An Unexpectedly Complex Architecture for Skin Pigmentation in Africans.
ABSTRACT: Approximately 15 genes have been directly associated with skin pigmentation variation in humans, leading to its characterization as a relatively simple trait. However, by assembling a global survey of quantitative skin pigmentation phenotypes, we demonstrate that pigmentation is more complex than previously assumed, with genetic architecture varying by latitude. We investigate polygenicity in the KhoeSan populations indigenous to southern Africa who have considerably lighter skin than equatorial Africans. We demonstrate that skin pigmentation is highly heritable, but known pigmentation loci explain only a small fraction of the variance. Rather, baseline skin pigmentation is a complex, polygenic trait in the KhoeSan. Despite this, we identify canonical and non-canonical skin pigmentation loci, including near SLC24A5, TYRP1, SMARCA2/VLDLR, and SNX13, using a genome-wide association approach complemented by targeted resequencing. By considering diverse, under-studied African populations, we show how the architecture of skin pigmentation can vary across humans subject to different local evolutionary pressures.
Project description:Skin pigmentation is under strong directional selection in northern European and Asian populations. The indigenous KhoeSan populations of far southern Africa have lighter skin than other sub-Saharan African populations, potentially reflecting local adaptation to a region of Africa with reduced UV radiation. Here, we demonstrate that a canonical Eurasian skin pigmentation gene, SLC24A5, was introduced to southern Africa via recent migration and experienced strong adaptive evolution in the KhoeSan. To reconstruct the evolution of skin pigmentation, we collected phenotypes from over 400 ?Khomani San and Nama individuals and high-throughput sequenced candidate pigmentation genes. The derived causal allele in SLC24A5, p.Ala111Thr, significantly lightens basal skin pigmentation in the KhoeSan and explains 8 to 15% of phenotypic variance in these populations. The frequency of this allele (33 to 53%) is far greater than expected from colonial period European gene flow; however, the most common derived haplotype is identical among European, eastern African, and KhoeSan individuals. Using four-population demographic simulations with selection, we show that the allele was introduced into the KhoeSan only 2,000 y ago via a back-to-Africa migration and then experienced a selective sweep (s = 0.04 to 0.05 in ?Khomani and Nama). The SLC24A5 locus is both a rare example of intense, ongoing adaptation in very recent human history, as well as an adaptive gene flow at a pigmentation locus in humans.
Project description:The genetic architecture and polygenicity of skin pigmentation is explored in KhoeSan communities, including Nama individuals whose phenotype and genotype data are provided in this dataset. By pairing genotypes and quantitative spectrophotometric skin pigmentation phenotypes, we show that skin pigmentation is highly heritable in KhoeSan, yet known pigmentation loci only explains a small fraction of the phenotypic variance. Using genome-wide association analyses, we identified both canonical and non-canonical skin pigmentation loci. We show that this phenotype is more polygenic and complex than previously characterized. (Martin et al., Cell 2017. PMID: 29195075) Following up on the top associated signal with large effect size in the gene SLC24A5, we demonstrate that the canonical Eurasian nonsynonymous allele was introduced into KhoeSan via a recent migration ~2 kya and was under e xtremely strong selection. The derived allele was present at high frequency... (for more see dbGaP study page.)
Project description:The inverse correlation between skin pigmentation and latitude observed in human populations is thought to have been shaped by selective pressures favoring lighter skin to facilitate vitamin D synthesis in regions far from the equator. Several candidate genes for skin pigmentation have been shown to exhibit patterns of polymorphism that overlap the geospatial variation in skin color. However, little work has focused on estimating the time frame over which skin pigmentation has changed and on the intensity of selection acting on different pigmentation genes. To provide a temporal framework for the evolution of lighter pigmentation, we used forward Monte Carlo simulations coupled with a rejection sampling algorithm to estimate the time of onset of selective sweeps and selection coefficients at four genes associated with this trait in Europeans: KITLG, TYRP1, SLC24A5, and SLC45A2. Using compound haplotype systems consisting of rapidly evolving microsatellites linked to one single-nucleotide polymorphism in each gene, we estimate that the onset of the sweep shared by Europeans and East Asians at KITLG occurred approximately 30,000 years ago, after the out-of-Africa migration, whereas the selective sweeps for the European-specific alleles at TYRP1, SLC24A5, and SLC45A2 started much later, within the last 11,000-19,000 years, well after the first migrations of modern humans into Europe. We suggest that these patterns were influenced by recent increases in size of human populations, which favored the accumulation of advantageous variants at different loci.
Project description:NCKX5 is an ion exchanger expressed mostly in pigment cells; however, the functional role for this protein in melanogenesis is not clear. A variant allele of SLC24A5, the gene encoding NCKX5, has been shown to correlate with lighter skin pigmentation in humans, indicating a key role for SLC24A5 in determining human skin colour. SLC24A5 expression has been found to be elevated in melanoma. Knockdown analyses have shown SLC24A5 to be important for pigmentation, but to date the function of this ion exchanger in melanogenesis has not been fully established. Our data suggest NCKX5 may have an alternative activity that is key to its role in the regulation of pigmentation. Here Xenopus laevis is employed as an in vivo model system to further investigate the function of NCKX5 in pigmentation. SLC24A5 is expressed in the melanophores as they differentiate from the neural crest and develop in the RPE of the eye. Morpholino knockdown and rescue experiments were designed to elucidate key residues and regions of the NCKX5 protein. Unilateral morpholino injection at the 2 cell stage resulted in a reduction of pigmentation in the eye and epidermis of one lateral side of the tadpole. Xenopus and human SLC24A5 can rescue the morpholino effects. Further rescue experiments including the use of ion exchange inactive SLC24A5 constructs raise the possibility that full ion exchanger function of NCKX5 may not be required for rescue of pigmentation.
Project description:Skin pigmentation is a complex trait that varies largely among populations. Most genome-wide association studies of this trait have been performed in Europeans and Asians. We aimed to uncover genes influencing skin colour in African-admixed individuals. We performed a genome-wide association study of melanin levels in 285 Hispanic/Latino individuals from Puerto Rico, analyzing 14 million genetic variants. A total of 82 variants with p-value ?1?×?10-5 were followed up in 373 African Americans. Fourteen single nucleotide polymorphisms were replicated, of which nine were associated with skin colour at genome-wide significance in a meta-analysis across the two studies. These results validated the association of two previously known skin pigmentation genes, SLC24A5 (minimum p?=?2.62?×?10-14, rs1426654) and SLC45A2 (minimum p?=?9.71?×?10-10, rs16891982), and revealed the intergenic region of BEND7 and PRPF18 as a novel locus associated with this trait (minimum p?=?4.58?×?10-9, rs6602666). The most significant variant within this region is common among African-descent populations but not among Europeans or Native Americans. Our findings support the advantages of analyzing African-admixed populations to discover new genes influencing skin pigmentation.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Association studies in recently admixed populations are extremely useful to identify the genetic architecture of pigmentation, due to their high genotypic and phenotypic variation. However, to date only four Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) have been carried out in these populations. RESULTS:We present a GWAS of skin pigmentation in an admixed sample from Cuba (N?=?762). Additionally, we conducted a meta-analysis including the Cuban sample, and admixed samples from Cape Verde, Puerto Rico and African-Americans from San Francisco. This meta-analysis is one of the largest efforts so far to characterize the genetic basis of skin pigmentation in admixed populations (N?=?2,104). We identified five genome-wide significant regions in the meta-analysis, and explored if the markers observed in these regions are associated with the expression of relevant pigmentary genes in human melanocyte cultures. In three of the regions identified in the meta-analysis (SLC24A5, SLC45A2, and GRM5/TYR), the association seems to be driven by non-synonymous variants (rs1426654, rs16891982, and rs1042602, respectively). The rs16891982 polymorphism is strongly associated with the expression of the SLC45A2 gene. In the GRM5/TYR region, in addition to the rs1042602 non-synonymous SNP located on the TYR gene, variants located in the nearby GRM5 gene have an independent effect on pigmentation, possibly through regulation of gene expression of the TYR gene. We also replicated an association recently described near the MFSD12 gene on chromosome 19 (lead variant rs112332856). Additionally, our analyses support the presence of multiple signals in the OCA2/HERC2/APBA2 region on chromosome 15. A clear causal candidate is the HERC2 intronic variant rs12913832, which has a profound influence on OCA2 expression. This variant has pleiotropic effects on eye, hair, and skin pigmentation. However, conditional and haplotype-based analyses indicate the presence of other variants with independent effects on melanin levels in OCA2 and APBA2. Finally, a follow-up of genome-wide signals identified in a recent GWAS for tanning response indicates that there is a substantial overlap in the genetic factors influencing skin pigmentation and tanning response. CONCLUSIONS:Our meta-analysis of skin pigmentation GWAS in recently admixed populations provides new insights about the genetic architecture of this complex trait.
Project description:A unique eye color, called tiger-eye, segregates in the Puerto Rican Paso Fino (PRPF) horse breed and is characterized by a bright yellow, amber, or orange iris. Pedigree analysis identified a simple autosomal recessive mode of inheritance for this trait. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) with 24 individuals identified a locus on ECA 1 reaching genome-wide significance (Pcorrected = 1.32 × 10-5). This ECA1 locus harbors the candidate gene, Solute Carrier Family 24 (Sodium/Potassium/Calcium Exchanger), Member 5 (SLC24A5), with known roles in pigmentation in humans, mice, and zebrafish. Humans with compound heterozygous mutations in SLC24A5 have oculocutaneous albinism (OCA) type 6 (OCA6), which is characterized by dilute skin, hair, and eye pigmentation, as well as ocular anomalies. Twenty tiger-eye horses were homozygous for a nonsynonymous mutation in exon 2 (p.Phe91Tyr) of SLC24A5 (called here Tiger-eye 1), which is predicted to be deleterious to protein function. Additionally, eight of the remaining 12 tiger-eye horses heterozygous for the p.Phe91Tyr variant were also heterozygous for a 628 bp deletion encompassing all of exon 7 of SLC24A5 (c.875-340_1081+82del), which we will call here the Tiger-eye 2 allele. None of the 122 brown-eyed horses were homozygous for either tiger-eye-associated allele or were compound heterozygotes. Further, neither variant was detected in 196 horses from four related breeds not known to have the tiger-eye phenotype. Here, we propose that two mutations in SLC24A5 affect iris pigmentation in tiger-eye PRPF horses. Further, unlike OCA6 in humans, the Tiger-eye 1 mutation in its homozygous state or as a compound heterozygote (Tiger-eye 1/Tiger-eye 2) does not appear to cause ocular anomalies or a change in coat color in the PRPF horse.
Project description:Ancestry informative markers (AIMs) are human polymorphisms that exhibit substantially allele frequency differences among populations. These markers can be useful to provide information about ancestry of samples which may be useful in predicting a perpetrator's ethnic origin to aid criminal investigations. Variations in human pigmentation are the most obvious phenotypes to distinguish individuals. It has been recently shown that the variation of a G in an A allele of the coding single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs1426654 within SLC24A5 gene varies in frequency among several population samples according to skin pigmentation. Because of these observations, the SLC24A5 locus has been evaluated as Ancestry Informative Region (AIR) by typing rs1426654 together with two additional intragenic markers (rs2555364 and rs16960620) in 471 unrelated individuals originating from three different continents (Africa, Asia and Europe). This study further supports the role of human SLC24A5 gene in skin pigmentation suggesting that variations in SLC24A5 haplotypes can correlate with human migration and ancestry. Furthermore, our data do reveal the utility of haplotype and combined unphased genotype analysis of SLC24A5 in predicting ancestry and provide a good example of usefulness of genetic characterization of larger regions, in addition to single polymorphisms, as candidates for population-specific sweeps in the ancestral population.
Project description:Despite the wide range of skin pigmentation in humans, little is known about its genetic basis in global populations. Examining ethnically diverse African genomes, we identify variants in or near SLC24A5, MFSD12, DDB1, TMEM138, OCA2, and HERC2 that are significantly associated with skin pigmentation. Genetic evidence indicates that the light pigmentation variant at SLC24A5 was introduced into East Africa by gene flow from non-Africans. At all other loci, variants associated with dark pigmentation in Africans are identical by descent in South Asian and Australo-Melanesian populations. Functional analyses indicate that MFSD12 encodes a lysosomal protein that affects melanogenesis in zebrafish and mice, and that mutations in melanocyte-specific regulatory regions near DDB1/TMEM138 correlate with expression of ultraviolet response genes under selection in Eurasians.
Project description:A major challenge in personalized medicine is the lack of a standard way to define the functional significance of the numerous nonsynonymous, single nucleotide coding variants that are present in each human individual. To begin to address this problem, we have used pigmentation as a model polygenic trait, three common human polymorphisms thought to influence pigmentation, and the zebrafish as a model system. The approach is based on the rescue of embryonic zebrafish mutant phenotypes by "humanized" zebrafish orthologous mRNA. Two hypomorphic polymorphisms, L374F in SLC45A2, and A111T in SLC24A5, have been linked to lighter skin color in Europeans. The phenotypic effect of a second coding polymorphism in SLC45A2, E272K, is unclear. None of these polymorphisms had been tested in the context of a model organism. We have confirmed that zebrafish albino fish are mutant in slc45a2; wild-type slc45a2 mRNA rescued the albino mutant phenotype. Introduction of the L374F polymorphism into albino or the A111T polymorphism into slc24a5 (golden) abolished mRNA rescue of the respective mutant phenotypes, consistent with their known contributions to European skin color. In contrast, the E272K polymorphism had no effect on phenotypic rescue. The experimental conclusion that E272K is unlikely to affect pigmentation is consistent with a lack of correlation between this polymorphism and quantitatively measured skin color in 59 East Asian humans. A survey of mutations causing human oculocutaneous albinism yielded 257 missense mutations, 82% of which are theoretically testable in zebrafish. The developed approach may be extended to other model systems and may potentially contribute to our understanding the functional relationships between DNA sequence variation, human biology, and disease.