ample evidence of its deep-rooted ancestry among the Orissa (Austro-Asiatic) tribes.
PMCID: PMC2718812  PMID: 19662095

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