Year of publication
- Sex-stratified Genome-wide Association Studies Including 270,000 Individuals Show Sexual Dimorphism in Genetic Loci for Anthropometric Traits (2013)
- Men and women differ substantially regarding height, weight, and body fat. Interestingly, previous work detecting genetic effects for waist-to-hip ratio, to assess body fat distribution, has found that many of these showed sex-differences. However, systematic searches for sex-differences in genetic effects have not yet been conducted. Therefore, we undertook a genome-wide search for sexually dimorphic genetic effects for anthropometric traits including 133,723 individuals in a large meta-analysis and followed promising variants in further 137,052 individuals, including a total of 94 studies. We identified seven loci with significant sex-difference including four previously established (near GRB14/COBLL1, LYPLAL1/SLC30A10, VEGFA, ADAMTS9) and three novel anthropometric trait loci (near MAP3K1, HSD17B4, PPARG), all of which were significant in women, but not in men. Of interest is that sex-difference was only observed for waist phenotypes, but not for height or body-mass-index. We found no evidence for sex-differences with opposite effect direction for men and women. The PPARG locus is of specific interest due to its link to diabetes genetics and therapy. Our findings demonstrate the importance of investigating sex differences, which may lead to a better understanding of disease mechanisms with a potential relevance to treatment options.
- A genome-wide scan for common alleles affecting risk for autism (2010)
- Although autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) have a substantial genetic basis, most of the known genetic risk has been traced to rare variants, principally copy number variants (CNVs). To identify common risk variation, the Autism Genome Project (AGP) Consortium genotyped 1558 rigorously defined ASD families for 1 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and analyzed these SNP genotypes for association with ASD. In one of four primary association analyses, the association signal for marker rs4141463, located within MACROD2, crossed the genome-wide association significance threshold of P < 5 3 10 exp -8. When a smaller replication sample was analyzed, the risk allele at rs4141463 was again over-transmitted; yet, consistent with the winner’s curse, its effect size in the replication sample was much smaller; and, for the combined samples, the association signal barely fell below the P < 5 3 10 exp -8 threshold. Exploratory analyses of phenotypic subtypes yielded no significant associations after correction for multiple testing. They did, however, yield strong signals within several genes, KIAA0564, PLD5, POU6F2, ST8SIA2 and TAF1C.
- Individual common variants exert weak effects on the risk for autism spectrum disorders (2012)
- While it is apparent that rare variation can play an important role in the genetic architecture of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), the contribution of common variation to the risk of developing ASD is less clear. To produce a more comprehensive picture, we report Stage 2 of the Autism Genome Project genome-wide association study, adding 1301 ASD families and bringing the total to 2705 families analysed (Stages 1 and 2). In addition to evaluating the association of individual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we also sought evidence that common variants, en masse, might affect the risk. Despite genotyping over a million SNPs covering the genome, no single SNP shows significant association with ASD or selected phenotypes at a genome-wide level. The SNP that achieves the smallest P-value from secondary analyses is rs1718101. It falls in CNTNAP2, a gene previously implicated in susceptibility for ASD. This SNP also shows modest association with age of word/phrase acquisition in ASD subjects, of interest because features of language development are also associated with other variation in CNTNAP2. In contrast, allele scores derived from the transmission of common alleles to Stage 1 cases significantly predict case status in the independent Stage 2 sample. Despite being significant, the variance explained by these allele scores was small (Vm< 1%). Based on results from individual SNPs and their en masse effect on risk, as inferred from the allele score results, it is reasonable to conclude that common variants affect the risk for ASD but their individual effects are modest.
- A novel approach of homozygous haplotype sharing identifies candidate genes in autism spectrum disorder (2011)
- Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a highly heritable disorder of complex and heterogeneous aetiology. It is primarily characterized by altered cognitive ability including impaired language and communication skills and fundamental deficits in social reciprocity. Despite some notable successes in neuropsychiatric genetics, overall, the high heritability of ASD (~90%) remains poorly explained by common genetic risk variants. However, recent studies suggest that rare genomic variation, in particular copy number variation, may account for a significant proportion of the genetic basis of ASD. We present a large scale analysis to identify candidate genes which may contain low-frequency recessive variation contributing to ASD while taking into account the potential contribution of population differences to the genetic heterogeneity of ASD. Our strategy, homozygous haplotype (HH) mapping, aims to detect homozygous segments of identical haplotype structure that are shared at a higher frequency amongst ASD patients compared to parental controls. The analysis was performed on 1,402 Autism Genome Project trios genotyped for 1 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We identified 25 known and 1,218 novel ASD candidate genes in the discovery analysis including CADM2, ABHD14A, CHRFAM7A, GRIK2, GRM3, EPHA3, FGF10, KCND2, PDZK1, IMMP2L and FOXP2. Furthermore, 10 of the previously reported ASD genes and 300 of the novel candidates identified in the discovery analysis were replicated in an independent sample of 1,182 trios. Our results demonstrate that regions of HH are significantly enriched for previously reported ASD candidate genes and the observed association is independent of gene size (odds ratio 2.10). Our findings highlight the applicability of HH mapping in complex disorders such as ASD and offer an alternative approach to the analysis of genome-wide association data.
- HIF1A Reduces Acute Lung Injury by Optimizing Carbohydrate Metabolism in the Alveolar Epithelium (2013)
- Background: While acute lung injury (ALI) contributes significantly to critical illness, it resolves spontaneously in many instances. The majority of patients experiencing ALI require mechanical ventilation. Therefore, we hypothesized that mechanical ventilation and concomitant stretch-exposure of pulmonary epithelia could activate endogenous pathways important in lung protection. Methods and Findings: To examine transcriptional responses during ALI, we exposed pulmonary epithelia to cyclic mechanical stretch conditions—an in vitro model resembling mechanical ventilation. A genome-wide screen revealed a transcriptional response similar to hypoxia signaling. Surprisingly, we found that stabilization of hypoxia-inducible factor 1A (HIF1A) during stretch conditions in vitro or during ventilator-induced ALI in vivo occurs under normoxic conditions. Extension of these findings identified a functional role for stretch-induced inhibition of succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) in mediating normoxic HIF1A stabilization, concomitant increases in glycolytic capacity, and improved tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle function. Pharmacologic studies with HIF activator or inhibitor treatment implicated HIF1A-stabilization in attenuating pulmonary edema and lung inflammation during ALI in vivo. Systematic deletion of HIF1A in the lungs, endothelia, myeloid cells, or pulmonary epithelia linked these findings to alveolar-epithelial HIF1A. In vivo analysis of 13C-glucose metabolites utilizing liquid-chromatography tandem mass-spectrometry demonstrated that increases in glycolytic capacity, improvement of mitochondrial respiration, and concomitant attenuation of lung inflammation during ALI were specific for alveolar-epithelial expressed HIF1A. Conclusions: These studies reveal a surprising role for HIF1A in lung protection during ALI, where normoxic HIF1A stabilization and HIF-dependent control of alveolar-epithelial glucose metabolism function as an endogenous feedback loop to dampen lung inflammation.
- Discovery and validation of cell cycle arrest biomarkers in human acute kidney injury (2013)
- Introduction: Acute kidney injury (AKI) can evolve quickly and clinical measures of function often fail to detect AKI at a time when interventions are likely to provide benefit. Identifying early markers of kidney damage has been difficult due to the complex nature of human AKI, in which multiple etiologies exist. The objective of this study was to identify and validate novel biomarkers of AKI. Methods: We performed two multicenter observational studies in critically ill patients at risk for AKI - discovery and validation. The top two markers from discovery were validated in a second study (Sapphire) and compared to a number of previously described biomarkers. In the discovery phase, we enrolled 522 adults in three distinct cohorts including patients with sepsis, shock, major surgery, and trauma and examined over 300 markers. In the Sapphire validation study, we enrolled 744 adult subjects with critical illness and without evidence of AKI at enrollment; the final analysis cohort was a heterogeneous sample of 728 critically ill patients. The primary endpoint was moderate to severe AKI (KDIGO stage 2 to 3) within 12 hours of sample collection. Results: Moderate to severe AKI occurred in 14% of Sapphire subjects. The two top biomarkers from discovery were validated. Urine insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 7 (IGFBP7) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-2 (TIMP-2), both inducers of G1 cell cycle arrest, a key mechanism implicated in AKI, together demonstrated an AUC of 0.80 (0.76 and 0.79 alone). Urine [TIMP-2].[IGFBP7] was significantly superior to all previously described markers of AKI (P <0.002), none of which achieved an AUC >0.72. Furthermore, [TIMP-2].[IGFBP7] significantly improved risk stratification when added to a nine-variable clinical model when analyzed using Cox proportional hazards model, generalized estimating equation, integrated discrimination improvement or net reclassification improvement. Finally, in sensitivity analyses [TIMP-2].[IGFBP7] remained significant and superior to all other markers regardless of changes in reference creatinine method. Conclusions: Two novel markers for AKI have been identified and validated in independent multicenter cohorts. Both markers are superior to existing markers, provide additional information over clinical variables and add mechanistic insight into AKI. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov number NCT01209169.
- Rapid growth of HFC-227ea (1,1,1,2,3,3,3-Heptafluoropropane) in the atmosphere (2010)
- We report the first measurements of 1,1,1,2,3,3,3-heptafluoropropane (HFC-227ea), a substitute for ozone depleting compounds, in remote regions of the atmosphere and present evidence for its rapid growth. Observed mixing ratios ranged from below 0.01 ppt in deep firn air to 0.59 ppt in the northern mid-latitudinal upper troposphere. Firn air samples collected in Greenland were used to reconstruct a history of atmospheric abundance. Year-on-year increases were deduced, with acceleration in the growth rate from 0.026 ppt per year in 2000 to 0.057 ppt per year in 2007. Upper tropospheric air samples provide evidence for a continuing growth until late 2009. Furthermore we calculated a stratospheric lifetime of 370 years from measurements of air samples collected on board high altitude aircraft and balloons. Emission estimates were determined from the reconstructed atmospheric trend and suggest that current "bottom-up" estimates of global emissions for 2005 are too high by more than a factor of three. Revised paper with the title: "Accelerating growth of HFC-227ea (1,1,1,2,3,3,3-heptafluoropropane) in the atmosphere"
- Varicellovirus UL 49.5 proteins differentially affect the function of the transporter associated with antigen processing, TAP (2008)
- Cytotoxic T-lymphocytes play an important role in the protection against viral infections, which they detect through the recognition of virus-derived peptides, presented in the context of MHC class I molecules at the surface of the infected cell. The transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP) plays an essential role in MHC class I–restricted antigen presentation, as TAP imports peptides into the ER, where peptide loading of MHC class I molecules takes place. In this study, the UL49.5 proteins of the varicelloviruses bovine herpesvirus 1 (BHV-1), pseudorabies virus (PRV), and equine herpesvirus 1 and 4 (EHV-1 and EHV-4) are characterized as members of a novel class of viral immune evasion proteins. These UL49.5 proteins interfere with MHC class I antigen presentation by blocking the supply of antigenic peptides through inhibition of TAP. BHV-1, PRV, and EHV-1 recombinant viruses lacking UL49.5 no longer interfere with peptide transport. Combined with the observation that the individually expressed UL49.5 proteins block TAP as well, these data indicate that UL49.5 is the viral factor that is both necessary and sufficient to abolish TAP function during productive infection by these viruses. The mechanisms through which the UL49.5 proteins of BHV-1, PRV, EHV-1, and EHV-4 block TAP exhibit surprising diversity. BHV-1 UL49.5 targets TAP for proteasomal degradation, whereas EHV-1 and EHV-4 UL49.5 interfere with the binding of ATP to TAP. In contrast, TAP stability and ATP recruitment are not affected by PRV UL49.5, although it has the capacity to arrest the peptide transporter in a translocation-incompetent state, a property shared with the BHV-1 and EHV-1 UL49.5. Taken together, these results classify the UL49.5 gene products of BHV-1, PRV, EHV-1, and EHV-4 as members of a novel family of viral immune evasion proteins, inhibiting TAP through a variety of mechanisms.
- Accelerating growth of HFC-227ea (1,1,1,2,3,3,3-heptafluoropropane) in the atmosphere (2010)
- We report the first measurements of 1,1,1,2,3,3,3-heptafluoropropane (HFC-227ea), a substitute for ozone depleting compounds, in remote regions of the atmosphere and present evidence for its rapid growth. Observed mixing ratios ranged from below 0.01 ppt in deep firn air to 0.59 ppt in the northern mid-latitudinal upper troposphere. Firn air samples collected in Greenland were used to reconstruct a history of atmospheric abundance. Year-on-year increases were deduced, with acceleration in the growth rate from 0.026 ppt per year in 2000 to 0.057 ppt per year in 2007. Upper tropospheric air samples provide evidence for a continuing growth until late 2009. Furthermore we calculated a stratospheric lifetime of 370 years from measurements of air samples collected on board high altitude aircraft and balloons. Emission estimates were determined from the reconstructed atmospheric trend and suggest that current "bottom-up" estimates of global emissions for 2005 are too high by more than a factor of three. Discussion paper with the title: Rapid growth of HFC-227ea (1,1,1,2,3,3,3-heptafluoropropane) in the atmosphere
- CAST constraints on the axion-electron coupling (2013)
- In non-hadronic axion models, which have a tree-level axion-electron interaction, the Sun produces a strong axion flux by bremsstrahlung, Compton scattering, and axiorecombination, the “BCA processes.” Based on a new calculation of this flux, including for the first time axio-recombination, we derive limits on the axion-electron Yukawa coupling gae and axion-photon interaction strength ga using the CAST phase-I data (vacuum phase). For ma <~ 10 meV/c2 we find ga gae < 8.1 × 10−23 GeV−1 at 95% CL. We stress that a next-generation axion helioscope such as the proposed IAXO could push this sensitivity into a range beyond stellar energy-loss limits and test the hypothesis that white-dwarf cooling is dominated by axion emission.