Publications by authors named "Michelle Daya"

38 Publications

Polygenic prediction of atopic dermatitis improves with atopic training and filaggrin factors.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2021 Jun 7. Epub 2021 Jun 7.

Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colo. Electronic address:

Background: While numerous genetic loci associated with atopic dermatitis (AD) have been discovered, to date, work leveraging the combined burden of AD risk variants across the genome to predict disease risk has been limited.

Objectives: This study aims to determine whether polygenic risk scores (PRSs) relying on genetic determinants for AD provide useful predictions for disease occurrence and severity. It also explicitly tests the value of including genome-wide association studies of related allergic phenotypes and known FLG loss-of-function (LOF) variants.

Methods: AD PRSs were constructed for 1619 European American individuals from the Atopic Dermatitis Research Network using an AD training dataset and an atopic training dataset including AD, childhood onset asthma, and general allergy. Additionally, whole genome sequencing data were used to explore genetic scoring specific to FLG LOF mutations.

Results: Genetic scores derived from the AD-only genome-wide association studies were predictive of AD cases (PRS: odds ratio [OR], 1.70; 95% CI, 1.49-1.93). Accuracy was first improved when PRSs were built off the larger atopy genome-wide association studies (PRS: OR, 2.16; 95% CI, 1.89-2.47) and further improved when including FLG LOF mutations (PRS: OR, 3.23; 95% CI, 2.57-4.07). Importantly, while all 3 PRSs correlated with AD severity, the best prediction was from PRS, which distinguished individuals with severe AD from control subjects with OR of 3.86 (95% CI, 2.77-5.36).

Conclusions: This study demonstrates how PRSs for AD that include genetic determinants across atopic phenotypes and FLG LOF variants may be a promising tool for identifying individuals at high risk for developing disease and specifically severe disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2021.05.034DOI Listing
June 2021

Zika Virus Congenital Syndrome and gene variants: insights from a family of dizygotic twins.

Heliyon 2021 Apr 22;7(4):e06878. Epub 2021 Apr 22.

Instituto de Ciências da Saúde, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.

Congenital Zika virus syndrome (CZS) is associated with damage to neural progenitor cells by ZIKA virus infection. There are no accurate statistics on the percentage of pregnant mothers who have had babies affected by the syndrome. Few cases of discordant twins have been described in the literature and, therefore, we hypothesize that the genetic background of the progeny and/or mother may play a role in the fate of the syndrome. We performed a complete exome sequencing in a set of dizygotic individuals and their parents. After that, we selected discordant variants on the MTOR gene between the affected and unaffected twin and we observed a mutation (rs2295079), placed in a region restricted to proximal 5'-UTR, as a strong possible causal variant. In addition, in most brain tissues (including fetal brain) evaluated for expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL), this locus is strongly correlated with post-translational modifications of histones (promoter and enhancer marks) and hypersensitivity to DNAse I (open chromatin mark). Taken together, our data suggest that changes in the MTOR gene may be related to CZS. Additional functional studies should be carried out to prove how and why a MTOR mutation can predispose the fetus to the syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e06878DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8095117PMC
April 2021

Genome-wide association study of asthma, total IgE, and lung function in a cohort of Peruvian children.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2021 Mar 10. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md. Electronic address:

Background: Genetic ancestry plays a role in asthma health disparities.

Objective: Our aim was to evaluate the impact of ancestry on and identify genetic variants associated with asthma, total serum IgE level, and lung function.

Methods: A total of 436 Peruvian children (aged 9-19 years) with asthma and 291 without asthma were genotyped by using the Illumina Multi-Ethnic Global Array. Genome-wide proportions of indigenous ancestry populations from continental America (NAT) and European ancestry from the Iberian populations in Spain (IBS) were estimated by using ADMIXTURE. We assessed the relationship between ancestry and the phenotypes and performed a genome-wide association study.

Results: The mean ancestry proportions were 84.7% NAT (case patients, 84.2%; controls, 85.4%) and 15.3% IBS (15.8%; 14.6%). With adjustment for asthma, NAT was associated with higher total serum IgE levels (P < .001) and IBS was associated with lower total serum IgE levels (P < .001). NAT was associated with higher FEV percent predicted values (P < .001), whereas IBS was associated with lower FEV values in the controls but not in the case patients. The HLA-DR/DQ region on chromosome 6 (Chr6) was strongly associated with total serum IgE (rs3135348; P = 3.438 × 10) and was independent of an association with the haplotype HLA-DQA1∼HLA-DQB1:04.01∼04.02 (P = 1.55 × 10). For lung function, we identified a locus (rs4410198; P = 5.536 × 10) mapping to Chr19, near a cluster of zinc finger interacting genes that colocalizes to the long noncoding RNA CTD-2537I9.5. This novel locus was replicated in an independent sample of pediatric case patients with asthma with similar admixture from Brazil (P = .005).

Conclusion: This study confirms the role of HLA in atopy, and identifies a novel locus mapping to a long noncoding RNA for lung function that may be specific to children with NAT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2021.02.035DOI Listing
March 2021

Sequencing of 53,831 diverse genomes from the NHLBI TOPMed Program.

Nature 2021 02 10;590(7845):290-299. Epub 2021 Feb 10.

The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, USA.

The Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) programme seeks to elucidate the genetic architecture and biology of heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders, with the ultimate goal of improving diagnosis, treatment and prevention of these diseases. The initial phases of the programme focused on whole-genome sequencing of individuals with rich phenotypic data and diverse backgrounds. Here we describe the TOPMed goals and design as well as the available resources and early insights obtained from the sequence data. The resources include a variant browser, a genotype imputation server, and genomic and phenotypic data that are available through dbGaP (Database of Genotypes and Phenotypes). In the first 53,831 TOPMed samples, we detected more than 400 million single-nucleotide and insertion or deletion variants after alignment with the reference genome. Additional previously undescribed variants were detected through assembly of unmapped reads and customized analysis in highly variable loci. Among the more than 400 million detected variants, 97% have frequencies of less than 1% and 46% are singletons that are present in only one individual (53% among unrelated individuals). These rare variants provide insights into mutational processes and recent human evolutionary history. The extensive catalogue of genetic variation in TOPMed studies provides unique opportunities for exploring the contributions of rare and noncoding sequence variants to phenotypic variation. Furthermore, combining TOPMed haplotypes with modern imputation methods improves the power and reach of genome-wide association studies to include variants down to a frequency of approximately 0.01%.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03205-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7875770PMC
February 2021

Whole genome sequencing identifies novel genetic mutations in patients with eczema herpeticum.

Allergy 2021 Aug 15;76(8):2510-2523. Epub 2021 Mar 15.

Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Background: Eczema herpeticum (EH) is a rare complication of atopic dermatitis (AD) caused by disseminated herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection. The role of rare and/or deleterious genetic variants in disease etiology is largely unknown. This study aimed to identify genes that harbor damaging genetic variants associated with HSV infection in AD with a history of recurrent eczema herpeticum (ADEH+).

Methods: Whole genome sequencing (WGS) was performed on 49 recurrent ADEH+ (≥3 EH episodes), 491 AD without a history of eczema herpeticum (ADEH-) and 237 non-atopic control (NA) subjects. Variants were annotated, and a gene-based approach (SKAT-O) was used to identify genes harboring damaging genetic variants associated with ADEH+. Genes identified through WGS were studied for effects on HSV responses and keratinocyte differentiation.

Results: Eight genes were identified in the comparison of recurrent ADEH+to ADEH-and NA subjects: SIDT2, CLEC7A, GSTZ1, TPSG1, SP110, RBBP8NL, TRIM15, and FRMD3. Silencing SIDT2 and RBBP8NL in normal human primary keratinocytes (NHPKs) led to significantly increased HSV-1 replication. SIDT2-silenced NHPKs had decreased gene expression of IFNk and IL1b in response to HSV-1 infection. RBBP8NL-silenced NHPKs had decreased gene expression of IFNk, but increased IL1b. Additionally, silencing SIDT2 and RBBP8NL also inhibited gene expression of keratinocyte differentiation markers keratin 10 (KRT10) and loricrin (LOR).

Conclusion: SIDT2 and RBBP8NL participate in keratinocyte's response to HSV-1 infection. SIDT2 and RBBP8NL also regulate expression of keratinocyte differentiation genes of KRT10 and LOR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/all.14762DOI Listing
August 2021

Loss-of-function genomic variants highlight potential therapeutic targets for cardiovascular disease.

Nat Commun 2020 12 18;11(1):6417. Epub 2020 Dec 18.

The Institute for Translational Genomics and Population Sciences, Department of Pediatrics and Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, Harbor-UCLA, Torrance, CA, USA.

Pharmaceutical drugs targeting dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease (CVD) may increase the risk of fatty liver disease and other metabolic disorders. To identify potential novel CVD drug targets without these adverse effects, we perform genome-wide analyses of participants in the HUNT Study in Norway (n = 69,479) to search for protein-altering variants with beneficial impact on quantitative blood traits related to cardiovascular disease, but without detrimental impact on liver function. We identify 76 (11 previously unreported) presumed causal protein-altering variants associated with one or more CVD- or liver-related blood traits. Nine of the variants are predicted to result in loss-of-function of the protein. This includes ZNF529:p.K405X, which is associated with decreased low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (P = 1.3 × 10) without being associated with liver enzymes or non-fasting blood glucose. Silencing of ZNF529 in human hepatoma cells results in upregulation of LDL receptor and increased LDL uptake in the cells. This suggests that inhibition of ZNF529 or its gene product should be prioritized as a novel candidate drug target for treating dyslipidemia and associated CVD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20086-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7749177PMC
December 2020

Asthma genomics and pharmacogenomics.

Curr Opin Immunol 2020 10 7;66:136-142. Epub 2020 Nov 7.

Department of Internal Medicine, Center for Precision Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, United States. Electronic address:

In this review, we summarize recent published work interrogating the relationship between genetic variation or gene expression regulation across the genome and asthma or asthma treatment outcomes. This includes 11 genome-wide association studies of asthma phenotypes that collectively identified 64 novel loci; transcriptome-wide asthma association studies which identified genes involved in virus recognition, bacterial infection, lung tissue remodeling, eosinophilic and neutrophilic inflammation and genes in the chromosome 17q12 asthma susceptibility locus; and three epigenome-wide studies of asthma that had robust sample sizes and replicated findings. We also highlight pharmacogenomic studies of corticosteroids, bronchodilator response to albuterol and zileuton, although finding from these studies may still be preliminary due to their relatively small sample sizes and limited availability of replication cohorts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.coi.2020.10.001DOI Listing
October 2020

Inherited causes of clonal haematopoiesis in 97,691 whole genomes.

Nature 2020 10 14;586(7831):763-768. Epub 2020 Oct 14.

Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Age is the dominant risk factor for most chronic human diseases, but the mechanisms through which ageing confers this risk are largely unknown. The age-related acquisition of somatic mutations that lead to clonal expansion in regenerating haematopoietic stem cell populations has recently been associated with both haematological cancer and coronary heart disease-this phenomenon is termed clonal haematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP). Simultaneous analyses of germline and somatic whole-genome sequences provide the opportunity to identify root causes of CHIP. Here we analyse high-coverage whole-genome sequences from 97,691 participants of diverse ancestries in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Trans-omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) programme, and identify 4,229 individuals with CHIP. We identify associations with blood cell, lipid and inflammatory traits that are specific to different CHIP driver genes. Association of a genome-wide set of germline genetic variants enabled the identification of three genetic loci associated with CHIP status, including one locus at TET2 that was specific to individuals of African ancestry. In silico-informed in vitro evaluation of the TET2 germline locus enabled the identification of a causal variant that disrupts a TET2 distal enhancer, resulting in increased self-renewal of haematopoietic stem cells. Overall, we observe that germline genetic variation shapes haematopoietic stem cell function, leading to CHIP through mechanisms that are specific to clonal haematopoiesis as well as shared mechanisms that lead to somatic mutations across tissues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2819-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7944936PMC
October 2020

Whole genome sequence analysis of pulmonary function and COPD in 19,996 multi-ethnic participants.

Nat Commun 2020 10 14;11(1):5182. Epub 2020 Oct 14.

The Institute for Translational Genomics and Population Sciences, The Department of Pediatrics, The Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA, 90502, USA.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diagnosed by reduced lung function, is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. We performed whole genome sequence (WGS) analysis of lung function and COPD in a multi-ethnic sample of 11,497 participants from population- and family-based studies, and 8499 individuals from COPD-enriched studies in the NHLBI Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) Program. We identify at genome-wide significance 10 known GWAS loci and 22 distinct, previously unreported loci, including two common variant signals from stratified analysis of African Americans. Four novel common variants within the regions of PIAS1, RGN (two variants) and FTO show evidence of replication in the UK Biobank (European ancestry n ~ 320,000), while colocalization analyses leveraging multi-omic data from GTEx and TOPMed identify potential molecular mechanisms underlying four of the 22 novel loci. Our study demonstrates the value of performing WGS analyses and multi-omic follow-up in cohorts of diverse ancestry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18334-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7598941PMC
October 2020

clustifyr: an R package for automated single-cell RNA sequencing cluster classification.

F1000Res 2020 1;9:223. Epub 2020 Apr 1.

RNA Bioscience Initiative, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora,, CO, 80045, USA.

Assignment of cell types from single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) data remains a time-consuming and error-prone process. Current packages for identity assignment use limited types of reference data and often have rigid data structure requirements. We developed the clustifyr R package to leverage several external data types, including gene expression profiles to assign likely cell types using data from scRNA-seq, bulk RNA-seq, microarray expression data, or signature gene lists. We benchmark various parameters of a correlation-based approach and implement gene list enrichment methods. clustifyr is a lightweight and effective cell-type assignment tool developed for compatibility with various scRNA-seq analysis workflows. clustifyr is publicly available at https://github.com/rnabioco/clustifyr.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.22969.2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7383722PMC
February 2021

A regulatory variant in the C1Q gene cluster is associated with tuberculosis susceptibility and C1qA plasma levels in a South African population.

Immunogenetics 2020 07 19;72(5):305-314. Epub 2020 Jun 19.

DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Tuberculosis Research, SAMRC Centre for Tuberculosis Research, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa.

Several genetic studies have implicated genes that encode for components of the innate immune response in tuberculosis (TB) susceptibility. The complement system is an early player in the innate immune response and provides the host with initial protection by promoting phagocytosis of apoptotic or necrotic cells. The C1q molecule is the first component of the classical pathway that leads to the activation of complement by binding to immune complexes and is encoded by the C1Q gene cluster. We investigated variants in this region to determine its association with TB susceptibility. Five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (rs12033074, rs631090, rs172378, rs587585, and rs665691) were genotyped using TaqMan® SNP assays in 456 TB cases and 448 healthy controls and analysed by logistic regression models. The rs587585 variant showed a significant additive allelic association where the minor G allele was found more frequently in TB cases than in controls in both the discovery (p = 0.023; OR = 1.30; 95% CI, 1.04-1.64) and validation cohort (p = 0.038; OR = 1.31; 95% CI, 1.22-1.40). In addition, we detected increased C1qA expression when comparing cases and controls (p = 0.037) and linked this to a dosage effect of the G allele, which increased C1qA expression in TB cases. This is the first study to report the association of C1Q gene polymorphisms with progression to tuberculosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00251-020-01167-5DOI Listing
July 2020

Association of HLA-DRB1∗09:01 with tIgE levels among African-ancestry individuals with asthma.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2020 07 22;146(1):147-155. Epub 2020 Jan 22.

Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, Colo.

Background: Asthma is a complex chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. Association studies between HLA and asthma were first reported in the 1970s, and yet, the precise role of HLA alleles in asthma is not fully understood. Numerous genome-wide association studies were recently conducted on asthma, but were always limited to simple genetic markers (single nucleotide polymorphisms) and not complex HLA gene polymorphisms (alleles/haplotypes), therefore not capturing the biological relevance of this complex locus for asthma pathogenesis.

Objective: To run the first HLA-centric association study with asthma and specific asthma-related phenotypes in a large cohort of African-ancestry individuals.

Methods: We collected high-density genomics data for the Consortium on Asthma among African-ancestry Populations in the Americas (N = 4993) participants. Using computer-intensive machine-learning attribute bagging methods to infer HLA alleles, and Easy-HLA to infer HLA 5-gene haplotypes, we conducted a high-throughput HLA-centric association study of asthma susceptibility and total serum IgE (tIgE) levels in subjects with and without asthma.

Results: Among the 1607 individuals with asthma, 972 had available tIgE levels, with a mean tIgE level of 198.7 IU/mL. We could not identify any association with asthma susceptibility. However, we showed that HLA-DRB1∗09:01 was associated with increased tIgE levels (P = 8.5 × 10; weighted effect size, 0.51 [0.15-0.87]).

Conclusions: We identified for the first time an HLA allele associated with tIgE levels in African-ancestry individuals with asthma. Our report emphasizes that by leveraging powerful computational machine-learning methods, specific/extreme phenotypes, and population diversity, we can explore HLA gene polymorphisms in depth and reveal the full extent of complex disease associations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2020.01.011DOI Listing
July 2020

De novo mutations across 1,465 diverse genomes reveal mutational insights and reductions in the Amish founder population.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020 02 21;117(5):2560-2569. Epub 2020 Jan 21.

Institute for Genome Sciences, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201;

De novo mutations (DNMs), or mutations that appear in an individual despite not being seen in their parents, are an important source of genetic variation whose impact is relevant to studies of human evolution, genetics, and disease. Utilizing high-coverage whole-genome sequencing data as part of the Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) Program, we called 93,325 single-nucleotide DNMs across 1,465 trios from an array of diverse human populations, and used them to directly estimate and analyze DNM counts, rates, and spectra. We find a significant positive correlation between local recombination rate and local DNM rate, and that DNM rate explains a substantial portion (8.98 to 34.92%, depending on the model) of the genome-wide variation in population-level genetic variation from 41K unrelated TOPMed samples. Genome-wide heterozygosity does correlate with DNM rate, but only explains <1% of variation. While we are underpowered to see small differences, we do not find significant differences in DNM rate between individuals of European, African, and Latino ancestry, nor across ancestrally distinct segments within admixed individuals. However, we did find significantly fewer DNMs in Amish individuals, even when compared with other Europeans, and even after accounting for parental age and sequencing center. Specifically, we found significant reductions in the number of C→A and T→C mutations in the Amish, which seem to underpin their overall reduction in DNMs. Finally, we calculated near-zero estimates of narrow sense heritability ( ), which suggest that variation in DNM rate is significantly shaped by nonadditive genetic effects and the environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1902766117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7007577PMC
February 2020

Use of >100,000 NHLBI Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) Consortium whole genome sequences improves imputation quality and detection of rare variant associations in admixed African and Hispanic/Latino populations.

PLoS Genet 2019 12 23;15(12):e1008500. Epub 2019 Dec 23.

Genomics Platform, Broad Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Most genome-wide association and fine-mapping studies to date have been conducted in individuals of European descent, and genetic studies of populations of Hispanic/Latino and African ancestry are limited. In addition, these populations have more complex linkage disequilibrium structure. In order to better define the genetic architecture of these understudied populations, we leveraged >100,000 phased sequences available from deep-coverage whole genome sequencing through the multi-ethnic NHLBI Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) program to impute genotypes into admixed African and Hispanic/Latino samples with genome-wide genotyping array data. We demonstrated that using TOPMed sequencing data as the imputation reference panel improves genotype imputation quality in these populations, which subsequently enhanced gene-mapping power for complex traits. For rare variants with minor allele frequency (MAF) < 0.5%, we observed a 2.3- to 6.1-fold increase in the number of well-imputed variants, with 11-34% improvement in average imputation quality, compared to the state-of-the-art 1000 Genomes Project Phase 3 and Haplotype Reference Consortium reference panels. Impressively, even for extremely rare variants with minor allele count <10 (including singletons) in the imputation target samples, average information content rescued was >86%. Subsequent association analyses of TOPMed reference panel-imputed genotype data with hematological traits (hemoglobin (HGB), hematocrit (HCT), and white blood cell count (WBC)) in ~21,600 African-ancestry and ~21,700 Hispanic/Latino individuals identified associations with two rare variants in the HBB gene (rs33930165 with higher WBC [p = 8.8x10-15] in African populations, rs11549407 with lower HGB [p = 1.5x10-12] and HCT [p = 8.8x10-10] in Hispanics/Latinos). By comparison, neither variant would have been genome-wide significant if either 1000 Genomes Project Phase 3 or Haplotype Reference Consortium reference panels had been used for imputation. Our findings highlight the utility of the TOPMed imputation reference panel for identification of novel rare variant associations not previously detected in similarly sized genome-wide studies of under-represented African and Hispanic/Latino populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1008500DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6953885PMC
December 2019

Easy-HLA: a validated web application suite to reveal the full details of HLA typing.

Bioinformatics 2020 04;36(7):2157-2164

Nantes Université, Centrale Nantes, CHU Nantes, Inserm, Centre de Recherche en Transplantation et Immunologie, UMR 1064, ITUN, Nantes F-44000, France.

Motivation: The HLA system plays a pivotal role in both clinical applications and immunology research. Typing HLA genes in patient and donor is indeed required in hematopoietic stem cell and solid-organ transplantation, and the histocompatibility complex region exhibits countless genetic associations with immune-related pathologies. Since the discovery of HLA antigens, the HLA system nomenclature and typing methods have constantly evolved, which leads to difficulties in using data generated with older methodologies.

Results: Here, we present Easy-HLA, a web-based software suite designed to facilitate analysis and gain knowledge from HLA typing, regardless of nomenclature or typing method. Easy-HLA implements a computational and statistical method of HLA haplotypes inference based on published reference populations containing over 600 000 haplotypes to upgrade missing or partial HLA information: 'HLA-Upgrade' tool infers high-resolution HLA typing and 'HLA-2-Haplo' imputes haplotype pairs and provides additional functional annotations (e.g. amino acids and KIR ligands). We validated both tools using two independent cohorts (total n = 2500). For HLA-Upgrade, we reached a prediction accuracy of 92% from low- to high-resolution of European genotypes. We observed a 96% call rate and 76% accuracy with HLA-2-Haplo European haplotype pairs prediction. In conclusion, Easy-HLA tools facilitate large-scale immunogenetic analysis and promotes the multi-faceted HLA expertise beyond allelic associations by providing new functional immunogenomics parameters.

Availability And Implementation: Easy-HLA is a web application freely available (free account) at: https://hla.univ-nantes.fr.

Supplementary Information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bioinformatics/btz875DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8248894PMC
April 2020

Whole Genome Sequencing Identifies CRISPLD2 as a Lung Function Gene in Children With Asthma.

Chest 2019 12 23;156(6):1068-1079. Epub 2019 Sep 23.

Department of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA.

Background: Asthma is a common respiratory disorder with a highly heterogeneous nature that remains poorly understood. The objective was to use whole genome sequencing (WGS) data to identify regions of common genetic variation contributing to lung function in individuals with a diagnosis of asthma.

Methods: WGS data were generated for 1,053 individuals from trios and extended pedigrees participating in the family-based Genetic Epidemiology of Asthma in Costa Rica study. Asthma affection status was defined through a physician's diagnosis of asthma, and most participants with asthma also had airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) to methacholine. Family-based association tests for single variants were performed to assess the associations with lung function phenotypes.

Results: A genome-wide significant association was identified between baseline FEV/FVC ratio and a single-nucleotide polymorphism in the top hit cysteine-rich secretory protein LCCL domain-containing 2 (CRISPLD2) (rs12051168; P = 3.6 × 10 in the unadjusted model) that retained suggestive significance in the covariate-adjusted model (P = 5.6 × 10). Rs12051168 was also nominally associated with other related phenotypes: baseline FEV (P = 3.3 × 10), postbronchodilator (PB) FEV (7.3 × 10), and PB FEV/FVC ratio (P = 2.7 × 10). The identified baseline FEV/FVC ratio and rs12051168 association was meta-analyzed and replicated in three independent cohorts in which most participants with asthma also had confirmed AHR (combined weighted z-score P = .015) but not in cohorts without information about AHR.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that using specific asthma characteristics, such as AHR, can help identify more genetically homogeneous asthma subgroups with genotype-phenotype associations that may not be observed in all children with asthma. CRISPLD2 also may be important for baseline lung function in individuals with asthma who also may have AHR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chest.2019.08.2202DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6904857PMC
December 2019

Replicated methylation changes associated with eczema herpeticum and allergic response.

Clin Epigenetics 2019 08 23;11(1):122. Epub 2019 Aug 23.

University of Colorado, Denver, CO, USA.

Background: Although epigenetic mechanisms are important risk factors for allergic disease, few studies have evaluated DNA methylation differences associated with atopic dermatitis (AD), and none has focused on AD with eczema herpeticum (ADEH+). We will determine how methylation varies in AD individuals with/without EH and associated traits. We modeled differences in genome-wide DNA methylation in whole blood cells from 90 ADEH+, 83 ADEH-, and 84 non-atopic, healthy control subjects, replicating in 36 ADEH+, 53 ADEH-, and 55 non-atopic healthy control subjects. We adjusted for cell-type composition in our models and used genome-wide and candidate-gene approaches.

Results: We replicated one CpG which was significantly differentially methylated by severity, with suggestive replication at four others showing differential methylation by phenotype or severity. Not adjusting for eosinophil content, we identified 490 significantly differentially methylated CpGs (ADEH+ vs healthy controls, genome-wide). Many of these associated with severity measures, especially eosinophil count (431/490 sites).

Conclusions: We identified a CpG in IL4 associated with serum tIgE levels, supporting a role for Th2 immune mediating mechanisms in AD. Changes in eosinophil level, a measure of disease severity, are associated with methylation changes, providing a potential mechanism for phenotypic changes in immune response-related traits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13148-019-0714-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6706929PMC
August 2019

Association study in African-admixed populations across the Americas recapitulates asthma risk loci in non-African populations.

Nat Commun 2019 02 20;10(1):880. Epub 2019 Feb 20.

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, 20892, USA.

Asthma is a complex disease with striking disparities across racial and ethnic groups. Despite its relatively high burden, representation of individuals of African ancestry in asthma genome-wide association studies (GWAS) has been inadequate, and true associations in these underrepresented minority groups have been inconclusive. We report the results of a genome-wide meta-analysis from the Consortium on Asthma among African Ancestry Populations (CAAPA; 7009 asthma cases, 7645 controls). We find strong evidence for association at four previously reported asthma loci whose discovery was driven largely by non-African populations, including the chromosome 17q12-q21 locus and the chr12q13 region, a novel (and not previously replicated) asthma locus recently identified by the Trans-National Asthma Genetic Consortium (TAGC). An additional seven loci reported by TAGC show marginal evidence for association in CAAPA. We also identify two novel loci (8p23 and 8q24) that may be specific to asthma risk in African ancestry populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-08469-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6382865PMC
February 2019

African American ancestry contribution to asthma and atopic dermatitis.

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2019 05 15;122(5):456-462. Epub 2019 Feb 15.

Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, Colorado. Electronic address:

Objective: Asthma and atopic dermatitis (AD) are complex diseases with striking disparities across racial and ethnic groups, which may be partly attributable to genetic factors. Here we summarize current knowledge from asthma and AD genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and pharmacogenetic studies in African ancestry populations.

Data Sources: GWAS catalog; PUBMed.

Study Selections: GWAS catalog studies with trait annotations "asthma" and "atopic eczema" and African ancestry individuals in the discovery dataset; the recent CAAPA asthma GWAS; reports on pharmacogenetic studies in asthma and AD.

Results: Although GWASs have revolutionized gene discovery for multiple complex traits, African Americans continue to be severely underrepresented in sufficiently powered genetics studies. Indeed, of the 16 asthma and 21 AD loci that reached genomewide significance in Europeans, very few have replicated in African ancestry populations. Challenges in comparing results from European vs African ancestry cohorts include modest sample size, differences in risk allele frequency, effect size, correlation between genetic variants, and environmental exposure in evolutionary history. African Americans also constitute a small percentage of dermatological and respiratory-focused clinical trials. Pharmacogenetic studies have similarly been focused largely on non-Hispanic whites, despite compelling evidence that genetic variation from different ancestral backgrounds may alter therapeutic efficacy of asthma and AD drugs.

Conclusion: Large-scale genetic studies of asthma and AD in African Americans are essential to reduce research and health disparities and empower scientific discoveries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anai.2019.02.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6500742PMC
May 2019

Author Correction: Assembly of a pan-genome from deep sequencing of 910 humans of African descent.

Nat Genet 2019 02;51(2):364

Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA.

In the version of this article initially published, the statement "there are no pan-genomes for any other animal or plant species" was incorrect. The statement has been corrected to "there are no reported pan-genomes for any other animal species, to our knowledge." We thank David Edwards for bringing this error to our attention. The error has been corrected in the HTML and PDF versions of the article.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0335-1DOI Listing
February 2019

Identification of novel allergic diathesis genes: Are we closer to novel therapeutic targets?

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2019 02 8;143(2):557-559. Epub 2018 Dec 8.

Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, Colo. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2018.11.028DOI Listing
February 2019

Assembly of a pan-genome from deep sequencing of 910 humans of African descent.

Nat Genet 2019 01 19;51(1):30-35. Epub 2018 Nov 19.

Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA.

We used a deeply sequenced dataset of 910 individuals, all of African descent, to construct a set of DNA sequences that is present in these individuals but missing from the reference human genome. We aligned 1.19 trillion reads from the 910 individuals to the reference genome (GRCh38), collected all reads that failed to align, and assembled these reads into contiguous sequences (contigs). We then compared all contigs to one another to identify a set of unique sequences representing regions of the African pan-genome missing from the reference genome. Our analysis revealed 296,485,284 bp in 125,715 distinct contigs present in the populations of African descent, demonstrating that the African pan-genome contains ~10% more DNA than the current human reference genome. Although the functional significance of nearly all of this sequence is unknown, 387 of the novel contigs fall within 315 distinct protein-coding genes, and the rest appear to be intergenic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-018-0273-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6309586PMC
January 2019

A Functional Toll-Interacting Protein Variant Is Associated with Bacillus Calmette-Guérin-Specific Immune Responses and Tuberculosis.

Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2017 08;196(4):502-511

1 University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington.

Rationale: The molecular mechanisms that regulate tuberculosis susceptibility and bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)-induced immunity are mostly unknown. However, induction of the adaptive immune response is a critical step in host control of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Toll-interacting protein (TOLLIP) is a ubiquitin-binding protein that regulates innate immune responses, including Toll-like receptor signaling, which initiate adaptive immunity. TOLLIP variation is associated with susceptibility to tuberculosis, but the mechanism by which it regulates tuberculosis immunity is poorly understood.

Objectives: To identify functional TOLLIP variants and evaluate the role of TOLLIP variation on innate and adaptive immune responses to mycobacteria and susceptibility to tuberculosis.

Methods: We used human cellular immunology approaches to characterize the role of a functional TOLLIP variant on monocyte mRNA expression and M. tuberculosis-induced monocyte immune functions. We also examined the association of TOLLIP variation with BCG-induced T-cell responses and susceptibility to latent tuberculosis infection.

Measurements And Main Results: We identified a functional TOLLIP promoter region single-nucleotide polymorphism, rs5743854, which was associated with decreased TOLLIP mRNA expression in infant monocytes. After M. tuberculosis infection, TOLLIP-deficient monocytes demonstrated increased IL-6, increased nitrite, and decreased bacterial replication. The TOLLIP-deficiency G/G genotype was associated with decreased BCG-specific IL-2 CD4 T-cell frequency and proliferation. This genotype was also associated with increased susceptibility to latent tuberculosis infection.

Conclusions: TOLLIP deficiency is associated with decreased BCG-specific T-cell responses and increased susceptibility to tuberculosis. We hypothesize that the heightened antibacterial monocyte responses after vaccination of TOLLIP-deficient infants are responsible for decreased BCG-specific T-cell responses. Activating TOLLIP may provide a novel adjuvant strategy for BCG vaccination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1164/rccm.201611-2346OCDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5564674PMC
August 2017

The role of ST2 and ST2 genetic variants in schistosomiasis.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2017 Nov 9;140(5):1416-1422.e6. Epub 2017 Feb 9.

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China. Electronic address:

Background: Chronic schistosomiasis and its severe complication, periportal fibrosis, are characterized by a predominant T2 response. To date, specific single nucleotide polymorphisms in ST2 have been some of the most consistently associated genetic variants for asthma.

Objective: We investigated the role of ST2 (a receptor for the T2 cytokine IL-33) in chronic and late-stage schistosomiasis caused by Schistosoma japonicum and the potential effect of ST2 genetic variants on stage of disease and ST2 expression.

Methods: We recruited 947 adult participants (339 with end-stage schistosomiasis and liver cirrhosis, 307 with chronic infections without liver fibrosis, and 301 health controls) from a S japonicum-endemic area (Hubei, China). Six ST2 single nucleotide polymorphisms were genotyped. Serum soluble ST2 (sST2) was measured by ELISA, and ST2 expression in normal liver tissues, Hepatitis B virus-induced fibrotic liver tissues, and S japonicum-induced fibrotic liver tissues was measured by immunohistochemistry.

Results: We found sST2 levels were significantly higher in the end-stage group (36.04 [95% CI, 33.85-38.37]) compared with chronic cases and controls (22.7 [95% CI, 22.0-23.4], P < 1E-10). In addition, S japonicum-induced fibrotic liver tissues showed increased ST2 staining compared with normal liver tissues (P = .0001). Markers rs12712135, rs1420101, and rs6543119 were strongly associated with sST2 levels (P = 2E-10, 5E-05, and 6E-05, respectively), and these results were replicated in an independent cohort from Brazil living in a S mansoni endemic region.

Conclusions: We demonstrate for the first time that end-stage schistosomiasis is associated with elevated sST2 levels and show that ST2 genetic variants are associated with sST2 levels in patients with schistosomiasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2016.12.969DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5550370PMC
November 2017

The identification of novel genetic variants associated with antipsychotic treatment response outcomes in first-episode schizophrenia patients.

Pharmacogenet Genomics 2016 May;26(5):235-42

aDepartment of Genetics, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch Departments of bPsychiatry cMolecular Biology and Human Genetics, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town dDepartment of Statistics, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa eDepartment of Psychiatry, Zucker Hillside Hospital, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, New York, New York, USA.

Background: Although antipsychotics are integral to the treatment of schizophrenia, drug efficacy varies between patients. Although it has been shown that antipsychotic treatment response outcomes are heritable, our understanding of the genetic factors that are involved remains incomplete. Therefore, this study aims to use an unbiased scan of the genome to identify the genetic variants contributing toward antipsychotic treatment response outcomes.

Materials And Methods: This study utilized whole-exome sequencing of patients on extreme ends of the treatment response spectrum (n=11) in combination with results from previous antipsychotic studies to design a panel of variants that were genotyped in two well-characterized first-episode schizophrenia cohorts (n=103 and 87). Association analyses were carried out to determine whether these variants were significantly associated with antipsychotic treatment response outcomes.

Results: Association analyses in the discovery cohort identified two nonsynonymous variants that were significantly associated with antipsychotic treatment response outcomes (P<2.7 × 10(-5)), which were also significantly associated with the corresponding treatment response outcome in an independent replication cohort. Computational approaches showed that both of these nonsynonymous variants--rs13025959 in MYO7B (E1647D) and rs10380 in MTRR (H622Y)--were predicted to impair the functioning of their corresponding protein products.

Conclusion: The use of whole-exome sequencing in a subset of patients from a well-characterized cohort of first-episode schizophrenia patients, for whom longitudinal depot treatment response data were available, allowed for (i) the removal of confounding factors related to treatment progression and compliance and (ii) the identification of two genetic variants that have not been associated previously with antipsychotic treatment response outcomes and whose results were applicable across different classes of antipsychotics. Although the genes that are affected by these variants are involved in pathways that have been related previously to antipsychotic treatment outcomes, the identification of these novel genes will play an important role in improving our understanding of the specific variants involved in antipsychotic treatment response outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/FPC.0000000000000213DOI Listing
May 2016

Activating KIRs alter susceptibility to pulmonary tuberculosis in a South African population.

Tuberculosis (Edinb) 2015 Dec 17;95(6):817-821. Epub 2015 Oct 17.

SA MRC Centre for TB Research, DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa.

We investigate the role of killer immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) genes and human leukocyte antigen class-I (HLA) variants in susceptibility to tuberculosis in a South African population. In a sample set comprising 408 TB cases and 351 healthy controls, we show that the KIR3DS1 gene and KIR genotypes with five or more activating KIRs, and the presence of 3DS1, protect against developing active TB in the South African Coloured population. Several HLA class-I alleles were identified as susceptibility factors for TB disease. However, none of the KIR-HLA compound genotypes were found to be associated with TB. Our data suggests that the KIR genes may play an important role in TB disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tube.2015.09.003DOI Listing
December 2015

TLR1, 2, 4, 6 and 9 Variants Associated with Tuberculosis Susceptibility: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

PLoS One 2015 2;10(10):e0139711. Epub 2015 Oct 2.

SA MRC Centre for Tuberculosis Research and the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical Tuberculosis Research, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg, South Africa.

Background: Studies investigating the influence of toll-like receptor (TLR) polymorphisms and tuberculosis susceptibility have yielded varying and often contradictory results in different ethnic groups. A meta-analysis was conducted to investigate the relationship between TLR variants and susceptibility to tuberculosis, both across and within specific ethnic groups.

Methods: An extensive database search was performed for studies investigating the relationship between TLR and tuberculosis (TB) susceptibility. Data was subsequently extracted from included studies and statistically analysed.

Results: 32 articles involving 18907 individuals were included in this meta-analysis, and data was extracted for 14 TLR polymorphisms. Various genetic models were employed. An increased risk of TB was found for individuals with the TLR2 rs3804100 CC and the TLR9 rs352139 GA and GG genotypes, while decreased risk was identified for those with the AG genotype of TLR1 rs4833095. The T allele of TLR6 rs5743810 conferred protection across all ethnic groups. TLR2 rs5743708 subgroup analysis identified the A allele to increase susceptibility to TB in the Asian ethnic group, while conferring protection in the Hispanic group. The T allele of TLR4 rs4986791 was also found to increase the risk of TB in the Asian subgroup. All other TLR gene variants investigated were not found to be associated with TB in this meta-analysis.

Discussion: Although general associations were identified, most TLR variants showed no significant association with TB, indicating that additional studies investigating a wider range of pattern recognition receptors is required to gain a better understanding of this complex disease.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0139711PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4592262PMC
June 2016
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