Publications by authors named "Nicola D Kerrison"

23 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

GIGYF1 loss of function is associated with clonal mosaicism and adverse metabolic health.

Nat Commun 2021 07 7;12(1):4178. Epub 2021 Jul 7.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Mosaic loss of chromosome Y (LOY) in leukocytes is the most common form of clonal mosaicism, caused by dysregulation in cell-cycle and DNA damage response pathways. Previous genetic studies have focussed on identifying common variants associated with LOY, which we now extend to rarer, protein-coding variation using exome sequences from 82,277 male UK Biobank participants. We find that loss of function of two genes-CHEK2 and GIGYF1-reach exome-wide significance. Rare alleles in GIGYF1 have not previously been implicated in any complex trait, but here loss-of-function carriers exhibit six-fold higher susceptibility to LOY (OR = 5.99 [3.04-11.81], p = 1.3 × 10). These same alleles are also associated with adverse metabolic health, including higher susceptibility to Type 2 Diabetes (OR = 6.10 [3.51-10.61], p = 1.8 × 10), 4 kg higher fat mass (p = 1.3 × 10), 2.32 nmol/L lower serum IGF1 levels (p = 1.5 × 10) and 4.5 kg lower handgrip strength (p = 4.7 × 10) consistent with proposed GIGYF1 enhancement of insulin and IGF-1 receptor signalling. These associations are mirrored by a common variant nearby associated with the expression of GIGYF1. Our observations highlight a potential direct connection between clonal mosaicism and metabolic health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24504-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8263756PMC
July 2021

Genetic architecture of host proteins involved in SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Nat Commun 2020 12 16;11(1):6397. Epub 2020 Dec 16.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Understanding the genetic architecture of host proteins interacting with SARS-CoV-2 or mediating the maladaptive host response to COVID-19 can help to identify new or repurpose existing drugs targeting those proteins. We present a genetic discovery study of 179 such host proteins among 10,708 individuals using an aptamer-based technique. We identify 220 host DNA sequence variants acting in cis (MAF 0.01-49.9%) and explaining 0.3-70.9% of the variance of 97 of these proteins, including 45 with no previously known protein quantitative trait loci (pQTL) and 38 encoding current drug targets. Systematic characterization of pQTLs across the phenome identified protein-drug-disease links and evidence that putative viral interaction partners such as MARK3 affect immune response. Our results accelerate the evaluation and prioritization of new drug development programmes and repurposing of trials to prevent, treat or reduce adverse outcomes. Rapid sharing and detailed interrogation of results is facilitated through an interactive webserver ( https://omicscience.org/apps/covidpgwas/ ).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19996-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7744536PMC
December 2020

Genome-wide association analysis of type 2 diabetes in the EPIC-InterAct study.

Sci Data 2020 11 13;7(1):393. Epub 2020 Nov 13.

Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a global public health challenge. Whilst the advent of genome-wide association studies has identified >400 genetic variants associated with T2D, our understanding of its biological mechanisms and translational insights is still limited. The EPIC-InterAct project, centred in 8 countries in the European Prospective Investigations into Cancer and Nutrition study, is one of the largest prospective studies of T2D. Established as a nested case-cohort study to investigate the interplay between genetic and lifestyle behavioural factors on the risk of T2D, a total of 12,403 individuals were identified as incident T2D cases, and a representative sub-cohort of 16,154 individuals was selected from a larger cohort of 340,234 participants with a follow-up time of 3.99 million person-years. We describe the results from a genome-wide association analysis between more than 8.9 million SNPs and T2D risk among 22,326 individuals (9,978 cases and 12,348 non-cases) from the EPIC-InterAct study. The summary statistics to be shared provide a valuable resource to facilitate further investigations into the genetics of T2D.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41597-020-00716-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7666191PMC
November 2020

Insights into genetic variants associated with NASH-fibrosis from metabolite profiling.

Hum Mol Genet 2020 12;29(20):3451-3463

MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 0SL, UK.

Several genetic discoveries robustly implicate five single-nucleotide variants in the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and fibrosis (NASH-fibrosis), including a recently identified variant in MTARC1. To better understand these variants as potential therapeutic targets, we aimed to characterize their impact on metabolism using comprehensive metabolomics data from two population-based studies. A total of 9135 participants from the Fenland study and 9902 participants from the EPIC-Norfolk cohort were included in the study. We identified individuals with risk alleles associated with NASH-fibrosis: rs738409C>G in PNPLA3, rs58542926C>T in TM6SF2, rs641738C>T near MBOAT7, rs72613567TA>T in HSD17B13 and rs2642438A>G in MTARC1. Circulating levels of 1449 metabolites were measured using targeted and untargeted metabolomics. Associations between NASH-fibrosis variants and metabolites were assessed using linear regression. The specificity of variant-metabolite associations were compared to metabolite associations with ultrasound-defined steatosis, gene variants linked to liver fat (in GCKR, PPP1R3B and LYPLAL1) and gene variants linked to cirrhosis (in HFE and SERPINA1). Each NASH-fibrosis variant demonstrated a specific metabolite profile with little overlap (8/97 metabolites) comprising diverse aspects of lipid metabolism. Risk alleles in PNPLA3 and HSD17B13 were both associated with higher 3-methylglutarylcarnitine and three variants were associated with lower lysophosphatidylcholine C14:0. The risk allele in MTARC1 was associated with higher levels of sphingomyelins. There was no overlap with metabolites that associated with HFE or SERPINA1 variants. Our results suggest a link between the NASH-protective variant in MTARC1 to the metabolism of sphingomyelins and identify distinct molecular patterns associated with each of the NASH-fibrosis variants under investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddaa162DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7116726PMC
December 2020

Genetic architecture of host proteins interacting with SARS-CoV-2.

bioRxiv 2020 Jul 1. Epub 2020 Jul 1.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Strategies to develop therapeutics for SARS-CoV-2 infection may be informed by experimental identification of viral-host protein interactions in cellular assays and measurement of host response proteins in COVID-19 patients. Identification of genetic variants that influence the level or activity of these proteins in the host could enable rapid 'in silico' assessment in human genetic studies of their causal relevance as molecular targets for new or repurposed drugs to treat COVID-19. We integrated large-scale genomic and aptamer-based plasma proteomic data from 10,708 individuals to characterize the genetic architecture of 179 host proteins reported to interact with SARS-CoV-2 proteins or to participate in the host response to COVID-19. We identified 220 host DNA sequence variants acting in (MAF 0.01-49.9%) and explaining 0.3-70.9% of the variance of 97 of these proteins, including 45 with no previously known protein quantitative trait loci (pQTL) and 38 encoding current drug targets. Systematic characterization of pQTLs across the phenome identified protein-drug-disease links, evidence that putative viral interaction partners such as MARK3 affect immune response, and establish the first link between a recently reported variant for respiratory failure of COVID-19 patients at the locus and hypercoagulation, i.e. maladaptive host response. Our results accelerate the evaluation and prioritization of new drug development programmes and repurposing of trials to prevent, treat or reduce adverse outcomes. Rapid sharing and dynamic and detailed interrogation of results is facilitated through an interactive webserver ( https://omicscience.org/apps/covidpgwas/ ).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.07.01.182709DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7337378PMC
July 2020

Genetic predisposition to mosaic Y chromosome loss in blood.

Nature 2019 11 20;575(7784):652-657. Epub 2019 Nov 20.

Genetics of Complex Traits, University of Exeter Medical School, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK.

Mosaic loss of chromosome Y (LOY) in circulating white blood cells is the most common form of clonal mosaicism, yet our knowledge of the causes and consequences of this is limited. Here, using a computational approach, we estimate that 20% of the male population represented in the UK Biobank study (n = 205,011) has detectable LOY. We identify 156 autosomal genetic determinants of LOY, which we replicate in 757,114 men of European and Japanese ancestry. These loci highlight genes that are involved in cell-cycle regulation and cancer susceptibility, as well as somatic drivers of tumour growth and targets of cancer therapy. We demonstrate that genetic susceptibility to LOY is associated with non-haematological effects on health in both men and women, which supports the hypothesis that clonal haematopoiesis is a biomarker of genomic instability in other tissues. Single-cell RNA sequencing identifies dysregulated expression of autosomal genes in leukocytes with LOY and provides insights into why clonal expansion of these cells may occur. Collectively, these data highlight the value of studying clonal mosaicism to uncover fundamental mechanisms that underlie cancer and other ageing-related diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1765-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6887549PMC
November 2019

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

Epigenome-Wide Association Study of Incident Type 2 Diabetes in a British Population: EPIC-Norfolk Study.

Diabetes 2019 12 10;68(12):2315-2326. Epub 2019 Sep 10.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, U.K.

Epigenetic changes may contribute substantially to risks of diseases of aging. Previous studies reported seven methylation variable positions (MVPs) robustly associated with incident type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). However, their causal roles in T2DM are unclear. In an incident T2DM case-cohort study nested within the population-based European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Norfolk cohort, we used whole blood DNA collected at baseline, up to 11 years before T2DM onset, to investigate the role of methylation in the etiology of T2DM. We identified 15 novel MVPs with robust associations with incident T2DM and robustly confirmed three MVPs identified previously (near to , , and ). All 18 MVPs showed directionally consistent associations with incident and prevalent T2DM in independent studies. Further conditional analyses suggested that the identified epigenetic signals appear related to T2DM via glucose and obesity-related pathways acting before the collection of baseline samples. We integrated genome-wide genetic data to identify methylation-associated quantitative trait loci robustly associated with 16 of the 18 MVPs and found one MVP, cg00574958 at , with a possible direct causal role in T2DM. None of the implicated genes were previously highlighted by genetic association studies, suggesting that DNA methylation studies may reveal novel biological mechanisms involved in tissue responses to glycemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/db18-0290DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6868468PMC
December 2019

Generalizability of a Diabetes-Associated Country-Specific Exploratory Dietary Pattern Is Feasible Across European Populations.

J Nutr 2019 06;149(6):1047-1055

German Cancer Research Center [DKFZ], Heidelberg, Germany.

Background: Population-specificity of exploratory dietary patterns limits their generalizability in investigations with type 2 diabetes incidence.

Objective: The aim of this study was to derive country-specific exploratory dietary patterns, investigate their association with type 2 diabetes incidence, and replicate diabetes-associated dietary patterns in other countries.

Methods: Dietary intake data were used, assessed by country-specific questionnaires at baseline of 11,183 incident diabetes cases and 14,694 subcohort members (mean age 52.9 y) from 8 countries, nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study (mean follow-up time 6.9 y). Exploratory dietary patterns were derived by principal component analysis. HRs for incident type 2 diabetes were calculated by Prentice-weighted Cox proportional hazard regression models. Diabetes-associated dietary patterns were simplified or replicated to be applicable in other countries. A meta-analysis across all countries evaluated the generalizability of the diabetes-association.

Results: Two dietary patterns per country/UK-center, of which overall 3 dietary patterns were diabetes-associated, were identified. A risk-lowering French dietary pattern was not confirmed across other countries: pooled HRFrance per 1 SD: 1.00; 95% CI: 0.90, 1.10. Risk-increasing dietary patterns, derived in Spain and UK-Norfolk, were confirmed, but only the latter statistically significantly: HRSpain: 1.09; 95% CI: 0.97, 1.22 and HRUK-Norfolk: 1.12; 95% CI: 1.04, 1.20. Respectively, this dietary pattern was characterized by relatively high intakes of potatoes, processed meat, vegetable oils, sugar, cake and cookies, and tea.

Conclusions: Only few country/center-specific dietary patterns (3 of 18) were statistically significantly associated with diabetes incidence in this multicountry European study population. One pattern, whose association with diabetes was confirmed across other countries, showed overlaps in the food groups potatoes and processed meat with identified diabetes-associated dietary patterns from other studies. The study demonstrates that replication of associations of exploratory patterns with health outcomes is feasible and a necessary step to overcome population-specificity in associations from such analyses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxz031DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6543295PMC
June 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

Associations of Mitochondrial and Nuclear Mitochondrial Variants and Genes with Seven Metabolic Traits.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 01 27;104(1):112-138. Epub 2018 Dec 27.

School of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition, and Program for Personalized and Genomic Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.

Mitochondria (MT), the major site of cellular energy production, are under dual genetic control by 37 mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genes and numerous nuclear genes (MT-nDNA). In the CHARGEmtDNA+ Consortium, we studied genetic associations of mtDNA and MT-nDNA associations with body mass index (BMI), waist-hip-ratio (WHR), glucose, insulin, HOMA-B, HOMA-IR, and HbA1c. This 45-cohort collaboration comprised 70,775 (insulin) to 170,202 (BMI) pan-ancestry individuals. Validation and imputation of mtDNA variants was followed by single-variant and gene-based association testing. We report two significant common variants, one in MT-ATP6 associated (p ≤ 5E-04) with WHR and one in the D-loop with glucose. Five rare variants in MT-ATP6, MT-ND5, and MT-ND6 associated with BMI, WHR, or insulin. Gene-based meta-analysis identified MT-ND3 associated with BMI (p ≤ 1E-03). We considered 2,282 MT-nDNA candidate gene associations compiled from online summary results for our traits (20 unique studies with 31 dataset consortia's genome-wide associations [GWASs]). Of these, 109 genes associated (p ≤ 1E-06) with at least 1 of our 7 traits. We assessed regulatory features of variants in the 109 genes, cis- and trans-gene expression regulation, and performed enrichment and protein-protein interactions analyses. Of the identified mtDNA and MT-nDNA genes, 79 associated with adipose measures, 49 with glucose/insulin, 13 with risk for type 2 diabetes, and 18 with cardiovascular disease, indicating for pleiotropic effects with health implications. Additionally, 21 genes related to cholesterol, suggesting additional important roles for the genes identified. Our results suggest that mtDNA and MT-nDNA genes and variants reported make important contributions to glucose and insulin metabolism, adipocyte regulation, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.12.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6323610PMC
January 2019

Association of Genetically Enhanced Lipoprotein Lipase-Mediated Lipolysis and Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol-Lowering Alleles With Risk of Coronary Disease and Type 2 Diabetes.

JAMA Cardiol 2018 10;3(10):957-966

MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Importance: Pharmacological enhancers of lipoprotein lipase (LPL) are in preclinical or early clinical development for cardiovascular prevention. Studying whether these agents will reduce cardiovascular events or diabetes risk when added to existing lipid-lowering drugs would require large outcome trials. Human genetics studies can help prioritize or deprioritize these resource-demanding endeavors.

Objective: To investigate the independent and combined associations of genetically determined differences in LPL-mediated lipolysis and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) metabolism with risk of coronary disease and diabetes.

Design, Setting, And Participants: In this genetic association study, individual-level genetic data from 392 220 participants from 2 population-based cohort studies and 1 case-cohort study conducted in Europe were included. Data were collected from January 1991 to July 2018, and data were analyzed from July 2014 to July 2018.

Exposures: Six conditionally independent triglyceride-lowering alleles in LPL, the p.Glu40Lys variant in ANGPTL4, rare loss-of-function variants in ANGPTL3, and LDL-C-lowering polymorphisms at 58 independent genomic regions, including HMGCR, NPC1L1, and PCSK9.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Odds ratio for coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes.

Results: Of the 392 220 participants included, 211 915 (54.0%) were female, and the mean (SD) age was 57 (8) years. Triglyceride-lowering alleles in LPL were associated with protection from coronary disease (approximately 40% lower odds per SD of genetically lower triglycerides) and type 2 diabetes (approximately 30% lower odds) in people above or below the median of the population distribution of LDL-C-lowering alleles at 58 independent genomic regions, HMGCR, NPC1L1, or PCSK9. Associations with lower risk were consistent in quintiles of the distribution of LDL-C-lowering alleles and 2 × 2 factorial genetic analyses. The 40Lys variant in ANGPTL4 was associated with protection from coronary disease and type 2 diabetes in groups with genetically higher or lower LDL-C. For a genetic difference of 0.23 SDs in LDL-C, ANGPTL3 loss-of-function variants, which also have beneficial associations with LPL lipolysis, were associated with greater protection against coronary disease than other LDL-C-lowering genetic mechanisms (ANGPTL3 loss-of-function variants: odds ratio, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.52-0.83; 58 LDL-C-lowering variants: odds ratio, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.89-0.91; P for heterogeneity = .009).

Conclusions And Relevance: Triglyceride-lowering alleles in the LPL pathway are associated with lower risk of coronary disease and type 2 diabetes independently of LDL-C-lowering genetic mechanisms. These findings provide human genetics evidence to support the development of agents that enhance LPL-mediated lipolysis for further clinical benefit in addition to LDL-C-lowering therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamacardio.2018.2866DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6217943PMC
October 2018

Circulating Fetuin-A and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Mendelian Randomization Analysis.

Diabetes 2018 06 9;67(6):1200-1205. Epub 2018 Mar 9.

Unit of Nutrition and Cancer, Cancer Epidemiology Research Programme, and Translational Research Laboratory, Catalan Institute of Oncology, Barcelona, Spain.

Fetuin-A, a hepatic-origin protein, is strongly positively associated with risk of type 2 diabetes in human observational studies, but it is unknown whether this association is causal. We aimed to study the potential causal relation of circulating fetuin-A to risk of type 2 diabetes in a Mendelian randomization study with single nucleotide polymorphisms located in the fetuin-A-encoding gene. We used data from eight European countries of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-InterAct case-cohort study including 10,020 incident cases. Plasma fetuin-A concentration was measured in a subset of 965 subcohort participants and 654 case subjects. A genetic score of the single nucleotide polymorphisms was strongly associated with fetuin-A (28% explained variation). Using the genetic score as instrumental variable of fetuin-A, we observed no significant association of a 50 µg/mL higher fetuin-A concentration with diabetes risk (hazard ratio 1.02 [95% CI 0.97, 1.07]). Combining our results with those from the DIAbetes Genetics Replication And Meta-analysis (DIAGRAM) consortium (12,171 case subjects) also did not suggest a clear significant relation of fetuin-A with diabetes risk. In conclusion, although there is mechanistic evidence for an effect of fetuin-A on insulin sensitivity and secretion, this study does not support a strong, relevant relationship between circulating fetuin-A and diabetes risk in the general population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/db17-1268DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6278908PMC
June 2018

A Large-Scale Multi-ancestry Genome-wide Study Accounting for Smoking Behavior Identifies Multiple Significant Loci for Blood Pressure.

Am J Hum Genet 2018 03 15;102(3):375-400. Epub 2018 Feb 15.

Health Disparities Research Section, Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Sciences, National Institute on Aging, NIH, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.

Genome-wide association analysis advanced understanding of blood pressure (BP), a major risk factor for vascular conditions such as coronary heart disease and stroke. Accounting for smoking behavior may help identify BP loci and extend our knowledge of its genetic architecture. We performed genome-wide association meta-analyses of systolic and diastolic BP incorporating gene-smoking interactions in 610,091 individuals. Stage 1 analysis examined ∼18.8 million SNPs and small insertion/deletion variants in 129,913 individuals from four ancestries (European, African, Asian, and Hispanic) with follow-up analysis of promising variants in 480,178 additional individuals from five ancestries. We identified 15 loci that were genome-wide significant (p < 5 × 10) in stage 1 and formally replicated in stage 2. A combined stage 1 and 2 meta-analysis identified 66 additional genome-wide significant loci (13, 35, and 18 loci in European, African, and trans-ancestry, respectively). A total of 56 known BP loci were also identified by our results (p < 5 × 10). Of the newly identified loci, ten showed significant interaction with smoking status, but none of them were replicated in stage 2. Several loci were identified in African ancestry, highlighting the importance of genetic studies in diverse populations. The identified loci show strong evidence for regulatory features and support shared pathophysiology with cardiometabolic and addiction traits. They also highlight a role in BP regulation for biological candidates such as modulators of vascular structure and function (CDKN1B, BCAR1-CFDP1, PXDN, EEA1), ciliopathies (SDCCAG8, RPGRIP1L), telomere maintenance (TNKS, PINX1, AKTIP), and central dopaminergic signaling (MSRA, EBF2).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.01.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5985266PMC
March 2018

An Expanded Genome-Wide Association Study of Type 2 Diabetes in Europeans.

Diabetes 2017 11 31;66(11):2888-2902. Epub 2017 May 31.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, U.K.

To characterize type 2 diabetes (T2D)-associated variation across the allele frequency spectrum, we conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association data from 26,676 T2D case and 132,532 control subjects of European ancestry after imputation using the 1000 Genomes multiethnic reference panel. Promising association signals were followed up in additional data sets (of 14,545 or 7,397 T2D case and 38,994 or 71,604 control subjects). We identified 13 novel T2D-associated loci ( < 5 × 10), including variants near the , , and genes. Our analysis brought the total number of independent T2D associations to 128 distinct signals at 113 loci. Despite substantially increased sample size and more complete coverage of low-frequency variation, all novel associations were driven by common single nucleotide variants. Credible sets of potentially causal variants were generally larger than those based on imputation with earlier reference panels, consistent with resolution of causal signals to common risk haplotypes. Stratification of T2D-associated loci based on T2D-related quantitative trait associations revealed tissue-specific enrichment of regulatory annotations in pancreatic islet enhancers for loci influencing insulin secretion and in adipocytes, monocytes, and hepatocytes for insulin action-associated loci. These findings highlight the predominant role played by common variants of modest effect and the diversity of biological mechanisms influencing T2D pathophysiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/db16-1253DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5652602PMC
November 2017

Genetic variants associated with mosaic Y chromosome loss highlight cell cycle genes and overlap with cancer susceptibility.

Nat Genet 2017 May 27;49(5):674-679. Epub 2017 Mar 27.

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

The Y chromosome is frequently lost in hematopoietic cells, which represents the most common somatic alteration in men. However, the mechanisms that regulate mosaic loss of chromosome Y (mLOY), and its clinical relevance, are unknown. We used genotype-array-intensity data and sequence reads from 85,542 men to identify 19 genomic regions (P < 5 × 10) that are associated with mLOY. Cumulatively, these loci also predicted X chromosome loss in women (n = 96,123; P = 4 × 10). Additional epigenome-wide methylation analyses using whole blood highlighted 36 differentially methylated sites associated with mLOY. The genes identified converge on aspects of cell proliferation and cell cycle regulation, including DNA synthesis (NPAT), DNA damage response (ATM), mitosis (PMF1, CENPN and MAD1L1) and apoptosis (TP53). We highlight the shared genetic architecture between mLOY and cancer susceptibility, in addition to inferring a causal effect of smoking on mLOY. Collectively, our results demonstrate that genotype-array-intensity data enables a measure of cell cycle efficiency at population scale and identifies genes implicated in aneuploidy, genome instability and cancer susceptibility.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3821DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5973269PMC
May 2017

A genomic approach to therapeutic target validation identifies a glucose-lowering GLP1R variant protective for coronary heart disease.

Sci Transl Med 2016 06;8(341):341ra76

Centre for Cancer Genetic Epidemiology, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge, Strangeways Laboratory, Worts Causeway, Cambridge CB1 8RN, UK.

Regulatory authorities have indicated that new drugs to treat type 2 diabetes (T2D) should not be associated with an unacceptable increase in cardiovascular risk. Human genetics may be able to guide development of antidiabetic therapies by predicting cardiovascular and other health endpoints. We therefore investigated the association of variants in six genes that encode drug targets for obesity or T2D with a range of metabolic traits in up to 11,806 individuals by targeted exome sequencing and follow-up in 39,979 individuals by targeted genotyping, with additional in silico follow-up in consortia. We used these data to first compare associations of variants in genes encoding drug targets with the effects of pharmacological manipulation of those targets in clinical trials. We then tested the association of those variants with disease outcomes, including coronary heart disease, to predict cardiovascular safety of these agents. A low-frequency missense variant (Ala316Thr; rs10305492) in the gene encoding glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP1R), the target of GLP1R agonists, was associated with lower fasting glucose and T2D risk, consistent with GLP1R agonist therapies. The minor allele was also associated with protection against heart disease, thus providing evidence that GLP1R agonists are not likely to be associated with an unacceptable increase in cardiovascular risk. Our results provide an encouraging signal that these agents may be associated with benefit, a question currently being addressed in randomized controlled trials. Genetic variants associated with metabolic traits and multiple disease outcomes can be used to validate therapeutic targets at an early stage in the drug development process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.aad3744DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5219001PMC
June 2016

Genetic fine mapping and genomic annotation defines causal mechanisms at type 2 diabetes susceptibility loci.

Nat Genet 2015 Dec 9;47(12):1415-25. Epub 2015 Nov 9.

Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

We performed fine mapping of 39 established type 2 diabetes (T2D) loci in 27,206 cases and 57,574 controls of European ancestry. We identified 49 distinct association signals at these loci, including five mapping in or near KCNQ1. 'Credible sets' of the variants most likely to drive each distinct signal mapped predominantly to noncoding sequence, implying that association with T2D is mediated through gene regulation. Credible set variants were enriched for overlap with FOXA2 chromatin immunoprecipitation binding sites in human islet and liver cells, including at MTNR1B, where fine mapping implicated rs10830963 as driving T2D association. We confirmed that the T2D risk allele for this SNP increases FOXA2-bound enhancer activity in islet- and liver-derived cells. We observed allele-specific differences in NEUROD1 binding in islet-derived cells, consistent with evidence that the T2D risk allele increases islet MTNR1B expression. Our study demonstrates how integration of genetic and genomic information can define molecular mechanisms through which variants underlying association signals exert their effects on disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3437DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4666734PMC
December 2015

Gene-lifestyle interaction and type 2 diabetes: the EPIC interact case-cohort study.

PLoS Med 2014 May 20;11(5):e1001647. Epub 2014 May 20.

Department of Epidemiology, Murcia Regional Health Council, Murcia, Spain; Consorcio de Investigación Biomédica de Epidemiología y Salud Pública, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain; Unit of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, School of Medicine, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain.

Background: Understanding of the genetic basis of type 2 diabetes (T2D) has progressed rapidly, but the interactions between common genetic variants and lifestyle risk factors have not been systematically investigated in studies with adequate statistical power. Therefore, we aimed to quantify the combined effects of genetic and lifestyle factors on risk of T2D in order to inform strategies for prevention.

Methods And Findings: The InterAct study includes 12,403 incident T2D cases and a representative sub-cohort of 16,154 individuals from a cohort of 340,234 European participants with 3.99 million person-years of follow-up. We studied the combined effects of an additive genetic T2D risk score and modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors using Prentice-weighted Cox regression and random effects meta-analysis methods. The effect of the genetic score was significantly greater in younger individuals (p for interaction  = 1.20×10-4). Relative genetic risk (per standard deviation [4.4 risk alleles]) was also larger in participants who were leaner, both in terms of body mass index (p for interaction  = 1.50×10-3) and waist circumference (p for interaction  = 7.49×10-9). Examination of absolute risks by strata showed the importance of obesity for T2D risk. The 10-y cumulative incidence of T2D rose from 0.25% to 0.89% across extreme quartiles of the genetic score in normal weight individuals, compared to 4.22% to 7.99% in obese individuals. We detected no significant interactions between the genetic score and sex, diabetes family history, physical activity, or dietary habits assessed by a Mediterranean diet score.

Conclusions: The relative effect of a T2D genetic risk score is greater in younger and leaner participants. However, this sub-group is at low absolute risk and would not be a logical target for preventive interventions. The high absolute risk associated with obesity at any level of genetic risk highlights the importance of universal rather than targeted approaches to lifestyle intervention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001647DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4028183PMC
May 2014

Long-term risk of incident type 2 diabetes and measures of overall and regional obesity: the EPIC-InterAct case-cohort study.

PLoS Med 2012 5;9(6):e1001230. Epub 2012 Jun 5.

Background: Waist circumference (WC) is a simple and reliable measure of fat distribution that may add to the prediction of type 2 diabetes (T2D), but previous studies have been too small to reliably quantify the relative and absolute risk of future diabetes by WC at different levels of body mass index (BMI).

Methods And Findings: The prospective InterAct case-cohort study was conducted in 26 centres in eight European countries and consists of 12,403 incident T2D cases and a stratified subcohort of 16,154 individuals from a total cohort of 340,234 participants with 3.99 million person-years of follow-up. We used Prentice-weighted Cox regression and random effects meta-analysis methods to estimate hazard ratios for T2D. Kaplan-Meier estimates of the cumulative incidence of T2D were calculated. BMI and WC were each independently associated with T2D, with WC being a stronger risk factor in women than in men. Risk increased across groups defined by BMI and WC; compared to low normal weight individuals (BMI 18.5-22.4 kg/m(2)) with a low WC (<94/80 cm in men/women), the hazard ratio of T2D was 22.0 (95% confidence interval 14.3; 33.8) in men and 31.8 (25.2; 40.2) in women with grade 2 obesity (BMI≥35 kg/m(2)) and a high WC (>102/88 cm). Among the large group of overweight individuals, WC measurement was highly informative and facilitated the identification of a subgroup of overweight people with high WC whose 10-y T2D cumulative incidence (men, 70 per 1,000 person-years; women, 44 per 1,000 person-years) was comparable to that of the obese group (50-103 per 1,000 person-years in men and 28-74 per 1,000 person-years in women).

Conclusions: WC is independently and strongly associated with T2D, particularly in women, and should be more widely measured for risk stratification. If targeted measurement is necessary for reasons of resource scarcity, measuring WC in overweight individuals may be an effective strategy, since it identifies a high-risk subgroup of individuals who could benefit from individualised preventive action.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001230DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3367997PMC
November 2012

Coordinated multitissue transcriptional and plasma metabonomic profiles following acute caloric restriction in mice.

Physiol Genomics 2006 Nov 1;27(3):187-200. Epub 2006 Aug 1.

Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, University College London, Rayne Institute, London, United Kingdom.

Caloric restriction (CR) increases healthy life span in a range of organisms. The underlying mechanisms are not understood but appear to include changes in gene expression, protein function, and metabolism. Recent studies demonstrate that acute CR alters mortality rates within days in flies. Multitissue transcriptional changes and concomitant metabolic responses to acute CR have not been described. We generated whole genome RNA transcript profiles in liver, skeletal muscle, colon, and hypothalamus and simultaneously measured plasma metabolites using proton nuclear magnetic resonance in mice subjected to acute CR. Liver and muscle showed increased gene expressions associated with fatty acid metabolism and a reduction in those involved in hepatic lipid biosynthesis. Glucogenic amino acids increased in plasma, and gene expression for hepatic gluconeogenesis was enhanced. Increased expression of genes for hormone-mediated signaling and decreased expression of genes involved in protein binding and development occurred in hypothalamus. Cell proliferation genes were decreased and cellular transport genes increased in colon. Acute CR captured many, but not all, hepatic transcriptional changes of long-term CR. Our findings demonstrate a clear transcriptional response across multiple tissues during acute CR, with congruent plasma metabolite changes. Liver and muscle switched gene expression away from energetically expensive biosynthetic processes toward energy conservation and utilization processes, including fatty acid metabolism and gluconeogenesis. Both muscle and colon switched gene expression away from cellular proliferation. Mice undergoing acute CR rapidly adopt many transcriptional and metabolic changes of long-term CR, suggesting that the beneficial effects of CR may require only a short-term reduction in caloric intake.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/physiolgenomics.00084.2006DOI Listing
November 2006

Structure, function and evolution of multidomain proteins.

Curr Opin Struct Biol 2004 Apr;14(2):208-16

MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2QH, UK.

Proteins are composed of evolutionary units called domains; the majority of proteins consist of at least two domains. These domains and nature of their interactions determine the function of the protein. The roles that combinations of domains play in the formation of the protein repertoire have been found by analysis of domain assignments to genome sequences. Additional findings on the geometry of domains have been gained from examination of three-dimensional protein structures. Future work will require a domain-centric functional classification scheme and efforts to determine structures of domain combinations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sbi.2004.03.011DOI Listing
April 2004
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