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Here, we present a joint-tissue imputation (JTI) approach and a Mendelian randomization framework for causal inference, MR-JTI. JTI borrows information across transcriptomes of different tissues, leveraging shared genetic regulation, to improve prediction performance in a tissue-dependent manner. Notably, JTI includes the single-tissue imputation method PrediXcan as a special case and outperforms other single-tissue approaches (the Bayesian sparse linear mixed model and Dirichlet process regression). MR-JTI models variant-level heterogeneity (primarily due to horizontal pleiotropy, addressing a major challenge of transcriptome-wide association study interpretation) and performs causal inference with type I error control. We make explicit the connection between the genetic architecture of gene expression and of complex traits and the suitability of Mendelian randomization as a causal inference strategy for transcriptome-wide association studies. We provide a resource of imputation models generated from GTEx and PsychENCODE panels. Analysis of biobanks and meta-analysis data, and extensive simulations show substantially improved statistical power, replication and causal mapping rate for JTI relative to existing approaches.
Literature suggests vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) is protective among those at highest risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele carriers represent a highly susceptible population for cognitive decline, and VEGF may confer distinct protection among APOE-ε4 carriers. We evaluated interactions between cortical expression of 10 VEGF gene family members and APOE-ε4 genotype to clarify which VEGF genes modify the association between APOE-ε4 and cognitive decline. Data were obtained from the Religious Orders Study and Rush Memory and Aging Project (N = 531). Linear regression assessed interactions on global cognition. VEGF genes NRP1 and VEGFA interacted with APOE-ε4 on cognitive performance (p.fdr < 0.05). Higher NRP1 expression correlated with worse outcomes among ε4 carriers but better outcomes among ε4 noncarriers, suggesting NRP1 modifies the risk for poor cognitive scores based on APOE-ε4 status. NRP1 regulates angiogenesis, and literature suggests vessels in APOE-ε4 brains are more prone to leaking, perhaps placing young vessels at risk for ischemia. Results suggest that future therapeutics targeting brain angiogenesis should also consider ε4 allele status.
Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is responsible for a public health burden with multi-systemic complications. Through trans-ancestry meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and independent replication (n = 1,046,070), we identified 264 associated loci (166 new). Of these, 147 were likely to be relevant for kidney function on the basis of associations with the alternative kidney function marker blood urea nitrogen (n = 416,178). Pathway and enrichment analyses, including mouse models with renal phenotypes, support the kidney as the main target organ. A genetic risk score for lower eGFR was associated with clinically diagnosed CKD in 452,264 independent individuals. Colocalization analyses of associations with eGFR among 783,978 European-ancestry individuals and gene expression across 46 human tissues, including tubulo-interstitial and glomerular kidney compartments, identified 17 genes differentially expressed in kidney. Fine-mapping highlighted missense driver variants in 11 genes and kidney-specific regulatory variants. These results provide a comprehensive priority list of molecular targets for translational research.
The genetic architecture of psychiatric disorders is characterized by a large number of small-effect variants located primarily in non-coding regions, suggesting that the underlying causal effects may influence disease risk by modulating gene expression. We provide comprehensive analyses using transcriptome data from an unprecedented collection of tissues to gain pathophysiological insights into the role of the brain, neuroendocrine factors (adrenal gland) and gastrointestinal systems (colon) in psychiatric disorders. In each tissue, we perform PrediXcan analysis and identify trait-associated genes for schizophrenia (n associations = 499; n unique genes = 275), bipolar disorder (n associations = 17; n unique genes = 13), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (n associations = 19; n unique genes = 12) and broad depression (n associations = 41; n unique genes = 31). Importantly, both PrediXcan and summary-data-based Mendelian randomization/heterogeneity in dependent instruments analyses suggest potentially causal genes in non-brain tissues, showing the utility of these tissues for mapping psychiatric disease genetic predisposition. Our analyses further highlight the importance of joint tissue approaches as 76% of the genes were detected only in difficult-to-acquire tissues.
Interpretation of genetic association results is difficult because signals often lack biological context. To generate hypotheses of the functional genetic etiology of complex cardiometabolic traits, we estimated the genetically determined component of gene expression from common variants using PrediXcan (1) and determined genes with differential predicted expression by trait. PrediXcan imputes tissue-specific expression levels from genetic variation using variant-level effect on gene expression in transcriptome data. To explore the value of imputed genetically regulated gene expression (GReX) models across different ancestral populations, we evaluated imputed expression levels for predictive accuracy genome-wide in RNA sequence data in samples drawn from European-ancestry and African-ancestry populations and identified substantial predictive power using European-derived models in a non-European target population. We then tested the association of GReX on 15 cardiometabolic traits including blood lipid levels, body mass index, height, blood pressure, fasting glucose and insulin, RR interval, fibrinogen level, factor VII level and white blood cell and platelet counts in 15 755 individuals across three ancestry groups, resulting in 20 novel gene-phenotype associations reaching experiment-wide significance across ancestries. In addition, we identified 18 significant novel gene-phenotype associations in our ancestry-specific analyses. Top associations were assessed for additional support via query of S-PrediXcan (2) results derived from publicly available genome-wide association studies summary data. Collectively, these findings illustrate the utility of transcriptome-based imputation models for discovery of cardiometabolic effect genes in a diverse dataset.
© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press.
HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment (NCI) is a term established to capture a wide spectrum of HIV related neurocognitive deficits ranging in severity from asymptomatic to dementia. The genetic underpinnings of this complex phenotype are incompletely understood. Mitochondrial function has long been thought to play a role in neurodegeneration, along with iron metabolism and transport. In this work, we aimed to characterize the interplay of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup and nuclear genetic associations to NCI phenotypes in the CHARTER cohort, encompassing 1025 individuals of European-descent, African-descent, or admixed Hispanic. We first employed a polygenic modeling approach to investigate the global effect of previous marginally associated nuclear SNPs, and to examine how the polygenic effect of these SNPs is influenced by mtDNA haplogroups. We see evidence of a significant interaction between nuclear SNPs en masse and mtDNA haplogroups within European-descent and African-descent individuals. Subsequently, we performed an analysis of each SNP by mtDNA haplogroup, and detected significant interactions between two nuclear SNPs (rs17160128 and rs12460243) and European haplogroups. These findings, which require validation in larger cohorts, indicate a potential new role for nuclear-mitochondrial DNA interactions in susceptibility to NCI and shed light onto the pathophysiology of this neurocognitive phenotype.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
DA closure is crucial for the transition from fetal to neonatal life. This closure is supported by changes to the DA's signaling and structural properties that distinguish it from neighboring vessels. Examining transcriptional differences between these vessels is key to identifying genes or pathways responsible for DA closure. Several microarray studies have explored the DA transcriptome in animal models but varied experimental designs have led to conflicting results. Thorough transcriptomic analysis of the human DA has yet to be performed. A clear picture of the DA transcriptome is key to guiding future research endeavors, both to allow more targeted treatments in the clinical setting, and to understand the basic biology of DA function. In this review, we use a cross-species cross-platform analysis to consider all available published rodent microarray data and novel human RNAseq data in order to provide high priority candidate genes for consideration in future DA studies.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Centromere-binding protein F (CENP-F) is a very large and complex protein with many and varied binding partners including components of the microtubule network. Numerous CENP-F functions impacting diverse cellular behaviors have been identified. Importantly, emerging data have shown that CENP-F loss- or gain-of-function has critical effects on human development and disease. Still, it must be noted that data at the single cardiac myocyte level examining the impact of CENP-F loss-of-function on fundamental cellular behavior is missing. To address this gap in our knowledge, we analyzed basic cell structure and function in cardiac myocytes devoid of CENP-F. We found many diverse structural abnormalities including disruption of the microtubule network impacting critical characteristics of the cardiac myocyte. This is the first report linking microtubule network malfunction to cardiomyopathy. Importantly, we also present data demonstrating a direct link between a CENP-F single nucleotide polymorphism (snp) and human cardiac disease. In a proximate sense, these data examining CENP-F function explain the cellular basis underlying heart disease in this genetic model and, in a larger sense, they will hopefully provide a platform upon which the field can explore diverse cellular outcomes in wide-ranging areas of research on this critical protein.
This review will provide an overview of the principles of pharmacogenomics from basic discovery to implementation, encompassing application of tools of contemporary genome science to the field (including areas of apparent divergence from disease-based genomics), a summary of lessons learned from the extensively studied drugs clopidogrel and warfarin, the current status of implementing pharmacogenetic testing in practice, the role of genomics and related tools in the drug development process, and a summary of future opportunities and challenges.
© 2018 American Heart Association, Inc.
Arterial stiffening is associated with cognitive impairment and prodromal Alzheimer's disease. This study tested the interaction between arterial stiffening and an Alzheimer's disease genetic risk factor (apolipoprotein E [APOE] genotype) on cognition among older adults. Vanderbilt Memory & Aging Project participants with normal cognition (n = 162, 72 ± 7 years, 29% APOE-ε4 carrier) and mild cognitive impairment (n = 121, 73 ± 8 years, 42% APOE-ε4 carrier) completed neuropsychological assessment and cardiac MRI to assess aortic stiffening using pulse wave velocity (PWV, m/s). Linear regression models stratified by cognitive diagnosis related aortic PWV × APOE-ε4 status to neuropsychological performances, adjusting for demographic and vascular risk factors. PWV × APOE-ε4 related to poorer performance on measures of lexical retrieval (β = -0.29, p = 0.01), executive function (β = -0.44, p = 0.02), and episodic memory (β = -3.07, p = 0.02). Among participants with higher aortic PWV, APOE-ε4 modified the association between central arterial stiffening and cognition, such that carriers had worse performances than noncarriers. Findings add to a growing body of evidence for APOE-vascular interactions on cognition in older adults and warrant further research into less heart-healthy cohorts where the association between PWV and cognition among older adults might be stronger.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.