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Genome-wide association analysis advanced understanding of blood pressure (BP), a major risk factor for vascular conditions such as coronary heart disease and stroke. Accounting for smoking behavior may help identify BP loci and extend our knowledge of its genetic architecture. We performed genome-wide association meta-analyses of systolic and diastolic BP incorporating gene-smoking interactions in 610,091 individuals. Stage 1 analysis examined ∼18.8 million SNPs and small insertion/deletion variants in 129,913 individuals from four ancestries (European, African, Asian, and Hispanic) with follow-up analysis of promising variants in 480,178 additional individuals from five ancestries. We identified 15 loci that were genome-wide significant (p < 5 × 10) in stage 1 and formally replicated in stage 2. A combined stage 1 and 2 meta-analysis identified 66 additional genome-wide significant loci (13, 35, and 18 loci in European, African, and trans-ancestry, respectively). A total of 56 known BP loci were also identified by our results (p < 5 × 10). Of the newly identified loci, ten showed significant interaction with smoking status, but none of them were replicated in stage 2. Several loci were identified in African ancestry, highlighting the importance of genetic studies in diverse populations. The identified loci show strong evidence for regulatory features and support shared pathophysiology with cardiometabolic and addiction traits. They also highlight a role in BP regulation for biological candidates such as modulators of vascular structure and function (CDKN1B, BCAR1-CFDP1, PXDN, EEA1), ciliopathies (SDCCAG8, RPGRIP1L), telomere maintenance (TNKS, PINX1, AKTIP), and central dopaminergic signaling (MSRA, EBF2).
Copyright © 2018 American Society of Human Genetics. All rights reserved.
Context - Vitamin D inadequacy is common in the adult population of the United States. Although the genetic determinants underlying vitamin D inadequacy have been studied in people of European ancestry, less is known about populations with Hispanic or African ancestry.
Objective - The Trans-Ethnic Evaluation of Vitamin D (TRANSCEN-D) genomewide association study (GWAS) consortium was assembled to replicate genetic associations with 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations from the Study of Underlying Genetic Determinants of Vitamin D and Highly Related Traits (SUNLIGHT) meta-analyses of European ancestry and to identify genetic variants related to vitamin D concentrations in African and Hispanic ancestries.
Design - Ancestry-specific (Hispanic and African) and transethnic (Hispanic, African, and European) meta-analyses were performed with Meta-Analysis Helper software (METAL).
Patients or Other Participants - In total, 8541 African American and 3485 Hispanic American (from North America) participants from 12 cohorts and 16,124 European participants from SUNLIGHT were included in the study.
Main Outcome Measures - Blood concentrations of 25(OH)D were measured for all participants.
Results - Ancestry-specific analyses in African and Hispanic Americans replicated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in GC (2 and 4 SNPs, respectively). An SNP (rs79666294) near the KIF4B gene was identified in the African American cohort. Transethnic evaluation replicated GC and DHCR7 region SNPs. Additionally, the transethnic analyses revealed SNPs rs719700 and rs1410656 near the ANO6/ARID2 and HTR2A genes, respectively.
Conclusions - Ancestry-specific and transethnic GWASs of 25(OH)D confirmed findings in GC and DHCR7 for African and Hispanic American samples and revealed findings near KIF4B, ANO6/ARID2, and HTR2A. The biological mechanisms that link these regions with 25(OH)D metabolism warrant further investigation.
Breast cancer risk is influenced by rare coding variants in susceptibility genes, such as BRCA1, and many common, mostly non-coding variants. However, much of the genetic contribution to breast cancer risk remains unknown. Here we report the results of a genome-wide association study of breast cancer in 122,977 cases and 105,974 controls of European ancestry and 14,068 cases and 13,104 controls of East Asian ancestry. We identified 65 new loci that are associated with overall breast cancer risk at P < 5 × 10. The majority of credible risk single-nucleotide polymorphisms in these loci fall in distal regulatory elements, and by integrating in silico data to predict target genes in breast cells at each locus, we demonstrate a strong overlap between candidate target genes and somatic driver genes in breast tumours. We also find that heritability of breast cancer due to all single-nucleotide polymorphisms in regulatory features was 2-5-fold enriched relative to the genome-wide average, with strong enrichment for particular transcription factor binding sites. These results provide further insight into genetic susceptibility to breast cancer and will improve the use of genetic risk scores for individualized screening and prevention.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and presents a significant health care burden in many countries. In addition to ultraviolet radiation in sunlight, the main causal factor for melanoma, genetic factors also play an important role in melanoma susceptibility. Although genome-wide association studies have identified many single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with melanoma, little is known about the proportion of disease risk attributable to these loci and their distribution throughout the genome. Here, we investigated the genetic architecture of melanoma in 1,888 cases and 990 controls of European non-Hispanic ancestry. We estimated the overall narrow-sense heritability of melanoma to be 0.18 (P < 0.03), indicating that genetics contributes significantly to the risk of sporadically-occurring melanoma. We then demonstrated that only a small proportion of this risk is attributable to known risk variants, suggesting that much remains unknown of the role of genetics in melanoma. To investigate further the genetic architecture of melanoma, we partitioned the heritability by chromosome, minor allele frequency, and functional annotations. We showed that common genetic variation contributes significantly to melanoma risk, with a risk model defined by a handful of genomic regions rather than many risk loci distributed throughout the genome. We also demonstrated that variants affecting gene expression in skin account for a significant proportion of the heritability, and are enriched among melanoma risk loci. Finally, by incorporating skin color into our analyses, we observed both a shift in significance for melanoma-associated loci and an enrichment of expression quantitative trait loci among melanoma susceptibility variants. These findings suggest that skin color may be an important modifier of melanoma risk. We speculate that incorporating skin color and other non-genetic factors into genetic studies may allow for an improved understanding of melanoma susceptibility and guide future investigations to identify melanoma risk genes.
It is unclear whether genetic markers interact with risk factors to influence atrial fibrillation (AF) risk. We performed genome-wide interaction analyses between genetic variants and age, sex, hypertension, and body mass index in the AFGen Consortium. Study-specific results were combined using meta-analysis (88,383 individuals of European descent, including 7,292 with AF). Variants with nominal interaction associations in the discovery analysis were tested for association in four independent studies (131,441 individuals, including 5,722 with AF). In the discovery analysis, the AF risk associated with the minor rs6817105 allele (at the PITX2 locus) was greater among subjects ≤ 65 years of age than among those > 65 years (interaction p-value = 4.0 × 10). The interaction p-value exceeded genome-wide significance in combined discovery and replication analyses (interaction p-value = 1.7 × 10). We observed one genome-wide significant interaction with body mass index and several suggestive interactions with age, sex, and body mass index in the discovery analysis. However, none was replicated in the independent sample. Our findings suggest that the pathogenesis of AF may differ according to age in individuals of European descent, but we did not observe evidence of statistically significant genetic interactions with sex, body mass index, or hypertension on AF risk.
Uterine fibroids are benign tumors of the uterus affecting up to 77% of women by menopause. They are the leading indication for hysterectomy, and account for $34 billion annually in the United States. Race/ethnicity and age are the strongest known risk factors. African American (AA) women have higher prevalence, earlier onset, and larger and more numerous fibroids than European American women. We conducted a multi-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS) of fibroid risk among AA women followed by in silico genetically predicted gene expression profiling of top hits. In Stage 1, cases and controls were confirmed by pelvic imaging, genotyped and imputed to 1000 Genomes. Stage 2 used self-reported fibroid and GWAS data from 23andMe, Inc. and the Black Women's Health Study. Associations with fibroid risk were modeled using logistic regression adjusted for principal components, followed by meta-analysis of results. We observed a significant association among 3399 AA cases and 4764 AA controls at rs739187 (risk-allele frequency = 0.27) in CYTH4 (OR (95% confidence interval) = 1.23 (1.16-1.30), p value = 7.82 × 10). Evaluation of the genetic association results with MetaXcan identified lower predicted gene expression of CYTH4 in thyroid tissue as significantly associated with fibroid risk (p value = 5.86 × 10). In this first multi-stage GWAS for fibroids among AA women, we identified a novel risk locus for fibroids within CYTH4 that impacts gene expression in thyroid and has potential biological relevance for fibroids.
We performed a whole-genome scan of genetic variants in splicing regulatory elements (SREs) and evaluated the extent to which natural selection has shaped extant patterns of variation in SREs. We investigated the degree of differentiation of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in SREs among human populations and applied long-range haplotype- and multilocus allelic differentiation-based methods to detect selection signatures. We describe an approach, sampling a large number of loci across the genome from functional classes and using the consensus from multiple tests, for identifying candidates for selection signals. SRE SNPs in various SNP functional classes show different patterns of population differentiation compared with their non-SRE counterparts. Intronic regions display a greater enrichment for extreme population differentiation among the potentially tissue-dependent transcript ratio quantitative trait loci (trQTLs) than SRE SNPs in general and includ outlier trQTLs for cross-population composite likelihood ratio, suggesting that incorporation of context annotation for regulatory variation may lead to improved detection of signature of selection on these loci. The proportion of extremely rare SNPs disrupting SREs is significantly higher in European than in African samples. The approach developed here will be broadly useful for studies of function and disease-associated variation in the human genome.
Hypertension is a leading cause of global disease, mortality, and disability. While individuals of African descent suffer a disproportionate burden of hypertension and its complications, they have been underrepresented in genetic studies. To identify novel susceptibility loci for blood pressure and hypertension in people of African ancestry, we performed both single and multiple-trait genome-wide association analyses. We analyzed 21 genome-wide association studies comprised of 31,968 individuals of African ancestry, and validated our results with additional 54,395 individuals from multi-ethnic studies. These analyses identified nine loci with eleven independent variants which reached genome-wide significance (P < 1.25×10-8) for either systolic and diastolic blood pressure, hypertension, or for combined traits. Single-trait analyses identified two loci (TARID/TCF21 and LLPH/TMBIM4) and multiple-trait analyses identified one novel locus (FRMD3) for blood pressure. At these three loci, as well as at GRP20/CDH17, associated variants had alleles common only in African-ancestry populations. Functional annotation showed enrichment for genes expressed in immune and kidney cells, as well as in heart and vascular cells/tissues. Experiments driven by these findings and using angiotensin-II induced hypertension in mice showed altered kidney mRNA expression of six genes, suggesting their potential role in hypertension. Our study provides new evidence for genes related to hypertension susceptibility, and the need to study African-ancestry populations in order to identify biologic factors contributing to hypertension.
BACKGROUND - Common diseases such as coronary heart disease (CHD) are complex in etiology. The interaction of genetic susceptibility with lifestyle factors may play a prominent role. However, gene-lifestyle interactions for CHD have been difficult to identify. Here, we investigate interaction of smoking behavior, a potent lifestyle factor, with genotypes that have been shown to associate with CHD risk.
METHODS - We analyzed data on 60 919 CHD cases and 80 243 controls from 29 studies for gene-smoking interactions for genetic variants at 45 loci previously reported to be associated with CHD risk. We also studied 5 loci associated with smoking behavior. Study-specific gene-smoking interaction effects were calculated and pooled using fixed-effects meta-analyses. Interaction analyses were declared to be significant at a value of <1.0×10 (Bonferroni correction for 50 tests).
RESULTS - We identified novel gene-smoking interaction for a variant upstream of the gene. Every T allele of rs7178051 was associated with lower CHD risk by 12% in never-smokers (=1.3×10) in comparison with 5% in ever-smokers (=2.5×10), translating to a 60% loss of CHD protection conferred by this allelic variation in people who smoked tobacco (interaction value=8.7×10). The protective T allele at rs7178051 was also associated with reduced expression in human aortic endothelial cells and lymphoblastoid cell lines. Exposure of human coronary artery smooth muscle cells to cigarette smoke extract led to induction of CONCLUSIONS: Allelic variation at rs7178051 that associates with reduced expression confers stronger CHD protection in never-smokers than in ever-smokers. Increased vascular expression may contribute to the loss of CHD protection in smokers.
© 2017 American Heart Association, Inc.
Atrial fibrillation affects more than 33 million people worldwide and increases the risk of stroke, heart failure, and death. Fourteen genetic loci have been associated with atrial fibrillation in European and Asian ancestry groups. To further define the genetic basis of atrial fibrillation, we performed large-scale, trans-ancestry meta-analyses of common and rare variant association studies. The genome-wide association studies (GWAS) included 17,931 individuals with atrial fibrillation and 115,142 referents; the exome-wide association studies (ExWAS) and rare variant association studies (RVAS) involved 22,346 cases and 132,086 referents. We identified 12 new genetic loci that exceeded genome-wide significance, implicating genes involved in cardiac electrical and structural remodeling. Our results nearly double the number of known genetic loci for atrial fibrillation, provide insights into the molecular basis of atrial fibrillation, and may facilitate the identification of new potential targets for drug discovery.