Five genes have been identified that contribute to Mendelian forms of Parkinson disease (PD); however, mutations have been found in fewer than 5% of patients, suggesting that additional genes contribute to disease risk. Unlike previous studies that focused primarily on sporadic PD, we have performed the first genomewide association study (GWAS) in familial PD. Genotyping was performed with the Illumina HumanCNV370Duo array in 857 familial PD cases and 867 controls. A logistic model was employed to test for association under additive and recessive modes of inheritance after adjusting for gender and age. No result met genomewide significance based on a conservative Bonferroni correction. The strongest association result was with SNPs in the GAK/DGKQ region on chromosome 4 (additive model: p = 3.4 × 10−6; OR = 1.69). Consistent evidence of association was also observed to the chromosomal regions containing SNCA (additive model: p = 5.5 × 10−5; OR = 1.35) and MAPT (recessive model: p = 2.0 × 10−5; OR = 0.56). Both of these genes have been implicated previously in PD susceptibility; however, neither was identified in previous GWAS studies of PD. Meta-analysis was performed using data from a previous case–control GWAS, and yielded improved p values for several regions, including GAK/DGKQ (additive model: p = 2.5 × 10−7) and the MAPT region (recessive model: p = 9.8 × 10−6; additive model: p = 4.8 × 10−5). These data suggest the identification of new susceptibility alleles for PD in the GAK/DGKQ region, and also provide further support for the role of SNCA and MAPT in PD susceptibility.
It has been known for some 40 years that lactase production persists into adult life in some people but not in others. However, the mechanism and evolutionary significance of this variation have proved more elusive, and continue to excite the interest of investigators from different disciplines. This genetically determined trait differs in frequency worldwide and is due to cis-acting polymorphism of regulation of lactase gene expression. A single nucleotide polymorphism located 13.9 kb upstream from the lactase gene (C-13910 > T) was proposed to be the cause, and the −13910*T allele, which is widespread in Europe was found to be located on a very extended haplotype of 500 kb or more. The long region of haplotype conservation reflects a recent origin, and this, together with high frequencies, is evidence of positive selection, but also means that −13910*T might be an associated marker, rather than being causal of lactase persistence itself. Doubt about function was increased when it was shown that the original SNP did not account for lactase persistence in most African populations. However, the recent discovery that there are several other SNPs associated with lactase persistence in close proximity (within 100 bp), and that they all reside in a piece of sequence that has enhancer function in vitro, does suggest that they may each be functional, and their occurrence on different haplotype backgrounds shows that several independent mutations led to lactase persistence. Here we provide access to a database of worldwide distributions of lactase persistence and of the C-13910*T allele, as well as reviewing lactase molecular and population genetics and the role of selection in determining present day distributions of the lactase persistence phenotype.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a global public health problem and a source of preventable deaths each year, with 8.8 million new cases of TB and 1.6 million deaths worldwide in 2005. Approximately, 10% of infected individuals develop pulmonary or extrapulmonary TB, suggesting that host defense factors influence development of active disease. Toll-like receptor’ (TLR) polymorphisms have been associated with regulation of TLR expression and development of active TB. In the present study, 71 polymorphisms in TLR1, TLR2, TLR4, TLR6, and TLR9 were examined from 474 (295 cases and 179 controls) African-Americans, 381 (237 cases and 144 controls) Caucasians, and from 667 (321 cases and 346 controls) Africans from Guinea-Bissau for association with pulmonary TB using generalized estimating equations and logistic regression. Statistically significant associations were observed across populations at TLR9 and TLR2. The strongest evidence for association came at an insertion (I)/deletion (D) polymorphism (−196 to −174) in TLR2 that associated with TB in both Caucasians (II vs. ID&DD, OR = 0.41 [95% CI 0.24–0.68], p = 0.0007) and Africans (II vs. ID&DD, OR = 0.70 [95% CI 0.51–0.95], p = 0.023). Our findings in three independent population samples indicate that variations in TLR2 and TLR9 might play important roles in determining susceptibility to TB.
Making sense of rapidly evolving evidence on genetic associations is crucial to making genuine advances in human genomics and the eventual integration of this information in the practice of medicine and public health. Assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of this evidence, and hence the ability to synthesize it, has been limited by inadequate reporting of results. The STrengthening the REporting of Genetic Association studies (STREGA) initiative builds on the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Statement and provides additions to 12 of the 22 items on the STROBE checklist. The additions concern population stratification, genotyping errors, modeling haplotype variation, Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium, replication, selection of participants, rationale for choice of genes and variants, treatment effects in studying quantitative traits, statistical methods, relatedness, reporting of descriptive and outcome data, and the volume of data issues that are important to consider in genetic association studies. The STREGA recommendations do not prescribe or dictate how a genetic association study should be designed but seek to enhance the transparency of its reporting, regardless of choices made during design, conduct, or analysis.
Genome-wide association studies have contributed significantly to the genetic dissection of complex diseases. In order to increase the power of existing marker sets even further, methods have been proposed to predict individual genotypes at un-typed loci from other marker sets by imputation, usually employing HapMap data as a reference. Although various imputation algorithms have been used in practice already, a comprehensive evaluation and comparison of these approaches, using genome-wide SNP data from one and the same population is still lacking. We therefore investigated four publicly available programs for genotype imputation (BEAGLE, IMPUTE, MACH, and PLINK) using data from 449 German individuals genotyped in our laboratory for three genome-wide SNP sets [Affymetrix 5.0 (500 k), Affymetrix 6.0 (1,000 k), and Illumina 550 k]. We observed that HapMap-based imputation in a northern European population is powerful and reliable, even in highly variable genomic regions such as the extended MHC on chromosome 6p21. However, while genotype predictions were found to be highly accurate with all four programs, the number of SNPs for which imputation was actually carried out (‘imputation efficacy’) varied substantially. BEAGLE, IMPUTE, and MACH yielded nearly identical trade-offs between imputation accuracy and efficacy whereas PLINK performed consistently poorer. We nevertheless recommend either MACH or BEAGLE for practical use because these two programs are more user-friendly and generally require less memory than IMPUTE.
Despite known heritability, the complex genetic architecture of bipolar disorder (likely including trait, locus and allelic heterogeneity, as well as genetic interactions) has confounded genetic discovery for many years. Even modern day whole genome association studies (WGAS) using over half a million common SNPs have implicated only a handful of genes at the genomewide level. Temporally coincident with this series of WGAS, a host of pathways-based analyses (PBAs) have emerged as novel computational approaches in the examination of large-scale datasets, but thus far rarely have been applied to WGAS data in psychiatric disorders. Here, we report a series of PBAs conducted using exploratory visual analysis, an analytic and visualization software tool for examining genomic data, to examine results from the National Institutes of Mental Health and Wellcome-Trust Case Control Consortium WGAS in bipolar disorder. Consistent with a host of prior linkage findings, some candidate gene association studies, and recent WGAS, our strongest findings suggest involvement of ion channel structural and regulatory genes, including voltage-gated ion channels and the broader ion channel group that comprises both voltage- and ligand-gated channels. Moreover, we found only modest overlap in the particular genes driving the significance of these gene sets across the analyses. This observation strongly suggests that variation in ion channel genes, as a class of genes, may contribute to the susceptibility of bipolar disorder and that heterogeneity may figure prominently in the genetic architecture of this susceptibility.
A fundamental question in human genetics is the degree to which the polygenic character of complex traits derives from polymorphism in genes with similar or with dissimilar functions. The many genome-wide association studies now being performed offer an opportunity to investigate this, and although early attempts are emerging, new tools and modeling strategies still need to be developed and deployed. Towards this goal, we implemented a new algorithm to facilitate the transition from genetic marker lists (principally those generated by PLINK) to pathway analyses of representational gene sets in either threshold or threshold-free downstream applications (e.g. DAVID, GSEA-P, and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis). This was applied to several large genome-wide association studies covering diverse human traits that included type 2 diabetes, Crohn's disease, and plasma lipid levels. Validation of this approach was obtained for plasma HDL levels, where functional categories related to lipid metabolism emerged as the most significant in two independent studies. From analyses of these samples, we highlight and address numerous issues related to this strategy, including appropriate gene based correction statistics, the utility of imputed versus non-imputed marker sets, and the apparent enrichment of pathways due solely to the positional clustering of functionally related genes. The latter in particular emphasizes the importance of studies that directly tie genetic variation to functional characteristics of specific genes. The software freely provided that we have called ProxyGeneLD may resolve an important bottleneck in pathway-based analyses of genome-wide association data. This has allowed us to identify at least one replicable case of pathway enrichment but also to highlight functional gene clustering as a potentially serious problem that may lead to spurious pathway findings if not corrected.
Asthma, atopy, and related phenotypes are heterogeneous complex traits, with both genetic and environmental risk factors. Extensive research has been conducted and over hundred genes have been associated with asthma and atopy phenotypes, but many of these findings have failed to replicate in subsequent studies. To separate true associations from false positives, candidate genes need to be examined in large well-characterized samples, using standardized designs (genotyping, phenotyping and analysis). In an attempt to replicate previous associations we amalgamated the power and resources of four studies and genotyped 5,565 individuals to conduct a genetic association study of 93 previously associated candidate genes for asthma and related phenotypes using the same set of 861 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), a common genotyping platform, and relatively harmonized phenotypes. We tested for association between SNPs and the dichotomous outcomes of asthma, atopy, atopic asthma, and airway hyperresponsiveness using a general allelic likelihood ratio test. No SNP in any gene reached significance levels that survived correction for all tested SNPs, phenotypes, and genes. Even after relaxing the usual stringent multiple testing corrections by performing a gene-based analysis (one gene at a time as if no other genes were typed) and by stratifying SNPs based on their prior evidence of association, no genes gave strong evidence of replication. There was weak evidence to implicate the following: IL13, IFNGR2, EDN1, and VDR in asthma; IL18, TBXA2R, IFNGR2, and VDR in atopy; TLR9, TBXA2R, VDR, NOD2, and STAT6 in airway hyperresponsiveness; TLR10, IFNGR2, STAT6, VDR, and NPSR1 in atopic asthma. Additionally we found an excess of SNPs with small effect sizes (OR < 1.4). The low rate of replication may be due to small effect size, differences in phenotypic definition, differential environmental effects, and/or genetic heterogeneity. To aid in future replication studies of asthma genes a comprehensive database was compiled and is available to the scientific community at http://genapha.icapture.ubc.ca/ .
To help unravel some of the early Eurasian steppe migration movements, we determined the Y-chromosomal and mitochondrial haplotypes and haplogroups of 26 ancient human specimens from the Krasnoyarsk area dated from between the middle of the second millennium BC. to the fourth century AD. In order to go further in the search of the geographic origin and physical traits of these south Siberian specimens, we also typed phenotype-informative single nucleotide polymorphisms. Our autosomal, Y-chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA analyses reveal that whereas few specimens seem to be related matrilineally or patrilineally, nearly all subjects belong to haplogroup R1a1-M17 which is thought to mark the eastward migration of the early Indo-Europeans. Our results also confirm that at the Bronze and Iron Ages, south Siberia was a region of overwhelmingly predominant European settlement, suggesting an eastward migration of Kurgan people across the Russo-Kazakh steppe. Finally, our data indicate that at the Bronze and Iron Age timeframe, south Siberians were blue (or green)-eyed, fair-skinned and light-haired people and that they might have played a role in the early development of the Tarim Basin civilization. To the best of our knowledge, no equivalent molecular analysis has been undertaken so far.
Older Puerto Ricans living in the continental U.S. suffer from higher rates of diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and depression compared to non-Hispanic White populations. Complex diseases, such as these, are likely due to multiple, potentially interacting, genetic, environmental and social risk factors. Presumably, many of these environmental and genetic risk factors are contextual. We reasoned that racial background may modify some of these risk factors and be associated with health disparities among Puerto Ricans. The contemporary Puerto Rican population is genetically heterogeneous and originated from three ancestral populations: European settlers, native Taíno Indians, and West Africans. This rich-mixed ancestry of Puerto Ricans provides the intrinsic variability needed to untangle complex gene–environment interactions in disease susceptibility and severity. Herein, we determined whether a specific ancestral background was associated with either of four major disease outcomes (diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and depression). We estimated the genetic ancestry of 1,129 subjects from the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study based on genotypes of 100 ancestry informative markers (AIMs). We examined the effects of ancestry on tests of association between single AIMs and disease traits. The ancestral composition of this population was 57.2% European, 27.4% African, and 15.4% Native American. African ancestry was negatively associated with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and positively correlated with hypertension. It is likely that the high prevalence rate of diabetes in Africans, Hispanics, and Native Americans is not due to genetic variation alone, but to the combined effects of genetic variation interacting with environmental and social factors.
Toll-like, vitamin A and D receptors and other innate proteins participate in various immune functions. We determined whether innate gene-sequence variations are associated with rubella vaccine-induced cytokine immune responses. We genotyped 714 healthy children (11–19 years of age) after two doses of rubella-containing vaccine for 148 candidate SNP markers. Rubella virus-induced cytokines were measured by ELISA. Twenty-two significant associations (range of P values 0.002–0.048) were found between SNPs in the vitamin A receptor family (RARA, RARB, TOP2B and RARG), vitamin D receptor and downstream mediator of vitamin D signaling (RXRA) genes and rubella virus-specific (IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-10, TNF-α, and GM-CSF) cytokine immune responses. A TLR3 gene promoter region SNP (rs5743305, −8441A > T) was associated with rubella-specific GM-CSF secretion. Importantly, SNPs in the TRIM5 gene coding regions, rs3740996 (His43Tyr) and rs10838525 (Gln136Arg), were associated with an allele dose-related secretion of rubella virus-specific TNF-α and IL-2/GM-CSF, respectively, and have been previously shown to have functional consequences regarding the antiviral activity and susceptibility to HIV-1 infection. We identified associations between individual SNPs and haplotypes in, or involving, the RIG-I (DDX58) gene and rubella-specific TNF-α secretion. This is the first paper to present evidence that polymorphisms in the TLR, vitamin A, vitamin D receptor, and innate immunity genes can influence adaptive cytokine responses to rubella vaccination.
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by mutations in the SMN1 gene. We have studied the molecular pathology of SMA in 745 unrelated Spanish patients using PCR-RFLP, SMN gene dosage analysis, linkage studies, long-range PCR and direct sequencing. Our systematic approach allowed us to complete genetic testing and risk assessment in 736 SMA patients (98.8%). Females were more frequently affected by the acute form of the disease (type I), whereas chronic forms (type II–III) predominated in males (p G). The c.399_402delAGAG mutation accounted for 1.9% of all Spanish SMA patients. Finally, we discovered four novel mutations: c.312dupA, c.411delT, p.Trp190X and p.Met263Thr. Our results confirm that most SMA cases are due to large genetic rearrangements in the repetitive region of the SMA locus, resulting in absence-dysfunction of the SMN1 gene. By contrast, ancestrally inherited small mutations are responsible for only a small number of cases. Four prevalent changes in exons 3 and 6 (c.399_402delAGAG; c.770_780dup11; p.Tyr272Cys; p.Thr274Ile) accounted for almost 70% of our patients with these subtle mutations. An SMN–SMN dimer model featuring tight hydrophobic-aromatic interactions is proposed to explain the impact of mutations at the C-terminal end of the protein.
Endurance performance is a complex phenotype subject to the influence of both environmental and genetic factors. Although the last decade has seen a variety of specific genetic factors proposed, many in metabolic pathways, each is likely to make a limited contribution to an 'elite' phenotype: it seems more likely that such status depends on the simultaneous presence of multiple such variants. The aim of the study was to investigate individually and in combination the association of common metabolic gene polymorphisms with endurance athlete status, the proportion of slow-twitch muscle fibers and maximal oxygen consumption. A total of 1,423 Russian athletes and 1,132 controls were genotyped for 15 gene polymorphisms, of which most were previously reported to be associated with athlete status or related intermediate phenotypes. Muscle fiber composition of m. vastus lateralis in 45 healthy men was determined by immunohistochemistry. Maximal oxygen consumption of 50 male rowers of national competitive standard was determined during an incremental test to exhaustion on a rowing ergometer. Ten 'endurance alleles' (NFATC4 Gly160, PPARA rs4253778 G, PPARD rs2016520 C, PPARGC1A Gly482, PPARGC1B 203Pro, PPP3R1 promoter 5I, TFAM 12Thr, UCP2 55Val, UCP3 rs1800849 T and VEGFA rs2010963 C) were first identified showing discrete associations with elite endurance athlete status. Next, to assess the combined impact of all 10 gene polymorphisms, all athletes were classified according to the number of 'endurance' alleles they possessed. The proportion of subjects with a high (a parts per thousand yen9) number of 'endurance' alleles was greater in the best endurance athletes compared with controls (85.7 vs. 37.8%, P = 7.6 x 10(-6)). The number of 'endurance' alleles was shown to be positively correlated (r = 0.50; P = 4.0 x 10(-4)) with the proportion of fatigue-resistant slow-twitch fibers, and with maximal oxygen consumption (r = 0.46; P = 7.0 x 10(-4)). These data suggest that the likelihood of becoming an elite endurance athlete depends on the carriage of a high number of endurance-related alleles.
Multiple studies have identified FTO gene variants associated with measures of adiposity in European-derived populations. The objective of the study was to determine whether FTO variants were associated with adiposity, including visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue (VAT, SAT), and glucose homeostasis measures in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study (IRASFS). A total of 27 SNPs in FTO intron 1, including SNPs prominent in the literature (rs9939609, rs8050136, rs1121980, rs17817449, rs1421085, and rs3751812), were genotyped in 1,424 Hispanic Americans and 604 African Americans. Multiple SNPs were associated with BMI and SAT (P values ranging from 0.001 to 0.033), and trending or associated with waist circumference (P values ranging from 0.008 to 0.099) in the Hispanic Americans. No association was observed with VAT, illustrating that FTO variants are associated with overall fat mass instead of specific fat depots. For the glucose homeostasis measures, variants were associated with fasting insulin but, consistent with other studies, after BMI adjustment, no evidence of association remained. The lack of association of FTO SNPs with insulin sensitivity is consistent with the lack of association with VAT, since these traits are strongly correlated. In the African Americans, only rs8050136 and rs9939609 were associated with BMI and WAIST (P values of 0.011 and 0.034), and associated or trending towards association with SAT (P values of 0.038 and 0.058). These results confirm that FTO variants are associated with adiposity measures, predisposing individuals to obesity by increasing overall fat mass in Hispanic Americans and to a lesser degree in African Americans.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common arrhythmia in the clinical setting and an independent risk factor for stroke. Approximately 10 million Chinese people are affected by AF, but the genetic basis is largely unknown. A recent genome-wide association study in Iceland identified association between SNP rs2200733 on 4q25 and AF; however, many independent replication studies are essential to unequivocally validate this association. To assess the association between rs2200733 and AF as well as that between rs2200733 and ischemic stroke in a mainland Chinese Han population, we carried out case-control association studies with 383 AF patients versus 851 non-AF controls and 811 ischemic stroke patients versus 688 non-stroke controls. Highly significant association was detected between rs2200733 and AF in a Chinese Han population (allelic P = 3.7 x 10(-11) with OR = 1.81; genotypic P = 4.1 x 10(-12) with a dominant model). When the AF cases were divided into lone AF (32.6%) and other types of AF (67.4%), significantly stronger association was found with lone AF (OR = 2.40, P = 1.3 x 10(-9) compared to OR = 1.59, P = 6.2 x 10(-7) for other types of AF; P = 0.02 for two ORs). No significant association was found between rs2200733 and ischemic stroke. Our results suggest that SNP rs2200733 confers a highly significant risk of AF, but not ischemic stroke, in a more representative Chinese Han population in the mainland China.
We examined the association between maternal age and chromosome 21 nondisjunction by origin of the meiotic error. We analyzed data from two population-based, case–control studies: Atlanta Down Syndrome Project (1989–1999) and National Down Syndrome Project (2001–2004). Cases were live born infants with trisomy 21 and controls were infants without trisomy 21 delivered in the same geographical regions. We enrolled 1,215 of 1,881 eligible case families and 1,375 of 2,293 controls. We report four primary findings. First, the significant association between advanced maternal age and chromosome 21 nondisjunction was restricted to meiotic errors in the egg; the association was not observed in sperm or in post-zygotic mitotic errors. Second, advanced maternal age was significantly associated with both meiosis I (MI) and meiosis II (MII). For example, compared to mothers of controls, mothers of infants with trisomy 21 due to MI nondisjunction were 8.5 times more likely to be ≥40 years old than 20–24 years old at the birth of the index case (95% CI = 5.6–12.9). Where nondisjunction occurred in MII, mothers were 15.1 times more likely to be ≥40 years (95% CI = 8.4–27.3). Third, the ratio of MI to MII errors differed by maternal age. The ratio was lower among women <19 years of age and those ≥40 years (2.1, 2.3, respectively) and higher in the middle age group (3.6). Lastly, we found no effect of grand-maternal age on the risk for maternal nondisjunction. This study emphasizes the complex association between advanced maternal age and nondisjunction of chromosome 21 during oogenesis.
In addition to the differences between populations in transcriptional and translational regulation of genes, alternative pre-mRNA splicing (AS) is also likely to play an important role in regulating gene expression and generating variation in mRNA and protein isoforms. Recently, the genetic contribution to transcript isoform variation has been reported in individuals of recent European descent. We report here results of an investigation of the differences in AS patterns between human populations. AS patterns in 176 HapMap lymphoblastoid cell lines derived from individuals of European and African ancestry were evaluated using the Affymetrix GeneChip® Human Exon 1.0 ST Array. A variety of biological processes such as response to stimulus and transcription were found to be enriched among the differentially spliced genes. The differentially spliced genes also include some involved in human diseases that have different prevalence or susceptibility between populations. The genetic contribution to the population differences in transcript isoform variation was then evaluated by a genome-wide association using the HapMap genotypic data on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The results suggest that local and distant genetic variants account for a substantial fraction of the observed transcript isoform variation between human populations. Our findings provide new insights into the complexity of the human genome as well as the health disparities between the two populations.
Tuberculosis (TB) has substantial mortality worldwide with 5-10% of those exposed progressing to active TB disease. Studies in mice and humans indicate that the inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) molecule plays an important role in immune response to TB. A mixed case-control association study of individuals with TB, relatives, or close contact controls was performed in 726 individuals (279 case and 166 control African-Americans; 198 case and 123 control Caucasians). Thirty-nine single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were selected from the NOS2A gene for single SNP, haplotype, and multilocus interaction analyses with other typed candidate genes using generalized estimating equations. In African-Americans, ten NOS2A SNPs were associated with TB. The strongest associations were observed at rs2274894 (odds ratio (OR) = 1.84, 95% confidence interval (CI) [1.23-2.77], p = 0.003) and rs7215373 (OR = 1.67, 95% CI [1.17-2.37], p = 0.004), both of which passed a false discovery rate correction for multiple comparisons (q* = 0.20). The strongest gene-gene interactions were observed between NOS2A rs2248814 and IFNGR1 rs1327474 (p = 0.0004) and NOS2A rs944722 and IFNGR1 rs1327474 (p = 0.0006). Three other SNPs in NOS2A interacted with TLR4 rs5030729 and five other NOS2A SNPs interacted with IFNGR1 rs1327474. No significant associations were observed in Caucasians. These results suggest that NOS2A variants may contribute to TB susceptibility, particularly in individuals of African descent, and may act synergistically with SNPs in TLR4 and IFNGR1.
Preeclampsia is a heritable pregnancy disorder that presents new onset hypertension and proteinuria. We have previously reported genetic linkage to preeclampsia on chromosomes 2q, 5q and 13q in an Australian/New Zealand (Aust/NZ) familial cohort. This current study centered on identifying the susceptibility gene(s) at the 5q locus. We first prioritized candidate genes using a bioinformatic tool designed for this purpose. We then selected a panel of known SNPs within ten prioritized genes and genotyped them in an extended set of the Aust/NZ families and in a very large, independent Norwegian case/control cohort (1,139 cases, 2,269 controls). In the Aust/NZ cohort we identified evidence of a genetic association for the endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase 1 (ERAP1) gene (rs3734016, P (uncorr) = 0.009) and for the endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase 2 (ERAP2) gene (rs2549782, P (uncorr) = 0.004). In the Norwegian cohort we identified evidence of a genetic association for ERAP1 (rs34750, P (uncorr) = 0.011) and for ERAP2 (rs17408150, P (uncorr) = 0.009). The ERAP2 SNPs in both cohorts remained statistically significant (rs2549782, P (corr) = 0.018; rs17408150, P (corr) = 0.039) after corrections at an experiment-wide level. The ERAP1 and ERAP2 genes encode enzymes that are reported to play a role in blood pressure regulation and essential hypertension in addition to innate immune and inflammatory responses. Perturbations within vascular, immunological and inflammatory pathways constitute important physiological mechanisms in preeclampsia pathogenesis. We herein report a novel preeclampsia risk locus, ERAP2, in a region of known genetic linkage to this pregnancy-specific disorder.
We report four new patients with a submicroscopic deletion in 15q24 manifesting developmental delay, short stature, hypotonia, digital abnormalities, joint laxity, genital abnormalities, and characteristic facial features. These clinical features are shared with six recently reported patients with a 15q24 microdeletion, supporting the notion that this is a recognizable syndrome. We describe a case of an similar to 2.6 Mb microduplication involving a portion of the minimal deletion critical region in a 15-year-old male with short stature, mild mental retardation, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Asperger syndrome, decreased joint mobility, digital abnormalities, and characteristic facial features. Some of these features are shared with a recently reported case with a 15q24 microduplication involving the minimal deletion critical region. We also report two siblings and their mother with duplication adjacent and distal to this region exhibiting mild developmental delay, hypotonia, tapering fingers, characteristic facial features, and prominent ears. The deletion and duplication breakpoints were mapped by array comparative genomic hybridization and the genomic structure in 15q24 was analyzed further. Surprisingly, in addition to the previously recognized three low-copy repeat clusters (BP1, BP2, and BP3), we identified two other paralogous low-copy repeat clusters that likely mediated the formation of alternative sized 15q24 genomic rearrangements via non-allelic homologous recombination.