Human Molecular Genetics
ISSN / EISSN : 0964-6906 / 1460-2083
Published by: Oxford University Press (OUP) (10.1093)
Total articles ≅ 13,343
Latest articles in this journal
Human Molecular Genetics; https://doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddac241
Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), two major subtypes of inflammatory bowel disease, show substantial differences in their clinical course and treatment response. To identify the genetic factors underlying the distinct characteristics of these two diseases, we performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) between CD (n = 2359) and UC (n = 2175) in a Korean population, followed by replication in an independent sample of 772 CD and 619 UC cases. Two novel loci were identified with divergent effects on CD and UC: rs9842650 in CD200 and rs885026 in NCOR2. In addition, the 7 established susceptibility loci (MHC, TNFSF15, OTUD3, USP12, IL23R, FCHSD2, and RIPK2) reached genome-wide significance. Of the 9 loci, 6 (MHC, TNFSF15, OTUD3, USP12, IL23R, and CD200) were replicated in the case–case GWAS (CC-GWAS) of European populations. The proportion of variance explained in CD-UC status by polygenic risk score analysis was up to 22.6%. The area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve value was 0.74, suggesting acceptable discrimination between CD and UC. This CD-UC GWAS provides new insights into genetic differences between the two diseases with similar symptoms and might be useful in improving their diagnosis and treatment.
Human Molecular Genetics; https://doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddac242
Rod and cone photoreceptors in the retina mediate dim light and day light vision, respectively. Despite their distinctive functions, rod and cone visual pigments utilize the same vitamin A-derived chromophore. To sustain vision, vitamin A precursors must be acquired in the gut, metabolized, and distributed to the eyes. Deficiencies in this pathway in inherited ocular disease states deplete cone photoreceptors from chromophore and eventually lead to cell death, whereas the more abundant rod photoreceptors are less affected. However, pathways that support cone function and survival under such conditions are largely unknown. Using biochemical, histological, and physiological approaches, we herein show that intervention with β-carotene in STRA6-deficient mice improved chromophore supply to cone photoreceptors. Relieving the inherent negative feedback regulation of β-carotene-oxygenase-1 activity in the intestine by genetic means further bolstered cone photoreceptor functioning in the STRA6-deficient eyes. A vitamin A-rich diet, however, did not improve cone photoreceptor function in STRA6-deficiency. We provide evidence that the beneficial effect of β-carotene on cones results from favorable serum kinetics of retinyl esters in lipoproteins. The respective alterations in lipoprotein metabolism maintained a steady supply of retinoids to the STRA6-deficient eyes that ameliorated the competition for chromophore between rod and cone photoreceptors. Together, our study elucidates a cone photoreceptor-survival pathway and unravels an unexpected metabolic connection between the gut and the retina.
Human Molecular Genetics; https://doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddac238
Few GWAS studies analyzing genetic regulation of morphological traits of white blood cells have been reported. We carried out a GWAS of twelve morphological traits in 869 individuals from the general population of Sardinia, Italy. These traits, included measures of cell volume, conductivity, and light scatter in four white-cell populations (eosinophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, neutrophils). This analysis yielded seven statistically significant signals, four of which were novel (four novel, PRG2, P2RX3, two of CDK6). Five signals were replicated in the independent INTERVAL cohort of 11 822 individuals. The most interesting signal with large effect size on eosinophil scatter (pvalue = 8.33x10−32, beta = −1.651, se = 0.1351) falls within the innate immunity cluster on chromosome 11, and is located in the PRG2 gene. Computational analyses revealed that a rare, Sardinian-specific PRG2:p.Ser148Pro mutation modifies PRG2 amino acid contacts and protein dynamics in a manner that could possibly explain the changes observed in eosinophil morphology. Our discoveries shed light on genetics of morphological traits. For the first time, we describe such large effect size on eosinophils morphology that is relatively frequent in Sardinian population.
Human Molecular Genetics; https://doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddac236
The large DMD gene encodes a group of dystrophin proteins in brain and retina, produced from multiple promoters and alternative splicing events. Dystrophins are core components of different scaffolding complexes in distinct cell types. Their absence may thus alter several cellular pathways, which might explain the heterogeneous genotype–phenotype relationships underlying central comorbidities in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). However, the cell-specific expression of dystrophins and associated proteins (DAPs) is still largely unknown. The present study provides a first RNA-Seq-based reference showing tissue and cell-specific differential expression of dystrophins, splice variants and DAPs in mouse brain and retina. We report that a cell type may express several dystrophin complexes, perhaps due to expression in separate cell subdomains and/or subpopulations, some of which with differential expression at different maturation stages. We also identified new splicing events in addition to the common exon-skipping events. These include a new exon within intron 51 (E51b) in frame with the flanking exons in retina, as well as inclusions of intronic sequences with stop codons leading to the presence of transcripts with elongated exons 40 and/or 41 (E40e, E41e) in both retina and brain. PCR validations revealed that the new exons may affect several dystrophins. Moreover, immunoblot experiments using a combination of specific antibodies and dystrophin-deficient mice unveiled that the transcripts with stop codons are translated into truncated proteins lacking their C-terminus, which we called N-Dp427 and N-Dp260. This study thus uncovers a range of new findings underlying the complex neurobiology of DMD.
Human Molecular Genetics; https://doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddac229
Hereditary hearing loss is a highly genetically heterogeneous disorder. More than 150 genes have been identified to link to human nonsyndromic hearing impairment. To identify genetic mutations and underlying molecular mechanisms in affected individuals and families with congenital hearing loss, we recruited a cohort of 389 affected individuals in 354 families for whole-exome sequencing analysis. In the present study, we report a novel homozygous missense variant (c.233A > G, p.Lys78Arg) in the OXR1 gene, which was identified in a 4-year-old girl with sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). OXR1 encodes Oxidation Resistance 1 and is evolutionarily conserved from zebrafish to human. We found that the ortholog oxr1b gene is expressed in the statoacoustic ganglion (SAG, a sensory ganglion of ear) and posterior lateral line ganglion (pLL) in zebrafish. Knockdown of oxr1b in zebrafish resulted in a significant developmental defect of SAG and pLL. This phenotype can be rescued by co-injection of wild-type human OXR1 mRNAs, but not mutant OXR1 (c.233A > G) mRNAs. OXR1-associated pathway analysis revealed that mutations of TBC1D24, a TLDc-domain-containing homolog gene of OXR1, have previously been identified in patients with hearing loss. Interestingly, mutations or knockout of OXR1 interacting molecules such as ATP6V1B1 and ESR1 are also associated with hearing loss in patients or animal models, hinting an important role of OXR1 and associated partners in cochlear development and hearing function.
Human Molecular Genetics; https://doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddac237
The relations of alcohol consumption and gene expression remain to be elucidated. We examined cross-sectional associations between alcohol consumption and whole blood derived gene expression levels and between alcohol-associated genes and obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. in 5531 Framingham Heart Study (FHS) participants. We identified 25 alcohol-associated genes. We further showed cross-sectional associations of 16 alcohol-associated genes with obesity, nine genes with hypertension, and eight genes with diabetes at P < 0.002. For example, we observed decreased expression of PROK2 (β = −0.0018; 95%CI: −0.0021, −0.0007; P = 6.5e-5) and PAX5 (β = −0.0014; 95%CI: −0.0021, −0.0007; P = 6.5e-5) per 1 g/day increase in alcohol consumption. Consistent with our previous observation on the inverse association of alcohol consumption with obesity and positive association of alcohol consumption with hypertension, we found that PROK2 was positively associated with obesity (OR = 1.42; 95%CI: 1.17, 1.72; P = 4.5e-4) and PAX5 was negatively associated with hypertension (OR = 0.73; 95%CI: 0.59, 0.89; P = 1.6e-3). We also observed that alcohol consumption was positively associated with expression of ABCA13 (β = 0.0012; 95%CI: 0.0007, 0.0017; P = 1.3e-6) and ABCA13 was positively associated with diabetes (OR = 2.57; 95%CI: 1.73, 3.84; P = 3.5e-06); this finding, however, was inconsistent with our observation of an inverse association between alcohol consumption and diabetes. We showed strong cross-sectional associations between alcohol consumption and expression levels of 25 genes in FHS participants. Nonetheless, complex relationships exist between alcohol-associated genes and CVD risk factors.
Human Molecular Genetics; https://doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddac232
Oxidative stress is a common feature of inflammation-driven cancers, and promotes genomic instability and aggressive tumour phenotypes. It is known that oxidative stress transiently modulates gene expression through the oxidation of transcription factors and associated regulatory proteins. Neutrophils are our most abundant white blood cells and accumulate at sites of infection and inflammation. Activated neutrophils produce hypochlorous acid and chloramines, which can disrupt DNA methylation by oxidising methionine. The goal of the current study was to determine whether chloramine exposure results in sequence-specific modifications in DNA methylation that enable long-term alterations in transcriptional output. Proliferating Jurkat T-lymphoma cells were exposed to sublethal doses of glycine chloramine and differential methylation patterns were compared using Illumina EPIC 850 K bead chip arrays. There was a substantial genome-wide decrease in methylation four hours after exposure that correlated with altered RNA expression for 24 and 48 hours, indicating sustained impacts on exposed cells. A large proportion of the most significant differentially methylated CpG sites were situated towards chromosomal ends, suggesting that these regions are most susceptible to inhibition of maintenance DNA methylation. This may contribute to epigenetic instability of chromosomal ends in rapidly dividing cells, with potential implications for the regulation of telomere length and cellular longevity.
Human Molecular Genetics; https://doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddac234
To summarize the clinical and genetic characteristics of patients with pyridox(am)ine-5′-phosphate oxidase (PNPO) deficiency. Clinical and genetic data of the patients were collected and analyzed. 18 patients from 17 families with variants in PNPO were collected, and 15 cases survived to date. The age of onset ranged from 1 day to 5 months (median age 6.5 days) and seven of them presented with seizures less than 24 hours. 7/18 (39%) of patients showed seizure free with pyridoxine (PN) or pyridoxal-5′-phosphate (PLP) treatment. Two patients showed surprised therapeutic responses to antiseizure medications (ASMs) therapy: one could be controlled for up to 1 year and 5 months, and the other showed seizure free for more than eight years. The neurodevelopment was normal in one patient, mild delay in four, in whom responded well to PN. Severe delay could be seen in the remaining 10 surviving patients. Genetic analysis revealed 14 variants of PNPO, seven of which were novel. Five pairs of unrelated patients were observed to carry the same variants respectively, and had similar developmental status and onset age of seizures in some degree in each pair, while also had differences. The clinical characteristics, including age of onset, treatment response, and prognosis, were variable and difficult to classify into different types clearly. Patients with PNPO deficiency who used PN as their main treatment and being able to control seizures seemed to be associated with better outcomes. Patients with the same genotype tended to show the correlation of phenotype–genotype.
Human Molecular Genetics; https://doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddac231
Myotonic dystrophy type 1 is a complex disease caused by a genetically unstable CTG repeat expansion in the 3′-untranslated region of the DMPK gene. Age-dependent, tissue-specific somatic instability has confounded genotype–phenotype associations, but growing evidence suggests that it also contributes directly toward disease progression. Using a well-characterized clinical cohort of DM1 patients from Costa Rica, we quantified somatic instability in blood, buccal cells, skin and skeletal muscle. Whilst skeletal muscle showed the largest expansions, modal allele lengths in skin were also very large and frequently exceeded 2000 CTG repeats. Similarly, the degree of somatic expansion in blood, muscle and skin were associated with each other. Notably, we found that the degree of somatic expansion in skin was highly predictive of that in skeletal muscle. More importantly, we established that individuals whose repeat expanded more rapidly than expected in one tissue (after correction for progenitor allele length and age), also expanded more rapidly than expected in other tissues. We also provide evidence suggesting that individuals in whom the repeat expanded more rapidly than expected in skeletal muscle, have an earlier age-at-onset than expected (after correction for the progenitor allele length). Pyrosequencing analyses of the genomic DNA flanking the CTG repeat revealed that the degree of methylation in muscle was well predicted by the muscle modal allele length and age, but that neither methylation of the flanking DNA, nor levels of DMPK sense and anti-sense transcripts, could obviously explain individual- or tissue-specific patterns of somatic instability.
Human Molecular Genetics; https://doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddac228
Mutations and aberrant gene expression during cellular differentiation lead to neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) which results from the deletion of an imprinted locus on paternally inherited chromosome 15. We analysed chromatin-associated RNA in human induced pluripotent cells (iPSCs) upon depletion of hybrid small nucleolar long non-coding RNAs (sno-lncRNAs) and 5’ snoRNA capped and polyadenylated long non-coding RNAs (SPA-lncRNAs) transcribed from the locus deleted in PWS. We found that rapid ablation of these lncRNAs affects transcription of specific gene classes. Downregulated genes contribute to neurodevelopment and neuronal maintenance while genes that are upregulated are predominantly involved in the negative regulation of cellular metabolism and apoptotic processes. Our data reveal the importance of SPA-lncRNAs and sno-lncRNAs in controlling gene expression in iPSCs and provide a platform for synthetic experimental approaches in PWS studies. We conclude that ncRNAs transcribed from the PWS locus are critical regulators of a transcriptional signature, which is important for neuronal differentiation and development.