Publications by authors named "Tonu Esko"

290 Publications

Genomic and phenotypic insights from an atlas of genetic effects on DNA methylation.

Nat Genet 2021 Sep 6;53(9):1311-1321. Epub 2021 Sep 6.

Estonian Genome Center, Institute of Genomics, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia.

Characterizing genetic influences on DNA methylation (DNAm) provides an opportunity to understand mechanisms underpinning gene regulation and disease. In the present study, we describe results of DNAm quantitative trait locus (mQTL) analyses on 32,851 participants, identifying genetic variants associated with DNAm at 420,509 DNAm sites in blood. We present a database of >270,000 independent mQTLs, of which 8.5% comprise long-range (trans) associations. Identified mQTL associations explain 15-17% of the additive genetic variance of DNAm. We show that the genetic architecture of DNAm levels is highly polygenic. Using shared genetic control between distal DNAm sites, we constructed networks, identifying 405 discrete genomic communities enriched for genomic annotations and complex traits. Shared genetic variants are associated with both DNAm levels and complex diseases, but only in a minority of cases do these associations reflect causal relationships from DNAm to trait or vice versa, indicating a more complex genotype-phenotype map than previously anticipated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-021-00923-xDOI Listing
September 2021

The genomics of heart failure: design and rationale of the HERMES consortium.

ESC Heart Fail 2021 Sep 3. Epub 2021 Sep 3.

Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Aims: The HERMES (HEart failure Molecular Epidemiology for Therapeutic targetS) consortium aims to identify the genomic and molecular basis of heart failure.

Methods And Results: The consortium currently includes 51 studies from 11 countries, including 68 157 heart failure cases and 949 888 controls, with data on heart failure events and prognosis. All studies collected biological samples and performed genome-wide genotyping of common genetic variants. The enrolment of subjects into participating studies ranged from 1948 to the present day, and the median follow-up following heart failure diagnosis ranged from 2 to 116 months. Forty-nine of 51 individual studies enrolled participants of both sexes; in these studies, participants with heart failure were predominantly male (34-90%). The mean age at diagnosis or ascertainment across all studies ranged from 54 to 84 years. Based on the aggregate sample, we estimated 80% power to genetic variant associations with risk of heart failure with an odds ratio of ≥1.10 for common variants (allele frequency ≥ 0.05) and ≥1.20 for low-frequency variants (allele frequency 0.01-0.05) at P < 5 × 10 under an additive genetic model.

Conclusions: HERMES is a global collaboration aiming to (i) identify the genetic determinants of heart failure; (ii) generate insights into the causal pathways leading to heart failure and enable genetic approaches to target prioritization; and (iii) develop genomic tools for disease stratification and risk prediction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ehf2.13517DOI Listing
September 2021

Large-scale cis- and trans-eQTL analyses identify thousands of genetic loci and polygenic scores that regulate blood gene expression.

Nat Genet 2021 Sep 2;53(9):1300-1310. Epub 2021 Sep 2.

Department of Genetic Medicine and Development, University of Geneva Medical School, Geneva, Switzerland.

Trait-associated genetic variants affect complex phenotypes primarily via regulatory mechanisms on the transcriptome. To investigate the genetics of gene expression, we performed cis- and trans-expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) analyses using blood-derived expression from 31,684 individuals through the eQTLGen Consortium. We detected cis-eQTL for 88% of genes, and these were replicable in numerous tissues. Distal trans-eQTL (detected for 37% of 10,317 trait-associated variants tested) showed lower replication rates, partially due to low replication power and confounding by cell type composition. However, replication analyses in single-cell RNA-seq data prioritized intracellular trans-eQTL. Trans-eQTL exerted their effects via several mechanisms, primarily through regulation by transcription factors. Expression of 13% of the genes correlated with polygenic scores for 1,263 phenotypes, pinpointing potential drivers for those traits. In summary, this work represents a large eQTL resource, and its results serve as a starting point for in-depth interpretation of complex phenotypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-021-00913-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8432599PMC
September 2021

Genetic regulation of spermine oxidase activity and cancer risk: a Mendelian randomization study.

Sci Rep 2021 Aug 31;11(1):17463. Epub 2021 Aug 31.

Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, Artillerivej 5, 2300, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Spermine oxidase (SMOX) catalyzes the oxidation of spermine to spermidine. Observational studies have reported SMOX as a source of reactive oxygen species associated with cancer, implying that inhibition of SMOX could be a target for chemoprevention. Here we test causality of SMOX levels with cancer risk using a Mendelian randomization analysis. We performed a GWAS of spermidine/spermine ratio to identify genetic variants associated with regulation of SMOX activity. Replication analysis was performed in two datasets of SMOX gene expression. We then did a Mendelian randomization analysis by testing the association between the SMOX genetic instrument and neuroblastoma, gastric, lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers using GWAS summary statistics. GWAS of spermidine/spermine ratio identified SMOX locus (P = 1.34 × 10) explaining 32% of the variance. The lead SNP rs1741315 was also associated with SMOX gene expression in newborns (P = 8.48 × 10) and adults (P = 2.748 × 10) explaining 37% and 6% of the variance, respectively. Genetically determined SMOX activity was not associated with neuroblastoma, gastric, lung, breast, prostate nor colorectal cancer (P > 0.05). A PheWAS of rs1741315 did not reveal any relevant associations. Common genetic variation in the SMOX gene was strongly associated with SMOX activity in newborns, and less strongly in adults. Genetic down-regulation of SMOX was not significantly associated with lower odds of neuroblastoma, gastric, lung, breast, prostate and colorectal cancer. These results may inform studies of SMOX inhibition as a target for chemoprevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-97069-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8408253PMC
August 2021

Deciphering osteoarthritis genetics across 826,690 individuals from 9 populations.

Cell 2021 Sep 26;184(18):4784-4818.e17. Epub 2021 Aug 26.

Laboratory for Bone and Joint Diseases, RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan; Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Shimane University, Shimane 693-8501, Japan.

Osteoarthritis affects over 300 million people worldwide. Here, we conduct a genome-wide association study meta-analysis across 826,690 individuals (177,517 with osteoarthritis) and identify 100 independently associated risk variants across 11 osteoarthritis phenotypes, 52 of which have not been associated with the disease before. We report thumb and spine osteoarthritis risk variants and identify differences in genetic effects between weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing joints. We identify sex-specific and early age-at-onset osteoarthritis risk loci. We integrate functional genomics data from primary patient tissues (including articular cartilage, subchondral bone, and osteophytic cartilage) and identify high-confidence effector genes. We provide evidence for genetic correlation with phenotypes related to pain, the main disease symptom, and identify likely causal genes linked to neuronal processes. Our results provide insights into key molecular players in disease processes and highlight attractive drug targets to accelerate translation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2021.07.038DOI Listing
September 2021

Developing the building blocks to elucidate the impact of the urban exposome on cardiometabolic-pulmonary disease: The EU EXPANSE project.

Environ Epidemiol 2021 Aug 1;5(4):e162. Epub 2021 Jul 1.

Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

By 2030, more than 80% of Europe's population will live in an urban environment. The urban exposome, consisting of factors such as where we live and work, where and what we eat, our social network, and what chemical and physical hazards we are exposed to, provides important targets to improve population health. The EXPANSE (EXposome Powered tools for healthy living in urbAN SEttings) project will study the impact of the urban exposome on the major contributors to Europe's burden of disease: Cardio-Metabolic and Pulmonary Disease. EXPANSE will address one of the most pertinent questions for urban planners, policy makers, and European citizens: "How to maximize one's health in a modern urban environment?" EXPANSE will take the next step in exposome research by (1) bringing together exposome and health data of more than 55 million adult Europeans and OMICS information for more than 2 million Europeans; (2) perform personalized exposome assessment for 5,000 individuals in five urban regions; (3) applying ultra-high-resolution mass-spectrometry to screen for chemicals in 10,000 blood samples; (4) evaluating the evolution of the exposome and health through the life course; and (5) evaluating the impact of changes in the urban exposome on the burden of cardiometabolic and pulmonary disease. EXPANSE will translate its insights and innovations into research and dissemination tools that will be openly accessible via the EXPANSE toolbox. By applying innovative ethics-by-design throughout the project, the social and ethical acceptability of these tools will be safeguarded. EXPANSE is part of the European Human Exposome Network.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/EE9.0000000000000162DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8367039PMC
August 2021

A survey of functional dyspepsia in 361,360 individuals: Phenotypic and genetic cross-disease analyses.

Neurogastroenterol Motil 2021 Aug 11:e14236. Epub 2021 Aug 11.

Department of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases, Biodonostia Health Research Institute, San Sebastian, Spain.

Background: Functional dyspepsia (FD) is a common gastrointestinal condition of poorly understood pathophysiology. While symptoms' overlap with other conditions may indicate common pathogenetic mechanisms, genetic predisposition is suspected but has not been adequately investigated.

Methods: Using healthcare, questionnaire, and genetic data from three large population-based biobanks (UK Biobank, EGCUT, and MGI), we surveyed FD comorbidities, heritability, and genetic correlations across a wide spectrum of conditions and traits in 10,078 cases and 351,282 non-FD controls of European ancestry.

Key Results: In UK Biobank, 281 diagnoses were detected at increased prevalence in FD, based on healthcare records. Among these, gastrointestinal conditions (OR = 4.0, p < 1.0 × 10 ), anxiety disorders (OR = 2.3, p < 1.4 × 10 ), ischemic heart disease (OR = 2.2, p < 2.3 × 10 ), and infectious and parasitic diseases (OR = 2.1, p = 1.5 × 10 ) showed strongest association with FD. Similar results were obtained in an analysis of self-reported conditions and use of medications from questionnaire data. Based on a genome-wide association meta-analysis of genotypes across all cohorts, FD heritability was estimated close to 5% (  = 0.047, p = 0.014). Genetic correlations indicate FD predisposition is shared with several other diseases and traits (r  > 0.344), mostly overlapping with those also enriched in FD patients. Suggestive (p < 5.0 × 10 ) association with FD risk was detected for 13 loci, with 2 showing nominal replication (p < 0.05) in an independent cohort of 192 FD patients.

Conclusions & Inferences: FD has a weak heritable component that shows commonalities with multiple conditions across a wide spectrum of pathophysiological domains. This new knowledge contributes to a better understanding of FD etiology and may have implications for improving its treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/nmo.14236DOI Listing
August 2021

Genetic insights into biological mechanisms governing human ovarian ageing.

Nature 2021 08 4;596(7872):393-397. Epub 2021 Aug 4.

Genome Integrity and Instability Group, Institut de Biotecnologia i Biomedicina, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain.

Reproductive longevity is essential for fertility and influences healthy ageing in women, but insights into its underlying biological mechanisms and treatments to preserve it are limited. Here we identify 290 genetic determinants of ovarian ageing, assessed using normal variation in age at natural menopause (ANM) in about 200,000 women of European ancestry. These common alleles were associated with clinical extremes of ANM; women in the top 1% of genetic susceptibility have an equivalent risk of premature ovarian insufficiency to those carrying monogenic FMR1 premutations. The identified loci implicate a broad range of DNA damage response (DDR) processes and include loss-of-function variants in key DDR-associated genes. Integration with experimental models demonstrates that these DDR processes act across the life-course to shape the ovarian reserve and its rate of depletion. Furthermore, we demonstrate that experimental manipulation of DDR pathways highlighted by human genetics increases fertility and extends reproductive life in mice. Causal inference analyses using the identified genetic variants indicate that extending reproductive life in women improves bone health and reduces risk of type 2 diabetes, but increases the risk of hormone-sensitive cancers. These findings provide insight into the mechanisms that govern ovarian ageing, when they act, and how they might be targeted by therapeutic approaches to extend fertility and prevent disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03779-7DOI Listing
August 2021

Resource profile and user guide of the Polygenic Index Repository.

Nat Hum Behav 2021 Jun 17. Epub 2021 Jun 17.

McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA.

Polygenic indexes (PGIs) are DNA-based predictors. Their value for research in many scientific disciplines is growing rapidly. As a resource for researchers, we used a consistent methodology to construct PGIs for 47 phenotypes in 11 datasets. To maximize the PGIs' prediction accuracies, we constructed them using genome-wide association studies-some not previously published-from multiple data sources, including 23andMe and UK Biobank. We present a theoretical framework to help interpret analyses involving PGIs. A key insight is that a PGI can be understood as an unbiased but noisy measure of a latent variable we call the 'additive SNP factor'. Regressions in which the true regressor is this factor but the PGI is used as its proxy therefore suffer from errors-in-variables bias. We derive an estimator that corrects for the bias, illustrate the correction, and make a Python tool for implementing it publicly available.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41562-021-01119-3DOI Listing
June 2021

Sex-Dependent Shared and Nonshared Genetic Architecture Across Mood and Psychotic Disorders.

Biol Psychiatry 2021 Mar 23. Epub 2021 Mar 23.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, North Shore University Health System, Evanston, Illinois.

Background: Sex differences in incidence and/or presentation of schizophrenia (SCZ), major depressive disorder (MDD), and bipolar disorder (BIP) are pervasive. Previous evidence for shared genetic risk and sex differences in brain abnormalities across disorders suggest possible shared sex-dependent genetic risk.

Methods: We conducted the largest to date genome-wide genotype-by-sex (G×S) interaction of risk for these disorders using 85,735 cases (33,403 SCZ, 19,924 BIP, and 32,408 MDD) and 109,946 controls from the PGC (Psychiatric Genomics Consortium) and iPSYCH.

Results: Across disorders, genome-wide significant single nucleotide polymorphism-by-sex interaction was detected for a locus encompassing NKAIN2 (rs117780815, p = 3.2 × 10), which interacts with sodium/potassium-transporting ATPase (adenosine triphosphatase) enzymes, implicating neuronal excitability. Three additional loci showed evidence (p < 1 × 10) for cross-disorder G×S interaction (rs7302529, p = 1.6 × 10; rs73033497, p = 8.8 × 10; rs7914279, p = 6.4 × 10), implicating various functions. Gene-based analyses identified G×S interaction across disorders (p = 8.97 × 10) with transcriptional inhibitor SLTM. Most significant in SCZ was a MOCOS gene locus (rs11665282, p = 1.5 × 10), implicating vascular endothelial cells. Secondary analysis of the PGC-SCZ dataset detected an interaction (rs13265509, p = 1.1 × 10) in a locus containing IDO2, a kynurenine pathway enzyme with immunoregulatory functions implicated in SCZ, BIP, and MDD. Pathway enrichment analysis detected significant G×S interaction of genes regulating vascular endothelial growth factor receptor signaling in MDD (false discovery rate-corrected p < .05).

Conclusions: In the largest genome-wide G×S analysis of mood and psychotic disorders to date, there was substantial genetic overlap between the sexes. However, significant sex-dependent effects were enriched for genes related to neuronal development and immune and vascular functions across and within SCZ, BIP, and MDD at the variant, gene, and pathway levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2021.02.972DOI Listing
March 2021

Genome-wide association study of more than 40,000 bipolar disorder cases provides new insights into the underlying biology.

Nat Genet 2021 06 17;53(6):817-829. Epub 2021 May 17.

Department of Neuroscience, Istituto Di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri IRCCS, Milan, Italy.

Bipolar disorder is a heritable mental illness with complex etiology. We performed a genome-wide association study of 41,917 bipolar disorder cases and 371,549 controls of European ancestry, which identified 64 associated genomic loci. Bipolar disorder risk alleles were enriched in genes in synaptic signaling pathways and brain-expressed genes, particularly those with high specificity of expression in neurons of the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. Significant signal enrichment was found in genes encoding targets of antipsychotics, calcium channel blockers, antiepileptics and anesthetics. Integrating expression quantitative trait locus data implicated 15 genes robustly linked to bipolar disorder via gene expression, encoding druggable targets such as HTR6, MCHR1, DCLK3 and FURIN. Analyses of bipolar disorder subtypes indicated high but imperfect genetic correlation between bipolar disorder type I and II and identified additional associated loci. Together, these results advance our understanding of the biological etiology of bipolar disorder, identify novel therapeutic leads and prioritize genes for functional follow-up studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-021-00857-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8192451PMC
June 2021

Stratification of Type 2 Diabetes by Age of Diagnosis in the UK Biobank Reveals Subgroup-Specific Genetic Associations and Causal Risk Profiles.

Diabetes 2021 08 10;70(8):1816-1825. Epub 2021 May 10.

Section of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Department of Internal Medicine, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands.

The pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes (T2D) might change with increasing age. Here, we used a stratification based on age of diagnosis to gain insight into the genetics and causal risk factors of T2D across different age-groups. We performed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) on T2D and T2D subgroups based on age of diagnosis (<50, 50-60, 60-70, and >70 years) (total of 24,986 cases). As control subjects, participants were at least 70 years of age at the end of follow-up without developing T2D ( =187,130). GWAS identified 208 independent lead single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) mapping to 69 loci associated with T2D ( < 1.0e-8). Among others, SNPs mapped to and multiple independent SNPs mapped to were more strongly associated with cases diagnosed after age 70 years than with cases diagnosed before age 50 years. Based on the different case groups, we performed two-sample Mendelian randomization. Most notably, we observed that of the investigated risk factors, the association between BMI and T2D attenuated with increasing age of diagnosis. Collectively, our results indicate that stratification of T2D based on age of diag-nosis reveals subgroup-specific genetics and causal determinants, supporting the hypothesis that the pathogenesis of T2D changes with increasing age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/db20-0602DOI Listing
August 2021

Genome-wide analysis of 944 133 individuals provides insights into the etiology of haemorrhoidal disease.

Gut 2021 Apr 22. Epub 2021 Apr 22.

Department of Medicine I, Institute of Cancer Research, Medical University Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Objective: Haemorrhoidal disease (HEM) affects a large and silently suffering fraction of the population but its aetiology, including suspected genetic predisposition, is poorly understood. We report the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis to identify genetic risk factors for HEM to date.

Design: We conducted a GWAS meta-analysis of 218 920 patients with HEM and 725 213 controls of European ancestry. Using GWAS summary statistics, we performed multiple genetic correlation analyses between HEM and other traits as well as calculated HEM polygenic risk scores (PRS) and evaluated their translational potential in independent datasets. Using functional annotation of GWAS results, we identified HEM candidate genes, which differential expression and coexpression in HEM tissues were evaluated employing RNA-seq analyses. The localisation of expressed proteins at selected loci was investigated by immunohistochemistry.

Results: We demonstrate modest heritability and genetic correlation of HEM with several other diseases from the GI, neuroaffective and cardiovascular domains. HEM PRS validated in 180 435 individuals from independent datasets allowed the identification of those at risk and correlated with younger age of onset and recurrent surgery. We identified 102 independent HEM risk loci harbouring genes whose expression is enriched in blood vessels and GI tissues, and in pathways associated with smooth muscles, epithelial and endothelial development and morphogenesis. Network transcriptomic analyses highlighted HEM gene coexpression modules that are relevant to the development and integrity of the musculoskeletal and epidermal systems, and the organisation of the extracellular matrix.

Conclusion: HEM has a genetic component that predisposes to smooth muscle, epithelial and connective tissue dysfunction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-323868DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8292596PMC
April 2021

Multi-ancestry genome-wide gene-sleep interactions identify novel loci for blood pressure.

Mol Psychiatry 2021 Apr 15. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

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

Long and short sleep duration are associated with elevated blood pressure (BP), possibly through effects on molecular pathways that influence neuroendocrine and vascular systems. To gain new insights into the genetic basis of sleep-related BP variation, we performed genome-wide gene by short or long sleep duration interaction analyses on four BP traits (systolic BP, diastolic BP, mean arterial pressure, and pulse pressure) across five ancestry groups in two stages using 2 degree of freedom (df) joint test followed by 1df test of interaction effects. Primary multi-ancestry analysis in 62,969 individuals in stage 1 identified three novel gene by sleep interactions that were replicated in an additional 59,296 individuals in stage 2 (stage 1 + 2 P < 5 × 10), including rs7955964 (FIGNL2/ANKRD33) that increases BP among long sleepers, and rs73493041 (SNORA26/C9orf170) and rs10406644 (KCTD15/LSM14A) that increase BP among short sleepers (P < 5 × 10). Secondary ancestry-specific analysis identified another novel gene by long sleep interaction at rs111887471 (TRPC3/KIAA1109) in individuals of African ancestry (P = 2 × 10). Combined stage 1 and 2 analyses additionally identified significant gene by long sleep interactions at 10 loci including MKLN1 and RGL3/ELAVL3 previously associated with BP, and significant gene by short sleep interactions at 10 loci including C2orf43 previously associated with BP (P < 10). 2df test also identified novel loci for BP after modeling sleep that has known functions in sleep-wake regulation, nervous and cardiometabolic systems. This study indicates that sleep and primary mechanisms regulating BP may interact to elevate BP level, suggesting novel insights into sleep-related BP regulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41380-021-01087-0DOI Listing
April 2021

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

medRxiv 2021 Apr 7. Epub 2021 Apr 7.

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

Multivariate genome-wide analysis of immunoglobulin G N-glycosylation identifies new loci pleiotropic with immune function.

Hum Mol Genet 2021 Jun;30(13):1259-1270

Laboratory of Glycogenomics, Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Novosibirsk 630090, Russia.

The N-glycosylation of immunoglobulin G (IgG) affects its structure and function. It has been demonstrated that IgG N-glycosylation patterns are inherited as complex quantitative traits. Genome-wide association studies identified loci harboring genes encoding enzymes directly involved in protein glycosylation as well as loci likely to be involved in regulation of glycosylation biochemical pathways. Many of these loci could be linked to immune functions and risk of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The aim of the present study was to discover and replicate new loci associated with IgG N-glycosylation and to investigate possible pleiotropic effects of these loci onto immune function and the risk of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. We conducted a multivariate genome-wide association analysis of 23 IgG N-glycosylation traits measured in 8090 individuals of European ancestry. The discovery stage was followed up by replication in 3147 people and in silico functional analysis. Our study increased the total number of replicated loci from 22 to 29. For the discovered loci, we suggest a number of genes potentially involved in the control of IgG N-glycosylation. Among the new loci, two (near RNF168 and TNFRSF13B) were previously implicated in rare immune deficiencies and were associated with levels of circulating immunoglobulins. For one new locus (near AP5B1/OVOL1), we demonstrated a potential pleiotropic effect on the risk of asthma. Our findings underline an important link between IgG N-glycosylation and immune function and provide new clues to understanding their interplay.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddab072DOI Listing
June 2021

Genome-wide analyses of smoking behaviors in schizophrenia: Findings from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium.

J Psychiatr Res 2021 05 18;137:215-224. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY, USA; VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, Brooklyn, NY, USA. Electronic address:

While 17% of US adults use tobacco regularly, smoking rates among persons with schizophrenia are upwards of 60%. Research supports a shared etiological basis for smoking and schizophrenia, including findings from genome-wide association studies (GWAS). However, few studies have directly tested whether the same or distinct genetic variants also influence smoking behavior among schizophrenia cases. Using data from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) study of schizophrenia (35476 cases, 46839 controls), we estimated genetic correlations between these traits and tested whether polygenic risk scores (PRS) constructed from the results of smoking behaviors GWAS were associated with schizophrenia risk or smoking behaviors among schizophrenia cases. Results indicated significant genetic correlations of schizophrenia with smoking initiation (r = 0.159; P = 5.05 × 10), cigarettes-smoked-per-day (r = 0.094; P = 0.006), and age-of-onset of smoking (r = 0.10; P = 0.009). Comparing smoking behaviors among schizophrenia cases to the general population, we observe positive genetic correlations for smoking initiation (r = 0.624, P = 0.002) and cigarettes-smoked-per-day (r = 0.689, P = 0.120). Similarly, TAG-based PRS for smoking initiation and cigarettes-smoked-per-day were significantly associated with smoking initiation (P = 3.49 × 10) and cigarettes-smoked-per-day (P = 0.007) among schizophrenia cases. We performed the first GWAS of smoking behavior among schizophrenia cases and identified a novel association with cigarettes-smoked-per-day upstream of the TMEM106B gene on chromosome 7p21.3 (rs148253479, P = 3.18 × 10, n = 3520). Results provide evidence of a partially shared genetic basis for schizophrenia and smoking behaviors. Additionally, genetic risk factors for smoking behaviors were largely shared across schizophrenia and non-schizophrenia populations. Future research should address mechanisms underlying these associations to aid both schizophrenia and smoking treatment and prevention efforts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychires.2021.02.027DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8096167PMC
May 2021

Sex-dimorphic genetic effects and novel loci for fasting glucose and insulin variability.

Nat Commun 2021 01 5;12(1):24. Epub 2021 Jan 5.

Department of Biostatistics and Data Science, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.

Differences between sexes contribute to variation in the levels of fasting glucose and insulin. Epidemiological studies established a higher prevalence of impaired fasting glucose in men and impaired glucose tolerance in women, however, the genetic component underlying this phenomenon is not established. We assess sex-dimorphic (73,089/50,404 women and 67,506/47,806 men) and sex-combined (151,188/105,056 individuals) fasting glucose/fasting insulin genetic effects via genome-wide association study meta-analyses in individuals of European descent without diabetes. Here we report sex dimorphism in allelic effects on fasting insulin at IRS1 and ZNF12 loci, the latter showing higher RNA expression in whole blood in women compared to men. We also observe sex-homogeneous effects on fasting glucose at seven novel loci. Fasting insulin in women shows stronger genetic correlations than in men with waist-to-hip ratio and anorexia nervosa. Furthermore, waist-to-hip ratio is causally related to insulin resistance in women, but not in men. These results position dissection of metabolic and glycemic health sex dimorphism as a steppingstone for understanding differences in genetic effects between women and men in related phenotypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19366-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7785747PMC
January 2021

Genetic Predisposition to Coronary Artery Disease in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

Circ Genom Precis Med 2020 12 13;13(6):e002769. Epub 2020 Aug 13.

The Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences & Informatics (A.D.M.), University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, U.K.

Background: Coronary artery disease (CAD) is accelerated in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D).

Methods: To test whether this reflects differential genetic influences on CAD risk in subjects with T2D, we performed a systematic assessment of genetic overlap between CAD and T2D in 66 643 subjects (27 708 with CAD and 24 259 with T2D). Variants showing apparent association with CAD in stratified analyses or evidence of interaction were evaluated in a further 117 787 subjects (16 694 with CAD and 11 537 with T2D).

Results: None of the previously characterized CAD loci was found to have specific effects on CAD in T2D individuals, and a genome-wide interaction analysis found no new variants for CAD that could be considered T2D specific. When we considered the overall genetic correlations between CAD and its risk factors, we found no substantial differences in these relationships by T2D background.

Conclusions: This study found no evidence that the genetic architecture of CAD differs in those with T2D compared with those without T2D.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCGEN.119.002769DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7748049PMC
December 2020

Association of circulating metabolites in plasma or serum and risk of stroke: Meta-analysis from seven prospective cohorts.

Neurology 2020 Dec 2. Epub 2020 Dec 2.

Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands;

Objective: To conduct a comprehensive analysis of circulating metabolites and incident stroke in large prospective population-based settings.

Methods: We investigated the association of metabolites with risk of stroke in seven prospective cohort studies including 1,791 incident stroke events among 38,797 participants in whom circulating metabolites were measured by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (H-NMR) technology. The relationship between metabolites and stroke was assessed using Cox proportional hazards regression models. The analyses were performed considering all incident stroke events and ischemic and hemorrhagic events separately.

Results: The analyses revealed ten significant metabolite associations. Amino acid histidine (hazard ratio (HR) per standard deviation (SD) = 0.90, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.85, 0.94; = 4.45×10), glycolysis-related metabolite pyruvate (HR per SD = 1.09, 95% CI: 1.04, 1.14; = 7.45×10), acute phase reaction marker glycoprotein acetyls (HR per SD = 1.09, 95% CI: 1.03, 1.15; = 1.27×10), cholesterol in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) 2 and several other lipoprotein particles were associated with risk of stroke. When focusing on incident ischemic stroke, a significant association was observed with phenylalanine (HR per SD = 1.12, 95% CI: 1.05, 1.19; 4.13×10) and total and free cholesterol in large HDL particles.

Conclusions: We found association of amino acids, glycolysis-related metabolites, acute phase reaction markers, and several lipoprotein subfractions with the risk of stroke. These findings support the potential of metabolomics to provide new insights into the metabolic changes preceding stroke.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1212/WNL.0000000000011236DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8055347PMC
December 2020

Genotype-first approach to the detection of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer risk, and effects of risk disclosure to biobank participants.

Eur J Hum Genet 2021 Mar 23;29(3):471-481. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Estonian Genome Center, Institute of Genomics, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia.

Genotype-first approach allows to systematically identify carriers of pathogenic variants in BRCA1/2 genes conferring a high risk of familial breast and ovarian cancer. Participants of the Estonian biobank have expressed support for the disclosure of clinically significant findings. With an Estonian biobank cohort, we applied a genotype-first approach, contacted carriers, and offered return of results with genetic counseling. We evaluated participants' responses to and the clinical utility of the reporting of actionable genetic findings. Twenty-two of 40 contacted carriers of 17 pathogenic BRCA1/2 variants responded and chose to receive results. Eight of these 22 participants qualified for high-risk assessment based on National Comprehensive Cancer Network criteria. Twenty of 21 counseled participants appreciated being contacted. Relatives of 10 participants underwent cascade screening. Five of 16 eligible female BRCA1/2 variant carriers chose to undergo risk-reducing surgery, and 10 adhered to surveillance recommendations over the 30-month follow-up period. We recommend the return of results to population-based biobank participants; this approach could be viewed as a model for population-wide genetic testing. The genotype-first approach permits the identification of individuals at high risk who would not be identified by application of an approach based on personal and family histories only.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41431-020-00760-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7940387PMC
March 2021

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

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

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

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

MADloy: robust detection of mosaic loss of chromosome Y from genotype-array-intensity data.

BMC Bioinformatics 2020 Nov 23;21(1):533. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Genetics Unit, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.

Background: Accurate protocols and methods to robustly detect the mosaic loss of chromosome Y (mLOY) are needed given its reported role in cancer, several age-related disorders and overall male mortality. Intensity SNP-array data have been used to infer mLOY status and to determine its prominent role in male disease. However, discrepancies of reported findings can be due to the uncertainty and variability of the methods used for mLOY detection and to the differences in the tissue-matrix used.

Results: We created a publicly available software tool called MADloy (Mosaic Alteration Detection for LOY) that incorporates existing methods and includes a new robust approach, allowing efficient calling in large studies and comparisons between methods. MADloy optimizes mLOY calling by correctly modeling the underlying reference population with no-mLOY status and incorporating B-deviation information. We observed improvements in the calling accuracy to previous methods, using experimentally validated samples, and an increment in the statistical power to detect associations with disease and mortality, using simulation studies and real dataset analyses. To understand discrepancies in mLOY detection across different tissues, we applied MADloy to detect the increment of mLOY cellularity in blood on 18 individuals after 3 years and to confirm that its detection in saliva was sub-optimal (41%). We additionally applied MADloy to detect the down-regulation genes in the chromosome Y in kidney and bladder tumors with mLOY, and to perform pathway analyses for the detection of mLOY in blood.

Conclusions: MADloy is a new software tool implemented in R for the easy and robust calling of mLOY status across different tissues aimed to facilitate its study in large epidemiological studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12859-020-03768-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7682048PMC
November 2020

Genomic and drug target evaluation of 90 cardiovascular proteins in 30,931 individuals.

Nat Metab 2020 10 16;2(10):1135-1148. Epub 2020 Oct 16.

SCALLOP consortium.

Circulating proteins are vital in human health and disease and are frequently used as biomarkers for clinical decision-making or as targets for pharmacological intervention. Here, we map and replicate protein quantitative trait loci (pQTL) for 90 cardiovascular proteins in over 30,000 individuals, resulting in 451 pQTLs for 85 proteins. For each protein, we further perform pathway mapping to obtain trans-pQTL gene and regulatory designations. We substantiate these regulatory findings with orthogonal evidence for trans-pQTLs using mouse knockdown experiments (ABCA1 and TRIB1) and clinical trial results (chemokine receptors CCR2 and CCR5), with consistent regulation. Finally, we evaluate known drug targets, and suggest new target candidates or repositioning opportunities using Mendelian randomization. This identifies 11 proteins with causal evidence of involvement in human disease that have not previously been targeted, including EGF, IL-16, PAPPA, SPON1, F3, ADM, CASP-8, CHI3L1, CXCL16, GDF15 and MMP-12. Taken together, these findings demonstrate the utility of large-scale mapping of the genetics of the proteome and provide a resource for future precision studies of circulating proteins in human health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s42255-020-00287-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7611474PMC
October 2020

Development and validation of two SCORE-based cardiovascular risk prediction models for Eastern Europe: a multicohort study.

Eur Heart J 2020 09;41(35):3325-3333

Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HB, UK.

Aims: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk prediction models are used in Western European countries, but less so in Eastern European countries where rates of CVD can be two to four times higher. We recalibrated the SCORE prediction model for three Eastern European countries and evaluated the impact of adding seven behavioural and psychosocial risk factors to the model.

Methods And Results: We developed and validated models using data from the prospective HAPIEE cohort study with 14 598 participants from Russia, Poland, and the Czech Republic (derivation cohort, median follow-up 7.2 years, 338 fatal CVD cases) and Estonian Biobank data with 4632 participants (validation cohort, median follow-up 8.3 years, 91 fatal CVD cases). The first model (recalibrated SCORE) used the same risk factors as in the SCORE model. The second model (HAPIEE SCORE) added education, employment, marital status, depression, body mass index, physical inactivity, and antihypertensive use. Discrimination of the original SCORE model (C-statistic 0.78 in the derivation and 0.83 in the validation cohorts) was improved in recalibrated SCORE (0.82 and 0.85) and HAPIEE SCORE (0.84 and 0.87) models. After dichotomizing risk at the clinically meaningful threshold of 5%, and when comparing the final HAPIEE SCORE model against the original SCORE model, the net reclassification improvement was 0.07 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.02-0.11] in the derivation cohort and 0.14 (95% CI 0.04-0.25) in the validation cohort.

Conclusion: Our recalibrated SCORE may be more appropriate than the conventional SCORE for some Eastern European populations. The addition of seven quick, non-invasive, and cheap predictors further improved prediction accuracy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehaa571DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7544536PMC
September 2020
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