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.
- Gene-Wide Analysis Detects Two New Susceptibility Genes for Alzheimer's Disease (2014)
- Background: Alzheimer's disease is a common debilitating dementia with known heritability, for which 20 late onset susceptibility loci have been identified, but more remain to be discovered. This study sought to identify new susceptibility genes, using an alternative gene-wide analytical approach which tests for patterns of association within genes, in the powerful genome-wide association dataset of the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project Consortium, comprising over 7 m genotypes from 25,580 Alzheimer's cases and 48,466 controls. Principal Findings: In addition to earlier reported genes, we detected genome-wide significant loci on chromosomes 8 (TP53INP1, p = 1.4×10−6) and 14 (IGHV1-67 p = 7.9×10−8) which indexed novel susceptibility loci. Significance: The additional genes identified in this study, have an array of functions previously implicated in Alzheimer's disease, including aspects of energy metabolism, protein degradation and the immune system and add further weight to these pathways as potential therapeutic targets in Alzheimer's disease.
- 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 comprehensive laboratory study on the immersion freezing behavior of illite NX particles: a comparison of seventeen ice nucleation measurement techniques (2014)
- Immersion freezing is the most relevant heterogeneous ice nucleation mechanism through which ice crystals are formed in mixed-phase clouds. In recent years, an increasing number of laboratory experiments utilizing a variety of instruments have examined immersion freezing activity of atmospherically relevant ice nucleating particles (INPs). However, an inter-comparison of these laboratory results is a difficult task because investigators have used different ice nucleation (IN) measurement methods to produce these results. A remaining challenge is to explore the sensitivity and accuracy of these techniques and to understand how the IN results are potentially influenced or biased by experimental parameters associated with these techniques. Within the framework of INUIT (Ice Nucleation research UnIT), we distributed an illite rich sample (illite NX) as a representative surrogate for atmospheric mineral dust particles to investigators to perform immersion freezing experiments using different IN measurement methods and to obtain IN data as a function of particle concentration, temperature (T), cooling rate and nucleation time. Seventeen measurement methods were involved in the data inter-comparison. Experiments with seven instruments started with the test sample pre-suspended in water before cooling, while ten other instruments employed water vapor condensation onto dry-dispersed particles followed by immersion freezing. The resulting comprehensive immersion freezing dataset was evaluated using the ice nucleation active surface-site density (ns) to develop a representative ns(T) spectrum that spans a wide temperature range (−37 °C < T < −11 °C) and covers nine orders of magnitude in ns. Our inter-comparison results revealed a discrepancy between suspension and dry-dispersed particle measurements for this mineral dust. While the agreement was good below ~ −26 °C, the ice nucleation activity, expressed in ns, was smaller for the wet suspended samples and higher for the dry-dispersed aerosol samples between about −26 and −18 °C. Only instruments making measurement techniques with wet suspended samples were able to measure ice nucleation above −18 °C. A possible explanation for the deviation between −26 and −18 °C is discussed. In general, the seventeen immersion freezing measurement techniques deviate, within the range of about 7 °C in terms of temperature, by three orders of magnitude with respect to ns. In addition, we show evidence that the immersion freezing efficiency (i.e., ns) of illite NX particles is relatively independent on droplet size, particle mass in suspension, particle size and cooling rate during freezing. A strong temperature-dependence and weak time- and size-dependence of immersion freezing efficiency of illite-rich clay mineral particles enabled the ns parameterization solely as a function of temperature. We also characterized the ns (T) spectra, and identified a section with a steep slope between −20 and −27 °C, where a large fraction of active sites of our test dust may trigger immersion freezing. This slope was followed by a region with a gentler slope at temperatures below −27 °C. A multiple exponential distribution fit is expressed as ns(T) = exp(23.82 × exp(−exp(0.16 × (T + 17.49))) + 1.39) based on the specific surface area and ns(T) = exp(25.75 × exp(−exp(0.13 × (T + 17.17))) + 3.34) based on the geometric area (ns and T in m−2 and °C, respectively). These new fits, constrained by using an identical reference samples, will help to compare IN measurement methods that are not included in the present study and, thereby, IN data from future IN instruments.
- 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.
- The MLL recombinome of acute leukemias in 2013 (2013)
- Chromosomal rearrangements of the human MLL (mixed lineage leukemia) gene are associated with high-risk infant, pediatric, adult and therapy-induced acute leukemias. We used long-distance inverse-polymerase chain reaction to characterize the chromosomal rearrangement of individual acute leukemia patients. We present data of the molecular characterization of 1590 MLL-rearranged biopsy samples obtained from acute leukemia patients. The precise localization of genomic breakpoints within the MLL gene and the involved translocation partner genes (TPGs) were determined and novel TPGs identified. All patients were classified according to their gender (852 females and 745 males), age at diagnosis (558 infant, 416 pediatric and 616 adult leukemia patients) and other clinical criteria. Combined data of our study and recently published data revealed a total of 121 different MLL rearrangements, of which 79 TPGs are now characterized at the molecular level. However, only seven rearrangements seem to be predominantly associated with illegitimate recombinations of the MLL gene (≈ 90%): AFF1/AF4, MLLT3/AF9, MLLT1/ENL, MLLT10/AF10, ELL, partial tandem duplications (MLL PTDs) and MLLT4/AF6, respectively. The MLL breakpoint distributions for all clinical relevant subtypes (gender, disease type, age at diagnosis, reciprocal, complex and therapy-induced translocations) are presented. Finally, we present the extending network of reciprocal MLL fusions deriving from complex rearrangements.
- A comprehensive laboratory study on the immersion freezing behavior of illite NX particles: a comparison of 17 ice nucleation measurement techniques (2015)
- Immersion freezing is the most relevant heterogeneous ice nucleation mechanism through which ice crystals are formed in mixed-phase clouds. In recent years, an increasing number of laboratory experiments utilizing a variety of instruments have examined immersion freezing activity of atmospherically relevant ice-nucleating particles. However, an intercomparison of these laboratory results is a difficult task because investigators have used different ice nucleation (IN) measurement methods to produce these results. A remaining challenge is to explore the sensitivity and accuracy of these techniques and to understand how the IN results are potentially influenced or biased by experimental parameters associated with these techniques. Within the framework of INUIT (Ice Nuclei Research Unit), we distributed an illite-rich sample (illite NX) as a representative surrogate for atmospheric mineral dust particles to investigators to perform immersion freezing experiments using different IN measurement methods and to obtain IN data as a function of particle concentration, temperature (T), cooling rate and nucleation time. A total of 17 measurement methods were involved in the data intercomparison. Experiments with seven instruments started with the test sample pre-suspended in water before cooling, while 10 other instruments employed water vapor condensation onto dry-dispersed particles followed by immersion freezing. The resulting comprehensive immersion freezing data set was evaluated using the ice nucleation active surface-site density, ns, to develop a representative ns(T) spectrum that spans a wide temperature range (−37 °C < T < −11 °C) and covers 9 orders of magnitude in ns. In general, the 17 immersion freezing measurement techniques deviate, within a range of about 8 °C in terms of temperature, by 3 orders of magnitude with respect to ns. In addition, we show evidence that the immersion freezing efficiency expressed in ns of illite NX particles is relatively independent of droplet size, particle mass in suspension, particle size and cooling rate during freezing. A strong temperature dependence and weak time and size dependence of the immersion freezing efficiency of illite-rich clay mineral particles enabled the ns parameterization solely as a function of temperature. We also characterized the ns(T) spectra and identified a section with a steep slope between −20 and −27 °C, where a large fraction of active sites of our test dust may trigger immersion freezing. This slope was followed by a region with a gentler slope at temperatures below −27 °C. While the agreement between different instruments was reasonable below ~ −27 °C, there seemed to be a different trend in the temperature-dependent ice nucleation activity from the suspension and dry-dispersed particle measurements for this mineral dust, in particular at higher temperatures. For instance, the ice nucleation activity expressed in ns was smaller for the average of the wet suspended samples and higher for the average of the dry-dispersed aerosol samples between about −27 and −18 °C. Only instruments making measurements with wet suspended samples were able to measure ice nucleation above −18 °C. A possible explanation for the deviation between −27 and −18 °C is discussed. Multiple exponential distribution fits in both linear and log space for both specific surface area-based ns(T) and geometric surface area-based ns(T) are provided. These new fits, constrained by using identical reference samples, will help to compare IN measurement methods that are not included in the present study and IN data from future IN instruments.
- 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.
- 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.