Pharmacogenet Genomics 2016 May;26(5):197-207
aCenter for Pharmacogenomics, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio bDepartment of Clinical Pharmacy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
Objective: CES1 encodes carboxylesterase-1, an important drug-metabolizing enzyme with high expression in the liver. Previous studies have reported a genomic translocation of the 5' region from the poorly expressed pseudogene CES1P1, to CES1, yielding the structural variant CES1VAR. The aim of this study was to characterize this translocation and its effect on CES1 expression in the human liver.
Materials And Methods: Experiments were conducted in human liver tissues and cell culture (HepG2). The promoter and exon 1 of CES1 were sequenced by Sanger and Ion Torrent sequencing to identify gene translocations. The effects of CES1 5'UTRs on mRNA and protein expression were assessed by quantitative real-time PCR, allelic ratio mRNA analysis by primer extension (SNaPshot), quantitative targeted proteomics, and luciferase reporter gene assays.
Results: Sequencing of CES1 identified two translocations: first, CES1VAR (17% minor allele frequency) comprising the 5'UTR, exon 1, and part of intron 1. A second shorter translocation, CES1SVAR, was observed excluding exon 1 and intron 1 regions (<0.01% minor allele frequency). CES1VAR is associated with 2.6-fold decreased CES1 mRNA and ∼1.35-fold lower allelic mRNA. Luciferase reporter constructs showed that CES1VAR decreases luciferase activity 1.5-fold, whereas CES1SVAR slightly increases activity. CES1VAR was not associated with CES1 protein expression or metabolism of the CES1 substrates enalapril, clopidogrel, or methylphenidate in the liver.
Conclusion: The frequent translocation variant CES1VAR reduces mRNA expression of CES1 in the liver by ∼30%, but protein expression and metabolizing activity in the liver were not detectably altered - possibly because of variable CES1 expression masking small allelic effects. Whether drug therapies are affected by CES1VAR will require further in-vivo studies.