Publications by authors named "Rasika A Mathias"

146 Publications

Whole-genome sequencing in diverse subjects identifies genetic correlates of leukocyte traits: The NHLBI TOPMed program.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 Oct 27;108(10):1836-1851. Epub 2021 Sep 27.

Department of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.

Many common and rare variants associated with hematologic traits have been discovered through imputation on large-scale reference panels. However, the majority of genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have been conducted in Europeans, and determining causal variants has proved challenging. We performed a GWAS of total leukocyte, neutrophil, lymphocyte, monocyte, eosinophil, and basophil counts generated from 109,563,748 variants in the autosomes and the X chromosome in the Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) program, which included data from 61,802 individuals of diverse ancestry. We discovered and replicated 7 leukocyte trait associations, including (1) the association between a chromosome X, pseudo-autosomal region (PAR), noncoding variant located between cytokine receptor genes (CSF2RA and CLRF2) and lower eosinophil count; and (2) associations between single variants found predominantly among African Americans at the S1PR3 (9q22.1) and HBB (11p15.4) loci and monocyte and lymphocyte counts, respectively. We further provide evidence indicating that the newly discovered eosinophil-lowering chromosome X PAR variant might be associated with reduced susceptibility to common allergic diseases such as atopic dermatitis and asthma. Additionally, we found a burden of very rare FLT3 (13q12.2) variants associated with monocyte counts. Together, these results emphasize the utility of whole-genome sequencing in diverse samples in identifying associations missed by European-ancestry-driven GWASs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.08.007DOI Listing
October 2021

Whole genome sequence analysis of platelet traits in the NHLBI trans-omics for precision medicine initiative.

Hum Mol Genet 2021 Sep 6. Epub 2021 Sep 6.

Human Genetics Center, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences, School of Public Health, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX, 77030, USA.

Platelets play a key role in thrombosis and hemostasis. Platelet count (PLT) and mean platelet volume (MPV) are highly heritable quantitative traits, with hundreds of genetic signals previously identified, mostly in European ancestry populations. We here utilize whole genome sequencing from NHLBI's Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine Initiative (TOPMed) in a large multi-ethnic sample to further explore common and rare variation contributing to PLT (n = 61 200) and MPV (n = 23 485). We identified and replicated secondary signals at MPL (rs532784633) and PECAM1 (rs73345162), both more common in African ancestry populations. We also observed rare variation in Mendelian platelet related disorder genes influencing variation in platelet traits in TOPMed cohorts (not enriched for blood disorders). For example, association of GP9 with lower PLT and higher MPV was partly driven by a pathogenic Bernard-Soulier syndrome variant (rs5030764, p.Asn61Ser), and the signals at TUBB1 and CD36 were partly driven by loss of function variants not annotated as pathogenic in ClinVar (rs199948010 and rs571975065). However, residual signal remained for these gene-based signals after adjusting for lead variants, suggesting that additional variants in Mendelian genes with impacts in general population cohorts remain to be identified. Gene-based signals were also identified at several GWAS identified loci for genes not annotated for Mendelian platelet disorders (PTPRH, TET2, CHEK2), with somatic variation driving the result at TET2. These results highlight the value of whole genome sequencing in populations of diverse genetic ancestry to identify novel regulatory and coding signals, even for well-studied traits like platelet traits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddab252DOI Listing
September 2021

Multiethnic genome-wide and HLA association study of total serum IgE level.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2021 Sep 15. Epub 2021 Sep 15.

Department of Human Genetics, University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill.

Background: Total serum IgE (tIgE) is an important intermediate phenotype of allergic disease. Whole genome genetic association studies across ancestries may identify important determinants of IgE.

Objective: We aimed to increase understanding of genetic variants affecting tIgE production across the ancestry and allergic disease spectrum by leveraging data from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine program; the Consortium on Asthma among African-ancestry Populations in the Americas (CAAPA); and the Atopic Dermatitis Research Network (N = 21,901).

Methods: We performed genome-wide association within strata of study, disease, and ancestry groups, and we combined results via a meta-regression approach that models heterogeneity attributable to ancestry. We also tested for association between HLA alleles called from whole genome sequence data and tIgE, assessing replication of associations in HLA alleles called from genotype array data.

Results: We identified 6 loci at genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10), including 4 loci previously reported as genome-wide significant for tIgE, as well as new regions in chr11q13.5 and chr15q22.2, which were also identified in prior genome-wide association studies of atopic dermatitis and asthma. In the HLA allele association study, HLA-A∗02:01 was associated with decreased tIgE level (P = 2 × 10; P = 5 × 10; P = 4 × 10), and HLA-DQB1∗03:02 was strongly associated with decreased tIgE level in Hispanic/Latino ancestry populations (P = 8 × 10).

Conclusion: We performed the largest genome-wide association study and HLA association study of tIgE focused on ancestrally diverse populations and found several known tIgE and allergic disease loci that are relevant in non-European ancestry populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2021.09.011DOI Listing
September 2021

Impact of Amerind ancestry and FADS genetic variation on omega-3 deficiency and cardiometabolic traits in Hispanic populations.

Commun Biol 2021 07 28;4(1):918. Epub 2021 Jul 28.

Center for Public Health Genomics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA.

Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) have critical signaling roles that regulate dyslipidemia and inflammation. Genetic variation in the FADS gene cluster accounts for a large portion of interindividual differences in circulating and tissue levels of LC-PUFAs, with the genotypes most strongly predictive of low LC-PUFA levels at strikingly higher frequencies in Amerind ancestry populations. In this study, we examined relationships between genetic ancestry and FADS variation in 1102 Hispanic American participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. We demonstrate strong negative associations between Amerind genetic ancestry and LC-PUFA levels. The FADS rs174537 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) accounted for much of the AI ancestry effect on LC-PUFAs, especially for low levels of n-3 LC-PUFAs. Rs174537 was also strongly associated with several metabolic, inflammatory and anthropomorphic traits including circulating triglycerides (TGs) and E-selectin in MESA Hispanics. Our study demonstrates that Amerind ancestry provides a useful and readily available tool to identify individuals most likely to have FADS-related n-3 LC-PUFA deficiencies and associated cardiovascular risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-02431-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8319323PMC
July 2021

Genome sequencing unveils a regulatory landscape of platelet reactivity.

Nat Commun 2021 06 15;12(1):3626. Epub 2021 Jun 15.

Division of Intramural Research, Population Sciences Branch, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA.

Platelet aggregation at the site of atherosclerotic vascular injury is the underlying pathophysiology of myocardial infarction and stroke. To build upon prior GWAS, here we report on 16 loci identified through a whole genome sequencing (WGS) approach in 3,855 NHLBI Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) participants deeply phenotyped for platelet aggregation. We identify the RGS18 locus, which encodes a myeloerythroid lineage-specific regulator of G-protein signaling that co-localizes with expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) signatures for RGS18 expression in platelets. Gene-based approaches implicate the SVEP1 gene, a known contributor of coronary artery disease risk. Sentinel variants at RGS18 and PEAR1 are associated with thrombosis risk and increased gastrointestinal bleeding risk, respectively. Our WGS findings add to previously identified GWAS loci, provide insights regarding the mechanism(s) by which genetics may influence cardiovascular disease risk, and underscore the importance of rare variant and regulatory approaches to identifying loci contributing to complex phenotypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23470-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8206369PMC
June 2021

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

Whole-genome sequencing association analysis of quantitative red blood cell phenotypes: The NHLBI TOPMed program.

Am J Hum Genet 2021 05 21;108(5):874-893. Epub 2021 Apr 21.

Department of Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS 39216, USA.

Whole-genome sequencing (WGS), a powerful tool for detecting novel coding and non-coding disease-causing variants, has largely been applied to clinical diagnosis of inherited disorders. Here we leveraged WGS data in up to 62,653 ethnically diverse participants from the NHLBI Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) program and assessed statistical association of variants with seven red blood cell (RBC) quantitative traits. We discovered 14 single variant-RBC trait associations at 12 genomic loci, which have not been reported previously. Several of the RBC trait-variant associations (RPN1, ELL2, MIDN, HBB, HBA1, PIEZO1, and G6PD) were replicated in independent GWAS datasets imputed to the TOPMed reference panel. Most of these discovered variants are rare/low frequency, and several are observed disproportionately among non-European Ancestry (African, Hispanic/Latino, or East Asian) populations. We identified a 3 bp indel p.Lys2169del (g.88717175_88717177TCT[4]) (common only in the Ashkenazi Jewish population) of PIEZO1, a gene responsible for the Mendelian red cell disorder hereditary xerocytosis (MIM: 194380), associated with higher mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC). In stepwise conditional analysis and in gene-based rare variant aggregated association analysis, we identified several of the variants in HBB, HBA1, TMPRSS6, and G6PD that represent the carrier state for known coding, promoter, or splice site loss-of-function variants that cause inherited RBC disorders. Finally, we applied base and nuclease editing to demonstrate that the sentinel variant rs112097551 (nearest gene RPN1) acts through a cis-regulatory element that exerts long-range control of the gene RUVBL1 which is essential for hematopoiesis. Together, these results demonstrate the utility of WGS in ethnically diverse population-based samples and gene editing for expanding knowledge of the genetic architecture of quantitative hematologic traits and suggest a continuum between complex trait and Mendelian red cell disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2021.04.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8206199PMC
May 2021

FGL1 as a modulator of plasma D-dimer levels: Exome-wide marker analysis of plasma tPA, PAI-1, and D-dimer.

J Thromb Haemost 2021 08 30;19(8):2019-2028. Epub 2021 May 30.

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Background: Use of targeted exome-arrays with common, rare variants and functionally enriched variation has led to discovery of new genes contributing to population variation in risk factors. Plasminogen activator-inhibitor 1 (PAI-1), tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), and the plasma product D-dimer are important components of the fibrinolytic system. There have been few large-scale genome-wide or exome-wide studies of PAI-1, tPA, and D-dimer.

Objectives: We sought to discover new genetic loci contributing to variation in these traits using an exome-array approach.

Methods: Cohort-level analyses and fixed effects meta-analyses of PAI-1 (n = 15 603), tPA (n = 6876,) and D-dimer (n = 19 306) from 12 cohorts of European ancestry with diverse study design were conducted, including single-variant analyses and gene-based burden testing.

Results: Five variants located in NME7, FGL1, and the fibrinogen locus, all associated with D-dimer levels, achieved genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10 ). Replication was sought for these 5 variants, as well as 45 well-imputed variants with P < 1 × 10 in the discovery using an independent cohort. Replication was observed for three out of the five significant associations, including a novel and uncommon (0.013 allele frequency) coding variant p.Trp256Leu in FGL1 (fibrinogen-like-1) with increased plasma D-dimer levels. Additionally, a candidate-gene approach revealed a suggestive association for a coding variant (rs143202684-C) in SERPINB2, and suggestive associations with consistent effect in the replication analysis include an intronic variant (rs11057830-A) in SCARB1 associated with increased D-dimer levels.

Conclusion: This work provides new evidence for a role of FGL1 in hemostasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jth.15345DOI Listing
August 2021

A System for Phenotype Harmonization in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) Program.

Am J Epidemiol 2021 10;190(10):1977-1992

Genotype-phenotype association studies often combine phenotype data from multiple studies to increase statistical power. Harmonization of the data usually requires substantial effort due to heterogeneity in phenotype definitions, study design, data collection procedures, and data-set organization. Here we describe a centralized system for phenotype harmonization that includes input from phenotype domain and study experts, quality control, documentation, reproducible results, and data-sharing mechanisms. This system was developed for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) program, which is generating genomic and other -omics data for more than 80 studies with extensive phenotype data. To date, 63 phenotypes have been harmonized across thousands of participants (recruited in 1948-2012) from up to 17 studies per phenotype. Here we discuss challenges in this undertaking and how they were addressed. The harmonized phenotype data and associated documentation have been submitted to National Institutes of Health data repositories for controlled access by the scientific community. We also provide materials to facilitate future harmonization efforts by the community, which include 1) the software code used to generate the 63 harmonized phenotypes, enabling others to reproduce, modify, or extend these harmonizations to additional studies, and 2) the results of labeling thousands of phenotype variables with controlled vocabulary terms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwab115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8485147PMC
October 2021

Chromosome Xq23 is associated with lower atherogenic lipid concentrations and favorable cardiometabolic indices.

Nat Commun 2021 04 12;12(1):2182. Epub 2021 Apr 12.

Division of Cardiology, George Washington University School of Medicine and Healthcare Sciences, Washington, DC, USA.

Autosomal genetic analyses of blood lipids have yielded key insights for coronary heart disease (CHD). However, X chromosome genetic variation is understudied for blood lipids in large sample sizes. We now analyze genetic and blood lipid data in a high-coverage whole X chromosome sequencing study of 65,322 multi-ancestry participants and perform replication among 456,893 European participants. Common alleles on chromosome Xq23 are strongly associated with reduced total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides (min P = 8.5 × 10), with similar effects for males and females. Chromosome Xq23 lipid-lowering alleles are associated with reduced odds for CHD among 42,545 cases and 591,247 controls (P = 1.7 × 10), and reduced odds for diabetes mellitus type 2 among 54,095 cases and 573,885 controls (P = 1.4 × 10). Although we observe an association with increased BMI, waist-to-hip ratio adjusted for BMI is reduced, bioimpedance analyses indicate increased gluteofemoral fat, and abdominal MRI analyses indicate reduced visceral adiposity. Co-localization analyses strongly correlate increased CHRDL1 gene expression, particularly in adipose tissue, with reduced concentrations of blood lipids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22339-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8042019PMC
April 2021

Gene and protein expression in human megakaryocytes derived from induced pluripotent stem cells.

J Thromb Haemost 2021 07 6;19(7):1783-1799. Epub 2021 May 6.

The GeneSTAR Program, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Background: There is interest in deriving megakaryocytes (MKs) from pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) for biological studies. We previously found that genomic structural integrity and genotype concordance is maintained in iPSC-derived MKs.

Objective: To establish a comprehensive dataset of genes and proteins expressed in iPSC-derived MKs.

Methods: iPSCs were reprogrammed from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (MNCs) and MKs were derived from the iPSCs in 194 healthy European American and African American subjects. mRNA was isolated and gene expression measured by RNA sequencing. Protein expression was measured in 62 of the subjects using mass spectrometry.

Results And Conclusions: MKs expressed genes and proteins known to be important in MK and platelet function and demonstrated good agreement with previous studies in human MKs derived from CD34+ progenitor cells. The percent of cells expressing the MK markers CD41 and CD42a was consistent in biological replicates, but variable across subjects, suggesting that unidentified subject-specific factors determine differentiation of MKs from iPSCs. Gene and protein sets important in platelet function were associated with increasing expression of CD41/42a, while those related to more basic cellular functions were associated with lower CD41/42a expression. There was differential gene expression by the sex and race (but not age) of the subject. Numerous genes and proteins were highly expressed in MKs but not known to play a role in MK or platelet function; these represent excellent candidates for future study of hematopoiesis, platelet formation, and/or platelet function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jth.15334DOI Listing
July 2021

Robust, flexible, and scalable tests for Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium across diverse ancestries.

Genetics 2021 05;218(1)

Department of Biochemistry, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.

Traditional Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) tests (the χ2 test and the exact test) have long been used as a metric for evaluating genotype quality, as technical artifacts leading to incorrect genotype calls often can be identified as deviations from HWE. However, in data sets composed of individuals from diverse ancestries, HWE can be violated even without genotyping error, complicating the use of HWE testing to assess genotype data quality. In this manuscript, we present the Robust Unified Test for HWE (RUTH) to test for HWE while accounting for population structure and genotype uncertainty, and to evaluate the impact of population heterogeneity and genotype uncertainty on the standard HWE tests and alternative methods using simulated and real sequence data sets. Our results demonstrate that ignoring population structure or genotype uncertainty in HWE tests can inflate false-positive rates by many orders of magnitude. Our evaluations demonstrate different tradeoffs between false positives and statistical power across the methods, with RUTH consistently among the best across all evaluations. RUTH is implemented as a practical and scalable software tool to rapidly perform HWE tests across millions of markers and hundreds of thousands of individuals while supporting standard VCF/BCF formats. RUTH is publicly available at https://www.github.com/statgen/ruth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/genetics/iyab044DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8128395PMC
May 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
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8429514PMC
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 08 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

Current insights into the genetics of food allergy.

J Allergy Clin Immunol 2021 01 5;147(1):15-28. Epub 2021 Jan 5.

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

Food allergy (FA), a growing public health burden in the United States, and familial aggregation studies support strong roles for both genes and environment in FA risk. Deepening our understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms driving FAs is paramount to improving its prevention, diagnosis, and clinical management. In this review, we document lessons learned from the genetics of FA that have aided our understanding of these mechanisms. Although current genetic association studies suffer from low power, heterogeneity in definition of FA, and difficulty in our ability to truly disentangle FA from food sensitization (FS) and general atopy genetics, they reveal a set of genetic loci, genes, and variants that continue to implicate the importance of barrier and immune function genes across the atopic march, and FA in particular. The largest reported effects on FA are from MALT1 (odds ratio, 10.99), FLG (average odds ratio, ∼2.9), and HLA (average odds ratio, ∼2.03). The biggest challenge in the field of FA genetics is to elucidate the specific mechanism of action on FA risk and pathogenesis for these loci, and integrative approaches including genetics/genomics with transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics will be critical next steps to translating these genetic insights into practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2020.10.039DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8261836PMC
January 2021

Whole genome sequence analyses of eGFR in 23,732 people representing multiple ancestries in the NHLBI trans-omics for precision medicine (TOPMed) consortium.

EBioMedicine 2021 Jan 6;63:103157. Epub 2021 Jan 6.

Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, United States.

Background: Genetic factors that influence kidney traits have been understudied for low frequency and ancestry-specific variants.

Methods: We combined whole genome sequencing (WGS) data from 23,732 participants from 10 NHLBI Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) Program multi-ethnic studies to identify novel loci for estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). Participants included European, African, East Asian, and Hispanic ancestries. We applied linear mixed models using a genetic relationship matrix estimated from the WGS data and adjusted for age, sex, study, and ethnicity.

Findings: When testing single variants, we identified three novel loci driven by low frequency variants more commonly observed in non-European ancestry (PRKAA2, rs180996919, minor allele frequency [MAF] 0.04%, P = 6.1 × 10; METTL8, rs116951054, MAF 0.09%, P = 4.5 × 10; and MATK, rs539182790, MAF 0.05%, P = 3.4 × 10). We also replicated two known loci for common variants (rs2461702, MAF=0.49, P = 1.2 × 10, nearest gene GATM, and rs71147340, MAF=0.34, P = 3.3 × 10, CDK12). Testing aggregated variants within a gene identified the MAF gene. A statistical approach based on local ancestry helped to identify replication samples for ancestry-specific variants.

Interpretation: This study highlights challenges in studying variants influencing kidney traits that are low frequency in populations and more common in non-European ancestry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2020.103157DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7804602PMC
January 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

Genetic loci associated with prevalent and incident myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease in the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Consortium.

PLoS One 2020 13;15(11):e0230035. Epub 2020 Nov 13.

The Institute for Translational Genomics and Population Sciences, Department of Pediatrics, The Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California, United States of America.

Background: Genome-wide association studies have identified multiple genomic loci associated with coronary artery disease, but most are common variants in non-coding regions that provide limited information on causal genes and etiology of the disease. To overcome the limited scope that common variants provide, we focused our investigation on low-frequency and rare sequence variations primarily residing in coding regions of the genome.

Methods And Results: Using samples of individuals of European ancestry from ten cohorts within the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) consortium, both cross-sectional and prospective analyses were conducted to examine associations between genetic variants and myocardial infarction (MI), coronary heart disease (CHD), and all-cause mortality following these events. For prevalent events, a total of 27,349 participants of European ancestry, including 1831 prevalent MI cases and 2518 prevalent CHD cases were used. For incident cases, a total of 55,736 participants of European ancestry were included (3,031 incident MI cases and 5,425 incident CHD cases). There were 1,860 all-cause deaths among the 3,751 MI and CHD cases from six cohorts that contributed to the analysis of all-cause mortality. Single variant and gene-based analyses were performed separately in each cohort and then meta-analyzed for each outcome. A low-frequency intronic variant (rs988583) in PLCL1 was significantly associated with prevalent MI (OR = 1.80, 95% confidence interval: 1.43, 2.27; P = 7.12 × 10-7). We conducted gene-based burden tests for genes with a cumulative minor allele count (cMAC) ≥ 5 and variants with minor allele frequency (MAF) < 5%. TMPRSS5 and LDLRAD1 were significantly associated with prevalent MI and CHD, respectively, and RC3H2 and ANGPTL4 were significantly associated with incident MI and CHD, respectively. No loci were significantly associated with all-cause mortality following a MI or CHD event.

Conclusion: This study identified one known locus (ANGPTL4) and four new loci (PLCL1, RC3H2, TMPRSS5, and LDLRAD1) associated with cardiovascular disease risk that warrant further investigation.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0230035PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7665790PMC
December 2020

Transcriptional profile of platelets and iPSC-derived megakaryocytes from whole-genome and RNA sequencing.

Blood 2021 02;137(7):959-968

The GeneSTAR Research Program.

Genome-wide association studies have identified common variants associated with platelet-related phenotypes, but because these variants are largely intronic or intergenic, their link to platelet biology is unclear. In 290 normal subjects from the GeneSTAR Research Study (110 African Americans [AAs] and 180 European Americans [EAs]), we generated whole-genome sequence data from whole blood and RNA sequence data from extracted nonribosomal RNA from 185 induced pluripotent stem cell-derived megakaryocyte (MK) cell lines (platelet precursor cells) and 290 blood platelet samples from these subjects. Using eigenMT software to select the peak single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) for each expressed gene, and meta-analyzing the results of AAs and EAs, we identify (q-value < 0.05) 946 cis-expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) in derived MKs and 1830 cis-eQTLs in blood platelets. Among the 57 eQTLs shared between the 2 tissues, the estimated directions of effect are very consistent (98.2% concordance). A high proportion of detected cis-eQTLs (74.9% in MKs and 84.3% in platelets) are unique to MKs and platelets compared with peak-associated SNP-expressed gene pairs of 48 other tissue types that are reported in version V7 of the Genotype-Tissue Expression Project. The locations of our identified eQTLs are significantly enriched for overlap with several annotation tracks highlighting genomic regions with specific functionality in MKs, including MK-specific DNAse hotspots, H3K27-acetylation marks, H3K4-methylation marks, enhancers, and superenhancers. These results offer insights into the regulatory signature of MKs and platelets, with significant overlap in genes expressed, eQTLs detected, and enrichment within known superenhancers relevant to platelet biology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020006115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7918180PMC
February 2021

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

FADS genetic and metabolomic analyses identify the ∆5 desaturase (FADS1) step as a critical control point in the formation of biologically important lipids.

Sci Rep 2020 09 28;10(1):15873. Epub 2020 Sep 28.

Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, 85719, USA.

Humans have undergone intense evolutionary selection to optimize their capacity to generate necessary quantities of long chain (LC-) polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)-containing lipids. To better understand the impact of genetic variation within a locus of three FADS genes (FADS1, FADS2, and FADS3) on a diverse family of lipids, we examined the associations of 247 lipid metabolites (including four major classes of LC-PUFA-containing molecules and signaling molecules) with common and low-frequency genetic variants located within the FADS locus. Genetic variation in the FADS locus was strongly associated (p < 1.2 × 10) with 52 LC-PUFA-containing lipids and signaling molecules, including free fatty acids, phospholipids, lyso-phospholipids, and an endocannabinoid. Notably, the majority (80%) of FADS-associated lipids were not significantly associated with genetic variants outside of this FADS locus. These findings highlight the central role genetic variation at the FADS locus plays in regulating levels of physiologically critical LC-PUFA-containing lipids that participate in innate immunity, energy homeostasis, and brain development/function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-71948-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7522985PMC
September 2020

Dynamic incorporation of multiple in silico functional annotations empowers rare variant association analysis of large whole-genome sequencing studies at scale.

Nat Genet 2020 09 24;52(9):969-983. Epub 2020 Aug 24.

Department of Data Sciences, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.

Large-scale whole-genome sequencing studies have enabled the analysis of rare variants (RVs) associated with complex phenotypes. Commonly used RV association tests have limited scope to leverage variant functions. We propose STAAR (variant-set test for association using annotation information), a scalable and powerful RV association test method that effectively incorporates both variant categories and multiple complementary annotations using a dynamic weighting scheme. For the latter, we introduce 'annotation principal components', multidimensional summaries of in silico variant annotations. STAAR accounts for population structure and relatedness and is scalable for analyzing very large cohort and biobank whole-genome sequencing studies of continuous and dichotomous traits. We applied STAAR to identify RVs associated with four lipid traits in 12,316 discovery and 17,822 replication samples from the Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine Program. We discovered and replicated new RV associations, including disruptive missense RVs of NPC1L1 and an intergenic region near APOC1P1 associated with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-0676-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7483769PMC
September 2020

Advancing Food Allergy Through Omics Sciences.

J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract 2021 01 7;9(1):119-129. Epub 2020 Aug 7.

Department of Genetics & Genomic Sciences and Department of Pediatrics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. Electronic address:

Since the publication of the first draft of the human genome, there has been an explosion of new technologies with increasing power to interrogate the totality of biological molecules (eg, DNA, RNA, proteins, metabolites) and their modifications (eg, DNA methylation, histone modifications). These technologies, collectively called omics, have been widely applied in the last 2 decades to study biological systems to gain deeper insight into mechanisms driving the physiology and pathophysiology of human health and disease. Because of its complex, multifactorial nature, food allergy is especially well suited to be investigated using omics approaches. In this rostrum, we review how omic technologies have been applied to explore diverse aspects of food allergy, including adaptive and innate immune processes in food-allergic responses, the role of the microbiome in food allergy risk, metabolic changes in the gut and blood associated with food allergy, and the identification of biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets for the condition. We discuss the strengths and limitations of the studies performed thus far and the need to adopt systems biology approaches that integrate data from multiple omics to fully leverage the potential of these technologies to advance food allergy research and care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaip.2020.07.044DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7855623PMC
January 2021

Genomic integrity of human induced pluripotent stem cells across nine studies in the NHLBI NextGen program.

Stem Cell Res 2020 07 6;46:101803. Epub 2020 May 6.

Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) lines have previously been generated through the NHLBI sponsored NextGen program at nine individual study sites. Here, we examined the structural integrity of 506 hiPSC lines as determined by copy number variations (CNVs). We observed that 149 hiPSC lines acquired 258 CNVs relative to donor DNA. We identified six recurrent regions of CNVs on chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 16 and 20 that overlapped with cancer associated genes. Furthermore, the genes mapping to regions of acquired CNVs show an enrichment in cancer related biological processes (IL6 production) and signaling cascades (JNK cascade & NFκB cascade). The genomic region of instability on chr20 (chr20q11.2) includes transcriptomic signatures for cancer associated genes such as ID1, BCL2L1, TPX2, PDRG1 and HCK. Of these HCK shows statistically significant differential expression between carrier and non-carrier hiPSC lines. Overall, while a low level of genomic instability was observed in the NextGen generated hiPSC lines, the observation of structural instability in regions with known cancer associated genes substantiates the importance of systematic evaluation of genetic variations in hiPSCs before using them as disease/research models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scr.2020.101803DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7575060PMC
July 2020

Prospective clinical trial examining the impact of genetic variation in FADS1 on the metabolism of linoleic acid- and ɣ-linolenic acid-containing botanical oils.

Am J Clin Nutr 2020 05;111(5):1068-1078

Center for Botanical Lipids and Inflammatory Disease Prevention, Wake Forest School of Medicine,Winston-Salem, NC, USA.

Background: Unexplained heterogeneity in clinical trials has resulted in questions regarding the effectiveness of ɣ-linolenic acid (GLA)-containing botanical oil supplements. This heterogeneity may be explained by genetic variation within the fatty acid desaturase (FADS) gene cluster that is associated with circulating and tissue concentrations of arachidonic acid (ARA) and dihomo-ɣ-linolenic acid (DGLA), both of which may be synthesized from GLA and result in proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory metabolites, respectively.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to prospectively compare the capacity of a non-Hispanic white cohort, stratified by FADS genotype at the key single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs174537, to metabolize 18-carbon omega-6 (n-6) PUFAs in borage oil (BO) and soybean oil (SO) to GLA, DGLA, and ARA.

Methods: Healthy adults (n = 64) participated in a randomized, double-blind, crossover intervention. Individuals received encapsulated BO (Borago officinalis L.; 37% LA and 23% GLA) or SO [Glycine max (L.) Merr.; 50% LA and 0% GLA] for 4 wk, followed by an 8-wk washout period, before consuming the opposite oil for 4 wk. Serum lipids and markers of inflammation (C-reactive protein) were assessed for both oil types at baseline and during weeks 2 and 4 of the intervention.

Results: SO supplementation failed to alter circulating concentrations of any n-6 long-chain PUFAs. In contrast, a modest daily dose of BO elevated serum concentrations of GLA and DGLA in an rs174537 genotype-dependent manner. In particular, DGLA increased by 57% (95% CI: 0.38, 0.79) in GG genotype individuals, but by 141% (95% CI: 1.03, 2.85) in TT individuals. For ARA, baseline concentrations varied substantially by genotype and increased modestly with BO supplementation, suggesting a key role for FADS variation in the balance of DGLA and ARA.

Conclusions: The results of this study clearly suggest that personalized and population-based approaches considering FADS genetic variation may be necessary to optimize the design of future clinical studies with GLA-containing oils. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT02337231.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqaa023DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198310PMC
May 2020

Clinical implementation of pharmacogenomics via a health system-wide research biobank: the University of Colorado experience.

Pharmacogenomics 2020 04 20;21(6):375-386. Epub 2020 Feb 20.

Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.

In recent years, the genomics community has witnessed the growth of large research biobanks, which collect DNA samples for research purposes. Depending on how and where the samples are genotyped, biobanks also offer the potential opportunity to return actionable genomic results to the clinical setting. We developed a preemptive clinical pharmacogenomic implementation initiative via a health system-wide research biobank at the University of Colorado. Here, we describe how preemptive return of clinical pharmacogenomic results via a research biobank is feasible, particularly when coupled with strong institutional support to maximize the impact and efficiency of biobank resources, a multidisciplinary implementation team, automated clinical decision support tools, and proactive strategies to engage stakeholders early in the clinical decision support tool development process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/pgs-2020-0007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7226704PMC
April 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
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