Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 4

Search results for: epistasis

4 Association of Nuclear – Mitochondrial Epistasis with BMI in Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus Patients

Authors: Agnieszka H. Ludwig-Slomczynska, Michal T. Seweryn, Przemyslaw Kapusta, Ewelina Pitera, Katarzyna Cyganek, Urszula Mantaj, Lucja Dobrucka, Ewa Wender-Ozegowska, Maciej T. Malecki, Pawel Wolkow


Obesity results from an imbalance between energy intake and its expenditure. Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) analyses have led to discovery of only about 100 variants influencing body mass index (BMI), which explain only a small portion of genetic variability. Analysis of gene epistasis gives a chance to discover another part. Since it was shown that interaction and communication between nuclear and mitochondrial genome are indispensable for normal cell function, we have looked for epistatic interactions between the two genomes to find their correlation with BMI. Methods: The analysis was performed on 366 T1DM patients using Illumina Infinium OmniExpressExome-8 chip and followed by imputation on Michigan Imputation Server. Only genes which influence mitochondrial functioning (listed in Human MitoCarta 2.0) were included in the analysis – variants of nuclear origin (MAF > 5%) in 1140 genes and 42 mitochondrial variants (MAF > 1%). Gene expression analysis was performed on GTex data. Association analysis between genetic variants and BMI was performed with the use of Linear Mixed Models as implemented in the package 'GENESIS' in R. Analysis of association between mRNA expression and BMI was performed with the use of linear models and standard significance tests in R. Results: Among variants involved in epistasis between mitochondria and nucleus we have identified one in mitochondrial transcription factor, TFB2M (rs6701836). It interacted with mitochondrial variants localized to MT-RNR1 (p=0.0004, MAF=15%), MT-ND2 (p=0.07, MAF=5%) and MT-ND4 (p=0.01, MAF=1.1%). Analysis of the interaction between nuclear variant rs6701836 (nuc) and rs3021088 localized to MT-ND2 mitochondrial gene (mito) has shown that the combination of the two led to BMI decrease (p=0.024). Each of the variants on its own does not correlate with higher BMI [p(nuc)=0.856, p(mito)=0.116)]. Although rs6701836 is intronic, it influences gene expression in the thyroid (p=0.000037). rs3021088 is a missense variant that leads to alanine to threonine substitution in the MT-ND2 gene which belongs to complex I of the electron transport chain. The analysis of the influence of genetic variants on gene expression has confirmed the trend explained above – the interaction of the two genes leads to BMI decrease (p=0.0308). Each of the mRNAs on its own is associated with higher BMI (p(mito)=0.0244 and p(nuc)=0.0269). Conclusıons: Our results show that nuclear-mitochondrial epistasis can influence BMI in T1DM patients. The correlation between transcription factor expression and mitochondrial genetic variants will be subject to further analysis.

Keywords: body mass index, epistasis, mitochondria, type 1 diabetes

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3 Mapping Structurally Significant Areas of G-CSF during Thermal Degradation with NMR

Authors: Mark-Adam Kellerman


Proteins are capable of exploring vast mutational spaces. This makes it difficult for protein engineers to devise rational methods to improve stability and function via mutagenesis. Deciding which residues to mutate requires knowledge of the characteristics they elicit. We probed the characteristics of residues in granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) using a thermal melt (from 295K to 323K) to denature it in a 700 MHz Bruker spectrometer. These characteristics included dynamics, micro-environmental changes experienced/ induced during denaturing and structure-function relationships. 15N-1H HSQC experiments were performed at 2K increments along with this thermal melt. We observed that dynamic residues that also undergo a lot of change in their microenvironment were predominantly in unstructured regions. Moreover, we were able to identify four residues (G4, A6, T133 and Q134) that we class as high priority targets for mutagenesis, given that they all appear in both the top 10% of measures for environmental changes and dynamics (∑Δ and ∆PI). We were also able to probe these NMR observables and combine them with molecular dynamics (MD) to elucidate what appears to be an opening motion of G-CSFs binding site III. V48 appears to be pivotal to this opening motion, which also seemingly distorts the loop region between helices A and B. This observation is in agreement with previous findings that the conformation of this loop region becomes altered in an aggregation-prone state of G-CSF. Hence, we present here an approach to profile the characteristics of residues in order to highlight their potential as rational mutagenesis targets and their roles in important conformational changes. These findings present not only an opportunity to effectively make biobetters, but also open up the possibility to further understand epistasis and machine learn residue behaviours.

Keywords: protein engineering, rational mutagenesis, NMR, molecular dynamics

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2 Frequent Pattern Mining for Digenic Human Traits

Authors: Atsuko Okazaki, Jurg Ott


Some genetic diseases (‘digenic traits’) are due to the interaction between two DNA variants. For example, certain forms of Retinitis Pigmentosa (a genetic form of blindness) occur in the presence of two mutant variants, one in the ROM1 gene and one in the RDS gene, while the occurrence of only one of these mutant variants leads to a completely normal phenotype. Detecting such digenic traits by genetic methods is difficult. A common approach to finding disease-causing variants is to compare 100,000s of variants between individuals with a trait (cases) and those without the trait (controls). Such genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have been very successful but hinge on genetic effects of single variants, that is, there should be a difference in allele or genotype frequencies between cases and controls at a disease-causing variant. Frequent pattern mining (FPM) methods offer an avenue at detecting digenic traits even in the absence of single-variant effects. The idea is to enumerate pairs of genotypes (genotype patterns) with each of the two genotypes originating from different variants that may be located at very different genomic positions. What is needed is for genotype patterns to be significantly more common in cases than in controls. Let Y = 2 refer to cases and Y = 1 to controls, with X denoting a specific genotype pattern. We are seeking association rules, ‘X → Y’, with high confidence, P(Y = 2|X), significantly higher than the proportion of cases, P(Y = 2) in the study. Clearly, generally available FPM methods are very suitable for detecting disease-associated genotype patterns. We use fpgrowth as the basic FPM algorithm and built a framework around it to enumerate high-frequency digenic genotype patterns and to evaluate their statistical significance by permutation analysis. Application to a published dataset on opioid dependence furnished results that could not be found with classical GWAS methodology. There were 143 cases and 153 healthy controls, each genotyped for 82 variants in eight genes of the opioid system. The aim was to find out whether any of these variants were disease-associated. The single-variant analysis did not lead to significant results. Application of our FPM implementation resulted in one significant (p < 0.01) genotype pattern with both genotypes in the pattern being heterozygous and originating from two variants on different chromosomes. This pattern occurred in 14 cases and none of the controls. Thus, the pattern seems quite specific to this form of substance abuse and is also rather predictive of disease. An algorithm called Multifactor Dimension Reduction (MDR) was developed some 20 years ago and has been in use in human genetics ever since. This and our algorithms share some similar properties, but they are also very different in other respects. The main difference seems to be that our algorithm focuses on patterns of genotypes while the main object of inference in MDR is the 3 × 3 table of genotypes at two variants.

Keywords: digenic traits, DNA variants, epistasis, statistical genetics

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1 Unifying RSV Evolutionary Dynamics and Epidemiology Through Phylodynamic Analyses

Authors: Lydia Tan, Philippe Lemey, Lieselot Houspie, Marco Viveen, Darren Martin, Frank Coenjaerts


Introduction: Human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV) is the leading cause of severe respiratory tract infections in infants under the age of two. Genomic substitutions and related evolutionary dynamics of hRSV are of great influence on virus transmission behavior. The evolutionary patterns formed are due to a precarious interplay between the host immune response and RSV, thereby selecting the most viable and less immunogenic strains. Studying genomic profiles can teach us which genes and consequent proteins play an important role in RSV survival and transmission dynamics. Study design: In this study, genetic diversity and evolutionary rate analysis were conducted on 36 RSV subgroup B whole genome sequences and 37 subgroup A genome sequences. Clinical RSV isolates were obtained from nasopharyngeal aspirates and swabs of children between 2 weeks and 5 years old of age. These strains, collected during epidemic seasons from 2001 to 2011 in the Netherlands and Belgium by either conventional or 454-sequencing. Sequences were analyzed for genetic diversity, recombination events, synonymous/non-synonymous substitution ratios, epistasis, and translational consequences of mutations were mapped to known 3D protein structures. We used Bayesian statistical inference to estimate the rate of RSV genome evolution and the rate of variability across the genome. Results: The A and B profiles were described in detail and compared to each other. Overall, the majority of the whole RSV genome is highly conserved among all strains. The attachment protein G was the most variable protein and its gene had, similar to the non-coding regions in RSV, more elevated (two-fold) substitution rates than other genes. In addition, the G gene has been identified as the major target for diversifying selection. Overall, less gene and protein variability was found within RSV-B compared to RSV-A and most protein variation between the subgroups was found in the F, G, SH and M2-2 proteins. For the F protein mutations and correlated amino acid changes are largely located in the F2 ligand-binding domain. The small hydrophobic phosphoprotein and nucleoprotein are the most conserved proteins. The evolutionary rates were similar in both subgroups (A: 6.47E-04, B: 7.76E-04 substitution/site/yr), but estimates of the time to the most recent common ancestor were much lower for RSV-B (B: 19, A: 46.8 yrs), indicating that there is more turnover in this subgroup. Conclusion: This study provides a detailed description of whole RSV genome mutations, the effect on translation products and the first estimate of the RSV genome evolution tempo. The immunogenic G protein seems to require high substitution rates in order to select less immunogenic strains and other conserved proteins are most likely essential to preserve RSV viability. The resulting G gene variability makes its protein a less interesting target for RSV intervention methods. The more conserved RSV F protein with less antigenic epitope shedding is, therefore, more suitable for developing therapeutic strategies or vaccines.

Keywords: drug target selection, epidemiology, respiratory syncytial virus, RSV

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