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Novel regulatory elements that enabled expression of pre-existing immune genes in reproductive tissues and novel immune genes with pregnancy-specific roles in eutherians have shaped the evolution of mammalian pregnancy by facilitating the emergence of novel mechanisms for immune regulation over its course. Trade-offs arising from conflicting fitness effects on reproduction and host defenses have further influenced the patterns of genetic variation of these genes. These three mechanisms (novel regulatory elements, novel immune genes, and trade-offs) played a pivotal role in refining the regulation of maternal immune systems during pregnancy in eutherians, likely facilitating the establishment of prolonged direct maternal-fetal contact in eutherians without causing immunological rejection of the genetically distinct fetus.
© 2019 WILEY Periodicals, Inc.
BACKGROUND - Family screening of a 48-year-old male with recently diagnosed IgG4-related disease (IgG4-RD) revealed unanticipated elevations in plasma IgG4 in his two healthy teenaged sons.
METHODS - We performed gene sequencing, immune cell studies, HLA typing, and analyses of circulating cytotoxic CD4+ T lymphocytes and plasmablasts to seek clues to pathogenesis. DNA from a separate cohort of 99 patients with known IgG4-RD was also sequenced for the presence of genetic variants in a specific gene, FGFBP2.
RESULTS - The three share a previously unreported heterozygous single base deletion in fibroblast growth factor binding protein type 2 (FGFBP2), which causes a frameshift in the coding sequence. The FGFBP2 protein is secreted by cytotoxic T-lymphocytes and binds fibroblast growth factor. The variant sequence in the FGFBP2 protein is predicted to form a disordered random coil rather than a helical-turn-helix structure, unable to adopt a stable conformation. The proband and the two sons had 5-10-fold higher numbers of circulating cytotoxic CD4 + T cells and plasmablasts compared to matched controls. The three members also share a homozygous missense common variant in FGFBP2 found in heterozygous form in ~40% of the population. This common variant was found in 73% of an independent, well characterized IgG4-RD cohort, showing enrichment in idiopathic IgG4-RD.
CONCLUSIONS - The presence of a shared deleterious variant and homozygous common variant in FGFBP2 in the proband and sons strongly implicates this cytotoxic T cell product in the pathophysiology of IgG4-RD. The high prevalence of a common FGFBP2 variant in sporadic IgG4-RD supports the likelihood of participation in disease.
© 2019 The Authors. Molecular Genetics & Genomic Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Hypothalamic melanocortin neurons play a pivotal role in weight regulation. Here, we examined the contribution of Semaphorin 3 (SEMA3) signaling to the development of these circuits. In genetic studies, we found 40 rare variants in SEMA3A-G and their receptors (PLXNA1-4; NRP1-2) in 573 severely obese individuals; variants disrupted secretion and/or signaling through multiple molecular mechanisms. Rare variants in this set of genes were significantly enriched in 982 severely obese cases compared to 4,449 controls. In a zebrafish mutagenesis screen, deletion of 7 genes in this pathway led to increased somatic growth and/or adiposity demonstrating that disruption of Semaphorin 3 signaling perturbs energy homeostasis. In mice, deletion of the Neuropilin-2 receptor in Pro-opiomelanocortin neurons disrupted their projections from the arcuate to the paraventricular nucleus, reduced energy expenditure, and caused weight gain. Cumulatively, these studies demonstrate that SEMA3-mediated signaling drives the development of hypothalamic melanocortin circuits involved in energy homeostasis.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Rare genetic variants cause pulmonary arterial hypertension, but the contribution of common genetic variation to disease risk and natural history is poorly characterised. We tested for genome-wide association for pulmonary arterial hypertension in large international cohorts and assessed the contribution of associated regions to outcomes.
METHODS - We did two separate genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and a meta-analysis of pulmonary arterial hypertension. These GWAS used data from four international case-control studies across 11 744 individuals with European ancestry (including 2085 patients). One GWAS used genotypes from 5895 whole-genome sequences and the other GWAS used genotyping array data from an additional 5849 individuals. Cross-validation of loci reaching genome-wide significance was sought by meta-analysis. Conditional analysis corrected for the most significant variants at each locus was used to resolve signals for multiple associations. We functionally annotated associated variants and tested associations with duration of survival. All-cause mortality was the primary endpoint in survival analyses.
FINDINGS - A locus near SOX17 (rs10103692, odds ratio 1·80 [95% CI 1·55-2·08], p=5·13 × 10) and a second locus in HLA-DPA1 and HLA-DPB1 (collectively referred to as HLA-DPA1/DPB1 here; rs2856830, 1·56 [1·42-1·71], p=7·65 × 10) within the class II MHC region were associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension. The SOX17 locus had two independent signals associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension (rs13266183, 1·36 [1·25-1·48], p=1·69 × 10; and rs10103692). Functional and epigenomic data indicate that the risk variants near SOX17 alter gene regulation via an enhancer active in endothelial cells. Pulmonary arterial hypertension risk variants determined haplotype-specific enhancer activity, and CRISPR-mediated inhibition of the enhancer reduced SOX17 expression. The HLA-DPA1/DPB1 rs2856830 genotype was strongly associated with survival. Median survival from diagnosis in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension with the C/C homozygous genotype was double (13·50 years [95% CI 12·07 to >13·50]) that of those with the T/T genotype (6·97 years [6·02-8·05]), despite similar baseline disease severity.
INTERPRETATION - This is the first study to report that common genetic variation at loci in an enhancer near SOX17 and in HLA-DPA1/DPB1 is associated with pulmonary arterial hypertension. Impairment of SOX17 function might be more common in pulmonary arterial hypertension than suggested by rare mutations in SOX17. Further studies are needed to confirm the association between HLA typing or rs2856830 genotyping and survival, and to determine whether HLA typing or rs2856830 genotyping improves risk stratification in clinical practice or trials.
FUNDING - UK NIHR, BHF, UK MRC, Dinosaur Trust, NIH/NHLBI, ERS, EMBO, Wellcome Trust, EU, AHA, ACClinPharm, Netherlands CVRI, Dutch Heart Foundation, Dutch Federation of UMC, Netherlands OHRD and RNAS, German DFG, German BMBF, APH Paris, INSERM, Université Paris-Sud, and French ANR.
Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an Open Access article under the CC BY 4.0 license. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.
Using an integrated approach to characterize the pancreatic tissue and isolated islets from a 33-year-old with 17 years of type 1 diabetes (T1D), we found that donor islets contained β cells without insulitis and lacked glucose-stimulated insulin secretion despite a normal insulin response to cAMP-evoked stimulation. With these unexpected findings for T1D, we sequenced the donor DNA and found a pathogenic heterozygous variant in the gene encoding hepatocyte nuclear factor-1α (HNF1A). In one of the first studies of human pancreatic islets with a disease-causing HNF1A variant associated with the most common form of monogenic diabetes, we found that HNF1A dysfunction leads to insulin-insufficient diabetes reminiscent of T1D by impacting the regulatory processes critical for glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and suggest a rationale for a therapeutic alternative to current treatment.
BACKGROUND - Alcohol and tobacco use are heritable phenotypes. However, only a small number of common genetic variants have been identified, and common variants account for a modest proportion of the heritability. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the role of low-frequency and rare variants in alcohol and tobacco use.
METHODS - We meta-analyzed ExomeChip association results from eight discovery cohorts and included 12,466 subjects and 7432 smokers in the analysis of alcohol consumption and tobacco use, respectively. The ExomeChip interrogates low-frequency and rare exonic variants, and in addition a small pool of common variants. We investigated top variants in an independent sample in which ICD-9 diagnoses of "alcoholism" (N = 25,508) and "tobacco use disorder" (N = 27,068) had been assessed. In addition to the single variant analysis, we performed gene-based, polygenic risk score (PRS), and pathway analyses.
RESULTS - The meta-analysis did not yield exome-wide significant results. When we jointly analyzed our top results with the independent sample, no low-frequency or rare variants reached significance for alcohol consumption or tobacco use. However, two common variants that were present on the ExomeChip, rs16969968 (p = 2.39 × 10) and rs8034191 (p = 6.31 × 10) located in CHRNA5 and AGPHD1 at 15q25.1, showed evidence for association with tobacco use.
DISCUSSION - Low-frequency and rare exonic variants with large effects do not play a major role in alcohol and tobacco use, nor does the aggregate effect of ExomeChip variants. However, our results confirmed the role of the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 cluster of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit genes in tobacco use.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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.
Genome-wide association studies have identified numerous variants associated with lipid levels; yet, the majority are located in non-coding regions with unclear mechanisms. In the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study (IRASFS), heritability estimates suggest a strong genetic basis: low-density lipoprotein (LDL, h = 0.50), high-density lipoprotein (HDL, h = 0.57), total cholesterol (TC, h = 0.53), and triglyceride (TG, h = 0.42) levels. Exome sequencing of 1,205 Mexican Americans (90 pedigrees) from the IRASFS identified 548,889 variants and association and linkage analyses with lipid levels were performed. One genome-wide significant signal was detected in APOA5 with TG (rs651821, P = 3.67 × 10, LOD = 2.36, MAF = 14.2%). In addition, two correlated SNPs (r = 1.0) rs189547099 (P = 6.31 × 10, LOD = 3.13, MAF = 0.50%) and chr4:157997598 (P = 6.31 × 10, LOD = 3.13, MAF = 0.50%) reached exome-wide significance (P < 9.11 × 10). rs189547099 is an intronic SNP in FNIP2 and SNP chr4:157997598 is intronic in GLRB. Linkage analysis revealed 46 SNPs with a LOD > 3 with the strongest signal at rs1141070 (LOD = 4.30, P = 0.33, MAF = 21.6%) in DFFB. A total of 53 nominally associated variants (P < 5.00 × 10, MAF ≥ 1.0%) were selected for replication in six Mexican-American cohorts (N = 3,280). The strongest signal observed was a synonymous variant (rs1160983, P = 4.44 × 10, MAF = 2.7%) in TOMM40. Beyond primary findings, previously reported lipid loci were fine-mapped using exome sequencing in IRASFS. These results support that exome sequencing complements and extends insights into the genetics of lipid levels.
Genetic association studies often examine features independently, potentially missing subpopulations with multiple phenotypes that share a single cause. We describe an approach that aggregates phenotypes on the basis of patterns described by Mendelian diseases. We mapped the clinical features of 1204 Mendelian diseases into phenotypes captured from the electronic health record (EHR) and summarized this evidence as phenotype risk scores (PheRSs). In an initial validation, PheRS distinguished cases and controls of five Mendelian diseases. Applying PheRS to 21,701 genotyped individuals uncovered 18 associations between rare variants and phenotypes consistent with Mendelian diseases. In 16 patients, the rare genetic variants were associated with severe outcomes such as organ transplants. PheRS can augment rare-variant interpretation and may identify subsets of patients with distinct genetic causes for common diseases.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
BACKGROUND - Associations between traits are prevalent in nature, occurring across a diverse range of taxa and traits. Individual traits may co-evolve with one other, and these correlations can be driven by factors intrinsic or extrinsic to an organism. However, few studies, especially in microbes, have simultaneously investigated both across a broad taxonomic range. Here we quantify pairwise associations among 48 traits across 784 diverse yeast species of the ancient budding yeast subphylum Saccharomycotina, assessing the effects of phylogenetic history, genetics, and ecology.
RESULTS - We find extensive negative (traits that tend to not occur together) and positive (traits that tend to co-occur) pairwise associations among traits, as well as between traits and environments. These associations can largely be explained by the biological properties of the traits, such as overlapping biochemical pathways. The isolation environments of the yeasts explain a minor but significant component of the variance, while phylogeny (the retention of ancestral traits in descendant species) plays an even more limited role. Positive correlations are pervasive among carbon utilization traits and track with chemical structures (e.g., glucosides and sugar alcohols) and metabolic pathways, suggesting a molecular basis for the presence of suites of traits. In several cases, characterized genes from model organisms suggest that enzyme promiscuity and overlapping biochemical pathways are likely mechanisms to explain these macroevolutionary trends. Interestingly, fermentation traits are negatively correlated with the utilization of pentose sugars, which are major components of the plant biomass degraded by fungi and present major bottlenecks to the production of cellulosic biofuels. Finally, we show that mammalian pathogenic and commensal yeasts have a suite of traits that includes growth at high temperature and, surprisingly, the utilization of a narrowed panel of carbon sources.
CONCLUSIONS - These results demonstrate how both intrinsic physiological factors and extrinsic ecological factors drive the distribution of traits present in diverse organisms across macroevolutionary timescales.