Publications by authors named "Jing Hua Zhao"

163 Publications

The trans-ancestral genomic architecture of glycemic traits.

Nat Genet 2021 06 31;53(6):840-860. Epub 2021 May 31.

Department of Epidemiology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Glycemic traits are used to diagnose and monitor type 2 diabetes and cardiometabolic health. To date, most genetic studies of glycemic traits have focused on individuals of European ancestry. Here we aggregated genome-wide association studies comprising up to 281,416 individuals without diabetes (30% non-European ancestry) for whom fasting glucose, 2-h glucose after an oral glucose challenge, glycated hemoglobin and fasting insulin data were available. Trans-ancestry and single-ancestry meta-analyses identified 242 loci (99 novel; P < 5 × 10), 80% of which had no significant evidence of between-ancestry heterogeneity. Analyses restricted to individuals of European ancestry with equivalent sample size would have led to 24 fewer new loci. Compared with single-ancestry analyses, equivalent-sized trans-ancestry fine-mapping reduced the number of estimated variants in 99% credible sets by a median of 37.5%. Genomic-feature, gene-expression and gene-set analyses revealed distinct biological signatures for each trait, highlighting different underlying biological pathways. Our results increase our understanding of diabetes pathophysiology by using trans-ancestry studies for improved power and resolution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-021-00852-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7610958PMC
June 2021

Mendelian randomisation identifies alternative splicing of the FAS death receptor as a mediator of severe COVID-19.

medRxiv 2021 Apr 7. Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Severe COVID-19 is characterised by immunopathology and epithelial injury. Proteomic studies have identified circulating proteins that are biomarkers of severe COVID-19, but cannot distinguish correlation from causation. To address this, we performed Mendelian randomisation (MR) to identify proteins that mediate severe COVID-19. Using protein quantitative trait loci (pQTL) data from the SCALLOP consortium, involving meta-analysis of up to 26,494 individuals, and COVID-19 genome-wide association data from the Host Genetics Initiative, we performed MR for 157 COVID-19 severity protein biomarkers. We identified significant MR results for five proteins: FAS, TNFRSF10A, CCL2, EPHB4 and LGALS9. Further evaluation of these candidates using sensitivity analyses and colocalization testing provided strong evidence to implicate the apoptosis-associated cytokine receptor FAS as a causal mediator of severe COVID-19. This effect was specific to severe disease. Using RNA-seq data from 4,778 individuals, we demonstrate that the pQTL at the locus results from genetically influenced alternate splicing causing skipping of exon 6. We show that the risk allele for very severe COVID-19 increases the proportion of transcripts lacking exon 6, and thereby increases soluble FAS. Soluble FAS acts as a decoy receptor for FAS-ligand, inhibiting apoptosis induced through membrane-bound FAS. In summary, we demonstrate a novel genetic mechanism that contributes to risk of severe of COVID-19, highlighting a pathway that may be a promising therapeutic target.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.04.01.21254789DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8043484PMC
April 2021

Actionable druggable genome-wide Mendelian randomization identifies repurposing opportunities for COVID-19.

Nat Med 2021 04 9;27(4):668-676. Epub 2021 Apr 9.

Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology Research and Information Center (MAVERIC), VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA, USA.

Drug repurposing provides a rapid approach to meet the urgent need for therapeutics to address COVID-19. To identify therapeutic targets relevant to COVID-19, we conducted Mendelian randomization analyses, deriving genetic instruments based on transcriptomic and proteomic data for 1,263 actionable proteins that are targeted by approved drugs or in clinical phase of drug development. Using summary statistics from the Host Genetics Initiative and the Million Veteran Program, we studied 7,554 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and >1 million controls. We found significant Mendelian randomization results for three proteins (ACE2, P = 1.6 × 10; IFNAR2, P = 9.8 × 10 and IL-10RB, P = 2.3 × 10) using cis-expression quantitative trait loci genetic instruments that also had strong evidence for colocalization with COVID-19 hospitalization. To disentangle the shared expression quantitative trait loci signal for IL10RB and IFNAR2, we conducted phenome-wide association scans and pathway enrichment analysis, which suggested that IFNAR2 is more likely to play a role in COVID-19 hospitalization. Our findings prioritize trials of drugs targeting IFNAR2 and ACE2 for early management of COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-021-01310-zDOI Listing
April 2021

Discovery and fine-mapping of height loci via high-density imputation of GWASs in individuals of African ancestry.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 04 12;108(4):564-582. Epub 2021 Mar 12.

The Charles R. Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY 10029, USA.

Although many loci have been associated with height in European ancestry populations, very few have been identified in African ancestry individuals. Furthermore, many of the known loci have yet to be generalized to and fine-mapped within a large-scale African ancestry sample. We performed sex-combined and sex-stratified meta-analyses in up to 52,764 individuals with height and genome-wide genotyping data from the African Ancestry Anthropometry Genetics Consortium (AAAGC). We additionally combined our African ancestry meta-analysis results with published European genome-wide association study (GWAS) data. In the African ancestry analyses, we identified three novel loci (SLC4A3, NCOA2, ECD/FAM149B1) in sex-combined results and two loci (CRB1, KLF6) in women only. In the African plus European sex-combined GWAS, we identified an additional three novel loci (RCCD1, G6PC3, CEP95) which were equally driven by AAAGC and European results. Among 39 genome-wide significant signals at known loci, conditioning index SNPs from European studies identified 20 secondary signals. Two of the 20 new secondary signals and none of the 8 novel loci had minor allele frequencies (MAF) < 5%. Of 802 known European height signals, 643 displayed directionally consistent associations with height, of which 205 were nominally significant (p < 0.05) in the African ancestry sex-combined sample. Furthermore, 148 of 241 loci contained ≤20 variants in the credible sets that jointly account for 99% of the posterior probability of driving the associations. In summary, trans-ethnic meta-analyses revealed novel signals and further improved fine-mapping of putative causal variants in loci shared between African and European ancestry populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.02.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8059339PMC
April 2021

Discovery of rare variants associated with blood pressure regulation through meta-analysis of 1.3 million individuals.

Nat Genet 2020 12 23;52(12):1314-1332. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital, Herlev, Denmark.

Genetic studies of blood pressure (BP) to date have mainly analyzed common variants (minor allele frequency > 0.05). In a meta-analysis of up to ~1.3 million participants, we discovered 106 new BP-associated genomic regions and 87 rare (minor allele frequency ≤ 0.01) variant BP associations (P < 5 × 10), of which 32 were in new BP-associated loci and 55 were independent BP-associated single-nucleotide variants within known BP-associated regions. Average effects of rare variants (44% coding) were ~8 times larger than common variant effects and indicate potential candidate causal genes at new and known loci (for example, GATA5 and PLCB3). BP-associated variants (including rare and common) were enriched in regions of active chromatin in fetal tissues, potentially linking fetal development with BP regulation in later life. Multivariable Mendelian randomization suggested possible inverse effects of elevated systolic and diastolic BP on large artery stroke. Our study demonstrates the utility of rare-variant analyses for identifying candidate genes and the results highlight potential therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-00713-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7610439PMC
December 2020

Genome-wide association study identifies 48 common genetic variants associated with handedness.

Nat Hum Behav 2021 01 28;5(1):59-70. Epub 2020 Sep 28.

Institute of Biological Psychiatry, Mental Health Services of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Handedness has been extensively studied because of its relationship with language and the over-representation of left-handers in some neurodevelopmental disorders. Using data from the UK Biobank, 23andMe and the International Handedness Consortium, we conducted a genome-wide association meta-analysis of handedness (N = 1,766,671). We found 41 loci associated (P < 5 × 10) with left-handedness and 7 associated with ambidexterity. Tissue-enrichment analysis implicated the CNS in the aetiology of handedness. Pathways including regulation of microtubules and brain morphology were also highlighted. We found suggestive positive genetic correlations between left-handedness and neuropsychiatric traits, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Furthermore, the genetic correlation between left-handedness and ambidexterity is low (r = 0.26), which implies that these traits are largely influenced by different genetic mechanisms. Our findings suggest that handedness is highly polygenic and that the genetic variants that predispose to left-handedness may underlie part of the association with some psychiatric disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41562-020-00956-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7116623PMC
January 2021

Evaluation of the Combination of Azithromycin and Naphthoquine in Animal Malaria Models.

Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2020 10 20;64(11). Epub 2020 Oct 20.

State Key Laboratory of Pathogens and Biosecurity, Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, Beijing, China

Combination therapy using drugs with different mechanisms of action is the current state of the art in antimalarial treatment. However, except for artemisinin-based combination therapies, only a few other combinations are now available. Increasing concern regarding the emergence and spread of artemisinin resistance in has led to a need for the development of new antimalarials. Moreover, the efficacy of current available chemoprophylaxis is compromised by drug resistance and noncompliance due to intolerable adverse effects or complicated dosing regimens. Therefore, new antimalarials that are more effective, safer, and more convenient are also urgently needed for malaria chemoprophylaxis. In this study, we assessed the combination of azithromycin and naphthoquine in animal malaria models. A dose-dependent interaction was observed in Peters' 4-day suppressive test on K173-infected mice. Moreover, at inhibition levels of ≥90%, synergistic effects were found for combinations at various ratios. At an optimal dose ratio of 1:1, the combination of azithromycin and naphthoquine acted synergistically even by 4 weeks after the first dose and provided a more effective and sustained prophylaxis than did naphthoquine alone in blood-stage K173 and L challenge models. The ability of the combination to delay and slow down resistance development in K173 was also shown. These results showed clear evidence for the benefit of the combination therapy with azithromycin and naphthoquine in animal malaria models, providing some insight for further development of this therapy for malaria treatment and prophylaxis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AAC.02307-19DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7577135PMC
October 2020

Genome-wide association and Mendelian randomisation analysis provide insights into the pathogenesis of heart failure.

Nat Commun 2020 01 9;11(1):163. Epub 2020 Jan 9.

Department of Biostatistics, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.

Heart failure (HF) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. A small proportion of HF cases are attributable to monogenic cardiomyopathies and existing genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have yielded only limited insights, leaving the observed heritability of HF largely unexplained. We report results from a GWAS meta-analysis of HF comprising 47,309 cases and 930,014 controls. Twelve independent variants at 11 genomic loci are associated with HF, all of which demonstrate one or more associations with coronary artery disease (CAD), atrial fibrillation, or reduced left ventricular function, suggesting shared genetic aetiology. Functional analysis of non-CAD-associated loci implicate genes involved in cardiac development (MYOZ1, SYNPO2L), protein homoeostasis (BAG3), and cellular senescence (CDKN1A). Mendelian randomisation analysis supports causal roles for several HF risk factors, and demonstrates CAD-independent effects for atrial fibrillation, body mass index, and hypertension. These findings extend our knowledge of the pathways underlying HF and may inform new therapeutic strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-13690-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6952380PMC
January 2020

Associations of autozygosity with a broad range of human phenotypes.

Nat Commun 2019 10 31;10(1):4957. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

Department of Neurology, Brain Centre Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, 3584 CX, The Netherlands.

In many species, the offspring of related parents suffer reduced reproductive success, a phenomenon known as inbreeding depression. In humans, the importance of this effect has remained unclear, partly because reproduction between close relatives is both rare and frequently associated with confounding social factors. Here, using genomic inbreeding coefficients (F) for >1.4 million individuals, we show that F is significantly associated (p < 0.0005) with apparently deleterious changes in 32 out of 100 traits analysed. These changes are associated with runs of homozygosity (ROH), but not with common variant homozygosity, suggesting that genetic variants associated with inbreeding depression are predominantly rare. The effect on fertility is striking: F equivalent to the offspring of first cousins is associated with a 55% decrease [95% CI 44-66%] in the odds of having children. Finally, the effects of F are confirmed within full-sibling pairs, where the variation in F is independent of all environmental confounding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-12283-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6823371PMC
October 2019

Structural and functional analyses of hepatitis B virus X protein BH3-like domain and Bcl-xL interaction.

Nat Commun 2019 07 19;10(1):3192. Epub 2019 Jul 19.

National University of Singapore (Suzhou) Research Institute, 377 Lin Quan Street, Suzhou Industrial Park, 215123, Jiangsu, China.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) X protein, HBx, interacts with anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL proteins through its BH3-like motif to promote HBV replication and cytotoxicity. Here we report the crystal structure of HBx BH3-like motif in complex with Bcl-xL where the BH3-like motif adopts a short α-helix to snuggle into a hydrophobic pocket in Bcl-xL via its noncanonical Trp120 residue and conserved Leu123 residue. This binding pocket is ~2 Å away from the canonical BH3-only binding pocket in structures of Bcl-xL with proapoptotic BH3-only proteins. Mutations altering Trp120 and Leu123 in HBx impair its binding to Bcl-xL in vitro and HBV replication in vivo, confirming the importance of this motif to HBV. A HBx BH3-like peptide, HBx-aa113-135, restores HBV replication from a HBx-null HBV replicon, while a shorter peptide, HBx-aa118-127, inhibits HBV replication. These results provide crucial structural and functional insights into drug designs for inhibiting HBV replication and treating HBV patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-11173-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6642116PMC
July 2019

Robust assay for analyzing the neutralization activity of serum specimens against hepatitis B virus.

Emerg Microbes Infect 2019 ;8(1):724-733

a State Key Laboratory of Molecular Vaccinology and Molecular Diagnostics , School of Public Health, Xiamen University , Xiamen , People's Republic of China.

Anti-HBs is a well-known marker of protective capability against HBV. However, little is known about the association between the qAnti-HBs determined by immunoassays and the neutralization activity (NAT) derived from functional assays. We developed an assay for direct measurement of the NAT of human sera. The new assay was highly sensitive, with an analytical sensitivity of 9.6 ± 1.3 mIU/mL for the HBIG standard. For serum detection, the maximum fold dilution required to produce ≥50% inhibition (MDF) of HBV infection was used as the quantitative index. NAT evaluations were conducted for a cohort of 164 HBV-free healthy individuals. The results demonstrated that the NAT positively correlated with the qAnti-HBs ( = 0.473,  < 0.001). ROC analysis indicated that the optimal cutoff value of the qAnti-HBs to discriminate significant NAT (MDF ≥ 8) was 62.9 mIU/mL, with an AUROC of 0.920. Additionally, we found that the qAnti-HBc was another independent parameter positively associated with the NAT ( = 0.300,  < 0.001), which suggested that antibodies against other HBV proteins generated by previous HBV exposure possibly also contribute to the NAT. In summary, the new cell-based assay provides a robust tool to analyse the anti-HBV NAT. HBV: Hepatitis B virus; HBsAg: Hepatitis B surface antigen; Anti-HBs: Hepatitis B surface antibody; HBeAg: Hepatitis B e antigen; Anti-HBc: Hepatitis B core antibody; qAnti-HBs: quantitative hepatitis B surface antibody; qAnti-HBc: quantitative hepatitis B core antibody; qHBeAg: quantitative hepatitis B e antigen; NAT: neutralization activity; HBIG: hepatitis B immune globulin; NTCP: Na-taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide; IRES: internal ribosome entry site; ccHBV: cell culture derived hepatitis B virus; GE/cell: genome equivalent per cell; MOI: multiplicity of infection; Dpi: day post infection; HepG2-TetOn: a HepG2-derived cell line that expresses the doxycycline-regulated transactivator; ROC: receiver operating characteristic curve; AUROC: area under receiver operating characteristic curve; LLOQ: the lower limits of quantification; MDF: the maximum fold dilution required to produce ≥50% inhibition; IC50: half maximal inhibitory concentration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/22221751.2019.1619485DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6542156PMC
August 2019

A multi-ancestry genome-wide study incorporating gene-smoking interactions identifies multiple new loci for pulse pressure and mean arterial pressure.

Hum Mol Genet 2019 08;28(15):2615-2633

Icelandic Heart Association, Kopavogur, Iceland.

Elevated blood pressure (BP), a leading cause of global morbidity and mortality, is influenced by both genetic and lifestyle factors. Cigarette smoking is one such lifestyle factor. Across five ancestries, we performed a genome-wide gene-smoking interaction study of mean arterial pressure (MAP) and pulse pressure (PP) in 129 913 individuals in stage 1 and follow-up analysis in 480 178 additional individuals in stage 2. We report here 136 loci significantly associated with MAP and/or PP. Of these, 61 were previously published through main-effect analysis of BP traits, 37 were recently reported by us for systolic BP and/or diastolic BP through gene-smoking interaction analysis and 38 were newly identified (P < 5 × 10-8, false discovery rate < 0.05). We also identified nine new signals near known loci. Of the 136 loci, 8 showed significant interaction with smoking status. They include CSMD1 previously reported for insulin resistance and BP in the spontaneously hypertensive rats. Many of the 38 new loci show biologic plausibility for a role in BP regulation. SLC26A7 encodes a chloride/bicarbonate exchanger expressed in the renal outer medullary collecting duct. AVPR1A is widely expressed, including in vascular smooth muscle cells, kidney, myocardium and brain. FHAD1 is a long non-coding RNA overexpressed in heart failure. TMEM51 was associated with contractile function in cardiomyocytes. CASP9 plays a central role in cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Identified only in African ancestry were 30 novel loci. Our findings highlight the value of multi-ancestry investigations, particularly in studies of interaction with lifestyle factors, where genomic and lifestyle differences may contribute to novel findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddz070DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6644157PMC
August 2019

Long-term outcome of patients with atrial myxoma after surgical intervention: analysis of 403 cases.

J Geriatr Cardiol 2019 Apr;16(4):338-343

Department of Cardiology, Beijing Anzhen Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.

Objective: To assess long-term survival and late cardiovascular events in patients with atrial myxoma after surgical intervention.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of 403 patients undergoing resection of atrial myxoma from January 2002 to December 2016 was conducted with a median follow-up period of 4.5 (range: 0.5-15) years.

Results: The cross-clamp time and cardiopulmonary bypass times were 41.1 ± 21.4 and 65.2 ± 27.3 min, respectively. A diagnosis of myxoma was histopathologically confirmed in all cases. The early in-hospital mortality rate was 0.7% ( = 3). During the follow-up period, tumor recurrence occurred in six patients and cerebral infarction in nine. There were 48 (11.9%) patients with late onset atrial fibrillation (AF). By multivariate analysis, age (HR = 1.05, 95% CI: 1.02-1.09, < 0.001), left atrial diameter (HR = 1.23, 95% CI: 1.08-1.36, = 0.012), and mitral valve surgery (HR = 1.17, 95% CI: 1.05-1.29, = 0.027) were independent predictors of late onset AF. Twenty-one (5.2%) patients died during the follow-up period. Advanced age (HR = 1.07, 95% CI: 1.04-1.10, = 0.003) and multiple surgical procedures (HR = 1.18, 95% CI: 1.06-1.29, = 0.012) were significantly associated with overall mortality.

Conclusions: Atrial myxoma can be resected with good long-term survival. Late onset AF is common after surgery in patients with atrial myxoma. Advanced age, left atrial diameter, and mitral valve surgery were independent predictors of outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.11909/j.issn.1671-5411.2019.04.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6503479PMC
April 2019

Maternal and fetal genetic effects on birth weight and their relevance to cardio-metabolic risk factors.

Nat Genet 2019 05 1;51(5):804-814. Epub 2019 May 1.

Medical Research Council Integrative Epidemiology Unit, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.

Birth weight variation is influenced by fetal and maternal genetic and non-genetic factors, and has been reproducibly associated with future cardio-metabolic health outcomes. In expanded genome-wide association analyses of own birth weight (n = 321,223) and offspring birth weight (n = 230,069 mothers), we identified 190 independent association signals (129 of which are novel). We used structural equation modeling to decompose the contributions of direct fetal and indirect maternal genetic effects, then applied Mendelian randomization to illuminate causal pathways. For example, both indirect maternal and direct fetal genetic effects drive the observational relationship between lower birth weight and higher later blood pressure: maternal blood pressure-raising alleles reduce offspring birth weight, but only direct fetal effects of these alleles, once inherited, increase later offspring blood pressure. Using maternal birth weight-lowering genotypes to proxy for an adverse intrauterine environment provided no evidence that it causally raises offspring blood pressure, indicating that the inverse birth weight-blood pressure association is attributable to genetic effects, and not to intrauterine programming.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0403-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6522365PMC
May 2019

Multi-ancestry genome-wide gene-smoking interaction study of 387,272 individuals identifies new loci associated with serum lipids.

Nat Genet 2019 04 29;51(4):636-648. Epub 2019 Mar 29.

Human Genomics Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.

The concentrations of high- and low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides are influenced by smoking, but it is unknown whether genetic associations with lipids may be modified by smoking. We conducted a multi-ancestry genome-wide gene-smoking interaction study in 133,805 individuals with follow-up in an additional 253,467 individuals. Combined meta-analyses identified 13 new loci associated with lipids, some of which were detected only because association differed by smoking status. Additionally, we demonstrate the importance of including diverse populations, particularly in studies of interactions with lifestyle factors, where genomic and lifestyle differences by ancestry may contribute to novel findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0378-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6467258PMC
April 2019

New genetic signals for lung function highlight pathways and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease associations across multiple ancestries.

Nat Genet 2019 03 25;51(3):481-493. Epub 2019 Feb 25.

Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Reduced lung function predicts mortality and is key to the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In a genome-wide association study in 400,102 individuals of European ancestry, we define 279 lung function signals, 139 of which are new. In combination, these variants strongly predict COPD in independent populations. Furthermore, the combined effect of these variants showed generalizability across smokers and never smokers, and across ancestral groups. We highlight biological pathways, known and potential drug targets for COPD and, in phenome-wide association studies, autoimmune-related and other pleiotropic effects of lung function-associated variants. This new genetic evidence has potential to improve future preventive and therapeutic strategies for COPD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0321-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6397078PMC
March 2019

Protein-coding variants implicate novel genes related to lipid homeostasis contributing to body-fat distribution.

Nat Genet 2019 03 18;51(3):452-469. Epub 2019 Feb 18.

Department of Biostatistics and Center for Statistical Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Body-fat distribution is a risk factor for adverse cardiovascular health consequences. We analyzed the association of body-fat distribution, assessed by waist-to-hip ratio adjusted for body mass index, with 228,985 predicted coding and splice site variants available on exome arrays in up to 344,369 individuals from five major ancestries (discovery) and 132,177 European-ancestry individuals (validation). We identified 15 common (minor allele frequency, MAF ≥5%) and nine low-frequency or rare (MAF <5%) coding novel variants. Pathway/gene set enrichment analyses identified lipid particle, adiponectin, abnormal white adipose tissue physiology and bone development and morphology as important contributors to fat distribution, while cross-trait associations highlight cardiometabolic traits. In functional follow-up analyses, specifically in Drosophila RNAi-knockdowns, we observed a significant increase in the total body triglyceride levels for two genes (DNAH10 and PLXND1). We implicate novel genes in fat distribution, stressing the importance of interrogating low-frequency and protein-coding variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0334-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6560635PMC
March 2019

Disentangling the genetics of lean mass.

Am J Clin Nutr 2019 02;109(2):276-287

Icelandic Heart Association Holtasmari, Kopavogur, Iceland.

Background: Lean body mass (LM) plays an important role in mobility and metabolic function. We previously identified five loci associated with LM adjusted for fat mass in kilograms. Such an adjustment may reduce the power to identify genetic signals having an association with both lean mass and fat mass.

Objectives: To determine the impact of different fat mass adjustments on genetic architecture of LM and identify additional LM loci.

Methods: We performed genome-wide association analyses for whole-body LM (20 cohorts of European ancestry with n = 38,292) measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) or bioelectrical impedance analysis, adjusted for sex, age, age2, and height with or without fat mass adjustments (Model 1 no fat adjustment; Model 2 adjustment for fat mass as a percentage of body mass; Model 3 adjustment for fat mass in kilograms).

Results: Seven single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in separate loci, including one novel LM locus (TNRC6B), were successfully replicated in an additional 47,227 individuals from 29 cohorts. Based on the strengths of the associations in Model 1 vs Model 3, we divided the LM loci into those with an effect on both lean mass and fat mass in the same direction and refer to those as "sumo wrestler" loci (FTO and MC4R). In contrast, loci with an impact specifically on LM were termed "body builder" loci (VCAN and ADAMTSL3). Using existing available genome-wide association study databases, LM increasing alleles of SNPs in sumo wrestler loci were associated with an adverse metabolic profile, whereas LM increasing alleles of SNPs in "body builder" loci were associated with metabolic protection.

Conclusions: In conclusion, we identified one novel LM locus (TNRC6B). Our results suggest that a genetically determined increase in lean mass might exert either harmful or protective effects on metabolic traits, depending on its relation to fat mass.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqy272DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6500901PMC
February 2019

Multiancestry Genome-Wide Association Study of Lipid Levels Incorporating Gene-Alcohol Interactions.

Am J Epidemiol 2019 06;188(6):1033-1054

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.

A person's lipid profile is influenced by genetic variants and alcohol consumption, but the contribution of interactions between these exposures has not been studied. We therefore incorporated gene-alcohol interactions into a multiancestry genome-wide association study of levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides. We included 45 studies in stage 1 (genome-wide discovery) and 66 studies in stage 2 (focused follow-up), for a total of 394,584 individuals from 5 ancestry groups. Analyses covered the period July 2014-November 2017. Genetic main effects and interaction effects were jointly assessed by means of a 2-degrees-of-freedom (df) test, and a 1-df test was used to assess the interaction effects alone. Variants at 495 loci were at least suggestively associated (P < 1 × 10-6) with lipid levels in stage 1 and were evaluated in stage 2, followed by combined analyses of stage 1 and stage 2. In the combined analysis of stages 1 and 2, a total of 147 independent loci were associated with lipid levels at P < 5 × 10-8 using 2-df tests, of which 18 were novel. No genome-wide-significant associations were found testing the interaction effect alone. The novel loci included several genes (proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 5 (PCSK5), vascular endothelial growth factor B (VEGFB), and apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide 1 (APOBEC1) complementation factor (A1CF)) that have a putative role in lipid metabolism on the basis of existing evidence from cellular and experimental models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwz005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6545280PMC
June 2019

Multi-ancestry study of blood lipid levels identifies four loci interacting with physical activity.

Nat Commun 2019 01 22;10(1):376. Epub 2019 Jan 22.

Laboratory of Genetics and Molecular Cardiology, Heart Institute (InCor), University of São Paulo Medical School, São Paulo, 01246903, SP, Brazil.

Many genetic loci affect circulating lipid levels, but it remains unknown whether lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, modify these genetic effects. To identify lipid loci interacting with physical activity, we performed genome-wide analyses of circulating HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in up to 120,979 individuals of European, African, Asian, Hispanic, and Brazilian ancestry, with follow-up of suggestive associations in an additional 131,012 individuals. We find four loci, in/near CLASP1, LHX1, SNTA1, and CNTNAP2, that are associated with circulating lipid levels through interaction with physical activity; higher levels of physical activity enhance the HDL cholesterol-increasing effects of the CLASP1, LHX1, and SNTA1 loci and attenuate the LDL cholesterol-increasing effect of the CNTNAP2 locus. The CLASP1, LHX1, and SNTA1 regions harbor genes linked to muscle function and lipid metabolism. Our results elucidate the role of physical activity interactions in the genetic contribution to blood lipid levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-08008-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6342931PMC
January 2019

Trans-ethnic association study of blood pressure determinants in over 750,000 individuals.

Nat Genet 2019 01 21;51(1):51-62. Epub 2018 Dec 21.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, UK.

In this trans-ethnic multi-omic study, we reinterpret the genetic architecture of blood pressure to identify genes, tissues, phenomes and medication contexts of blood pressure homeostasis. We discovered 208 novel common blood pressure SNPs and 53 rare variants in genome-wide association studies of systolic, diastolic and pulse pressure in up to 776,078 participants from the Million Veteran Program (MVP) and collaborating studies, with analysis of the blood pressure clinical phenome in MVP. Our transcriptome-wide association study detected 4,043 blood pressure associations with genetically predicted gene expression of 840 genes in 45 tissues, and mouse renal single-cell RNA sequencing identified upregulated blood pressure genes in kidney tubule cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0303-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6365102PMC
January 2019

Genome Analyses of >200,000 Individuals Identify 58 Loci for Chronic Inflammation and Highlight Pathways that Link Inflammation and Complex Disorders.

Am J Hum Genet 2018 11;103(5):691-706

Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.

C-reactive protein (CRP) is a sensitive biomarker of chronic low-grade inflammation and is associated with multiple complex diseases. The genetic determinants of chronic inflammation remain largely unknown, and the causal role of CRP in several clinical outcomes is debated. We performed two genome-wide association studies (GWASs), on HapMap and 1000 Genomes imputed data, of circulating amounts of CRP by using data from 88 studies comprising 204,402 European individuals. Additionally, we performed in silico functional analyses and Mendelian randomization analyses with several clinical outcomes. The GWAS meta-analyses of CRP revealed 58 distinct genetic loci (p < 5 × 10). After adjustment for body mass index in the regression analysis, the associations at all except three loci remained. The lead variants at the distinct loci explained up to 7.0% of the variance in circulating amounts of CRP. We identified 66 gene sets that were organized in two substantially correlated clusters, one mainly composed of immune pathways and the other characterized by metabolic pathways in the liver. Mendelian randomization analyses revealed a causal protective effect of CRP on schizophrenia and a risk-increasing effect on bipolar disorder. Our findings provide further insights into the biology of inflammation and could lead to interventions for treating inflammation and its clinical consequences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.09.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6218410PMC
November 2018

Genetic analysis of over 1 million people identifies 535 new loci associated with blood pressure traits.

Nat Genet 2018 10 17;50(10):1412-1425. Epub 2018 Sep 17.

Laboratory of Genetics and Genomics, NIA/NIH, Baltimore, MD, USA.

High blood pressure is a highly heritable and modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. We report the largest genetic association study of blood pressure traits (systolic, diastolic and pulse pressure) to date in over 1 million people of European ancestry. We identify 535 novel blood pressure loci that not only offer new biological insights into blood pressure regulation but also highlight shared genetic architecture between blood pressure and lifestyle exposures. Our findings identify new biological pathways for blood pressure regulation with potential for improved cardiovascular disease prevention in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0205-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6284793PMC
October 2018

Gene discovery and polygenic prediction from a genome-wide association study of educational attainment in 1.1 million individuals.

Nat Genet 2018 07 23;50(8):1112-1121. Epub 2018 Jul 23.

Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Here we conducted a large-scale genetic association analysis of educational attainment in a sample of approximately 1.1 million individuals and identify 1,271 independent genome-wide-significant SNPs. For the SNPs taken together, we found evidence of heterogeneous effects across environments. The SNPs implicate genes involved in brain-development processes and neuron-to-neuron communication. In a separate analysis of the X chromosome, we identify 10 independent genome-wide-significant SNPs and estimate a SNP heritability of around 0.3% in both men and women, consistent with partial dosage compensation. A joint (multi-phenotype) analysis of educational attainment and three related cognitive phenotypes generates polygenic scores that explain 11-13% of the variance in educational attainment and 7-10% of the variance in cognitive performance. This prediction accuracy substantially increases the utility of polygenic scores as tools in research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0147-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6393768PMC
July 2018

Genome-wide meta-analysis of macronutrient intake of 91,114 European ancestry participants from the cohorts for heart and aging research in genomic epidemiology consortium.

Mol Psychiatry 2019 12 9;24(12):1920-1932. Epub 2018 Jul 9.

Department of Clinical Chemistry, Fimlab Laboratories, Finnish Cardiovascular Research Center - Tampere, Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland.

Macronutrient intake, the proportion of calories consumed from carbohydrate, fat, and protein, is an important risk factor for metabolic diseases with significant familial aggregation. Previous studies have identified two genetic loci for macronutrient intake, but incomplete coverage of genetic variation and modest sample sizes have hindered the discovery of additional loci. Here, we expanded the genetic landscape of macronutrient intake, identifying 12 suggestively significant loci (P < 1 × 10) associated with intake of any macronutrient in 91,114 European ancestry participants. Four loci replicated and reached genome-wide significance in a combined meta-analysis including 123,659 European descent participants, unraveling two novel loci; a common variant in RARB locus for carbohydrate intake and a rare variant in DRAM1 locus for protein intake, and corroborating earlier FGF21 and FTO findings. In additional analysis of 144,770 participants from the UK Biobank, all identified associations from the two-stage analysis were confirmed except for DRAM1. Identified loci might have implications in brain and adipose tissue biology and have clinical impact in obesity-related phenotypes. Our findings provide new insight into biological functions related to macronutrient intake.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-018-0079-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6326896PMC
December 2019

Novel genetic associations for blood pressure identified via gene-alcohol interaction in up to 570K individuals across multiple ancestries.

PLoS One 2018 18;13(6):e0198166. Epub 2018 Jun 18.

Icelandic Heart Association, Kopavogur, Iceland.

Heavy alcohol consumption is an established risk factor for hypertension; the mechanism by which alcohol consumption impact blood pressure (BP) regulation remains unknown. We hypothesized that a genome-wide association study accounting for gene-alcohol consumption interaction for BP might identify additional BP loci and contribute to the understanding of alcohol-related BP regulation. We conducted a large two-stage investigation incorporating joint testing of main genetic effects and single nucleotide variant (SNV)-alcohol consumption interactions. In Stage 1, genome-wide discovery meta-analyses in ≈131K individuals across several ancestry groups yielded 3,514 SNVs (245 loci) with suggestive evidence of association (P < 1.0 x 10-5). In Stage 2, these SNVs were tested for independent external replication in ≈440K individuals across multiple ancestries. We identified and replicated (at Bonferroni correction threshold) five novel BP loci (380 SNVs in 21 genes) and 49 previously reported BP loci (2,159 SNVs in 109 genes) in European ancestry, and in multi-ancestry meta-analyses (P < 5.0 x 10-8). For African ancestry samples, we detected 18 potentially novel BP loci (P < 5.0 x 10-8) in Stage 1 that warrant further replication. Additionally, correlated meta-analysis identified eight novel BP loci (11 genes). Several genes in these loci (e.g., PINX1, GATA4, BLK, FTO and GABBR2) have been previously reported to be associated with alcohol consumption. These findings provide insights into the role of alcohol consumption in the genetic architecture of hypertension.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0198166PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6005576PMC
January 2019
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