Expression Quantitative Trait Loci in Equine Skeletal Muscle Reveals Heritable Variation in Metabolism and the Training Responsive Transcriptome.
ABSTRACT: While over ten thousand genetic loci have been associated with phenotypic traits and inherited diseases in genome-wide association studies, in most cases only a relatively small proportion of the trait heritability is explained and biological mechanisms underpinning these traits have not been clearly identified. Expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) are subsets of genomic loci shown experimentally to influence gene expression. Since gene expression is one of the primary determinants of phenotype, the identification of eQTL may reveal biologically relevant loci and provide functional links between genomic variants, gene expression and ultimately phenotype. Skeletal muscle (gluteus medius) gene expression was quantified by RNA-seq for 111 Thoroughbreds (47 male, 64 female) in race training at a single training establishment sampled at two time-points: at rest (n = 92) and four hours after high-intensity exercise (n = 77); n = 60 were sampled at both time points. Genotypes were generated from the Illumina Equine SNP70 BeadChip. Applying a False Discovery Rate (FDR) corrected P-value threshold (P FDR < 0.05), association tests identified 3,583 cis-eQTL associated with expression of 1,456 genes at rest; 4,992 cis-eQTL associated with the expression of 1,922 genes post-exercise; 1,703 trans-eQTL associated with 563 genes at rest; and 1,219 trans-eQTL associated with 425 genes post-exercise. The gene with the highest cis-eQTL association at both time-points was the endosome-associated-trafficking regulator 1 gene (ENTR1; Rest: P FDR = 3.81 × 10-27, Post-exercise: P FDR = 1.66 × 10-24), which has a potential role in the transcriptional regulation of the solute carrier family 2 member 1 glucose transporter protein (SLC2A1). Functional analysis of genes with significant eQTL revealed significant enrichment for cofactor metabolic processes. These results suggest heritable variation in genomic elements such as regulatory sequences (e.g. gene promoters, enhancers, silencers), microRNA and transcription factor genes, which are associated with metabolic function and may have roles in determining end-point muscle and athletic performance phenotypes in Thoroughbred horses. The incorporation of the eQTL identified with genome and transcriptome-wide association may reveal useful biological links between genetic variants and their impact on traits of interest, such as elite racing performance and adaptation to training.
Project description:Prior expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) studies have demonstrated heritable variation determining differences in gene expression. The majority of eQTL studies were based on cell lines and normal tissues. We performed cis-eQTL analysis using glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) data sets obtained from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) to systematically investigate germline variation's contribution to tumor gene expression levels. We identified 985 significant cis-eQTL associations (FDR<0.05) mapped to 978 SNP loci and 159 unique genes. Approximately 57% of these eQTLs have been previously linked to the gene expression in cell lines and normal tissues; 43% of these share cis associations known to be associated with functional annotations. About 25% of these cis-eQTL associations are also common to those identified in Breast Cancer from a recent study. Further investigation of the relationship between gene expression and patient clinical information identified 13 eQTL genes whose expression level significantly correlates with GBM patient survival (p<0.05). Most of these genes are also differentially expressed in tumor samples and organ-specific controls (p<0.05). Our results demonstrated a significant relationship of germline variation with gene expression levels in GBM. The identification of eQTLs-based expression associated survival might be important to the understanding of genetic contribution to GBM cancer prognosis.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Genetic analysis of gene expression level is a promising approach for characterizing candidate genes that are involved in complex economic traits such as meat quality. In the present study, we conducted expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) and allele-specific expression (ASE) analyses based on RNA-sequencing (RNAseq) data from the longissimus muscle of 189 Duroc?×?Luchuan crossed pigs in order to identify some candidate genes for meat quality traits. RESULTS:Using a genome-wide association study based on a mixed linear model, we identified 7192 cis-eQTL corresponding to 2098 cis-genes (p???1.33e-3, FDR???0.05) and 6400 trans-eQTL corresponding to 863 trans-genes (p???1.13e-6, FDR???0.05). ASE analysis using RNAseq SNPs identified 9815 significant ASE-SNPs in 2253 unique genes. Integrative analysis between the cis-eQTL and ASE target genes identified 540 common genes, including 33 genes with expression levels that were correlated with at least one meat quality trait. Among these 540 common genes, 63 have been reported previously as candidate genes for meat quality traits, such as PHKG1 (q-value?=?1.67e-6 for the leading SNP in the cis-eQTL analysis), NUDT7 (q-value?=?5.67e-13), FADS2 (q-value?=?8.44e-5), and DGAT2 (q-value?=?1.24e-3). CONCLUSIONS:The present study confirmed several previously published candidate genes and identified some novel candidate genes for meat quality traits via eQTL and ASE analyses, which will be useful to prioritize candidate genes in further studies.
Project description:Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have identified thousands of genetic loci associated with cardiometabolic traits including type 2 diabetes (T2D), lipid levels, body fat distribution, and adiposity, although most causal genes remain unknown. We used subcutaneous adipose tissue RNA-seq data from 434 Finnish men from the METSIM study to identify 9,687 primary and 2,785 secondary cis-expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL; <1 Mb from TSS, FDR < 1%). Compared to primary eQTL signals, secondary eQTL signals were located further from transcription start sites, had smaller effect sizes, and were less enriched in adipose tissue regulatory elements compared to primary signals. Among 2,843 cardiometabolic GWAS signals, 262 colocalized by LD and conditional analysis with 318 transcripts as primary and conditionally distinct secondary cis-eQTLs, including some across ancestries. Of cardiometabolic traits examined for adipose tissue eQTL colocalizations, waist-hip ratio (WHR) and circulating lipid traits had the highest percentage of colocalized eQTLs (15% and 14%, respectively). Among alleles associated with increased cardiometabolic GWAS risk, approximately half (53%) were associated with decreased gene expression level. Mediation analyses of colocalized genes and cardiometabolic traits within the 434 individuals provided further evidence that gene expression influences variant-trait associations. These results identify hundreds of candidate genes that may act in adipose tissue to influence cardiometabolic traits.
Project description:Genome-wide association studies have reported 11 regions conferring risk of high-grade serous epithelial ovarian cancer (HGSOC). Expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) analyses can identify candidate susceptibility genes at risk loci. Here we evaluate cis-eQTL associations at 47 regions associated with HGSOC risk (P?10(-5)). For three cis-eQTL associations (P<1.4 × 10(-3), FDR<0.05) at 1p36 (CDC42), 1p34 (CDCA8) and 2q31 (HOXD9), we evaluate the functional role of each candidate by perturbing expression of each gene in HGSOC precursor cells. Overexpression of HOXD9 increases anchorage-independent growth, shortens population-doubling time and reduces contact inhibition. Chromosome conformation capture identifies an interaction between rs2857532 and the HOXD9 promoter, suggesting this SNP is a leading causal variant. Transcriptomic profiling after HOXD9 overexpression reveals enrichment of HGSOC risk variants within HOXD9 target genes (P=6 × 10(-10) for risk variants (P<10(-4)) within 10?kb of a HOXD9 target gene in ovarian cells), suggesting a broader role for this network in genetic susceptibility to HGSOC.
Project description:Using an integrative approach in which genetic variation, gene expression, and clinical phenotypes are assessed in relevant tissues may help functionally characterize the contribution of genetics to disease susceptibility. We sought to identify genetic variation influencing skeletal muscle gene expression (expression quantitative trait loci [eQTLs]) as well as expression associated with measures of insulin sensitivity. We investigated associations of 3,799,401 genetic variants in expression of >7,000 genes from three cohorts (n = 104). We identified 287 genes with cis-acting eQTLs (false discovery rate [FDR] <5%; P < 1.96 × 10(-5)) and 49 expression-insulin sensitivity phenotype associations (i.e., fasting insulin, homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance, and BMI) (FDR <5%; P = 1.34 × 10(-4)). One of these associations, fasting insulin/phosphofructokinase (PFKM), overlaps with an eQTL. Furthermore, the expression of PFKM, a rate-limiting enzyme in glycolysis, was nominally associated with glucose uptake in skeletal muscle (P = 0.026; n = 42) and overexpressed (Bonferroni-corrected P = 0.03) in skeletal muscle of patients with T2D (n = 102) compared with normoglycemic controls (n = 87). The PFKM eQTL (rs4547172; P = 7.69 × 10(-6)) was nominally associated with glucose uptake, glucose oxidation rate, intramuscular triglyceride content, and metabolic flexibility (P = 0.016-0.048; n = 178). We explored eQTL results using published data from genome-wide association studies (DIAGRAM and MAGIC), and a proxy for the PFKM eQTL (rs11168327; r(2) = 0.75) was nominally associated with T2D (DIAGRAM P = 2.7 × 10(-3)). Taken together, our analysis highlights PFKM as a potential regulator of skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with gene expression levels, known as expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs), may improve understanding of the functional role of phenotype-associated SNPs in genome-wide association studies (GWAS). The small sample sizes of some previous eQTL studies have limited their statistical power. We conducted an eQTL investigation of microarray-based gene and exon expression levels in whole blood in a cohort of 5257 individuals, exceeding the single cohort size of previous studies by more than a factor of 2. RESULTS:We detected over 19,000 independent lead cis-eQTLs and over 6000 independent lead trans-eQTLs, targeting over 10,000 gene targets (eGenes), with a false discovery rate (FDR)?<?5%. Of previously published significant GWAS SNPs, 48% are identified to be significant eQTLs in our study. Some trans-eQTLs point toward novel mechanistic explanations for the association of the SNP with the GWAS-related phenotype. We also identify 59 distinct blocks or clusters of trans-eQTLs, each targeting the expression of sets of six to 229 distinct trans-eGenes. Ten of these sets of target genes are significantly enriched for microRNA targets (FDR?<?5%). Many of these clusters are associated in GWAS with multiple phenotypes. CONCLUSIONS:These findings provide insights into the molecular regulatory patterns involved in human physiology and pathophysiology. We illustrate the value of our eQTL database in the context of a recent GWAS meta-analysis of coronary artery disease and provide a list of targeted eGenes for 21 of 58 GWAS loci.
Project description:Most expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) studies to date have been performed in heterogeneous tissues as opposed to specific cell types. To better understand the cell-type-specific regulatory landscape of human melanocytes, which give rise to melanoma but account for <5% of typical human skin biopsies, we performed an eQTL analysis in primary melanocyte cultures from 106 newborn males. We identified 597,335 cis-eQTL SNPs prior to linkage disequilibrium (LD) pruning and 4997 eGenes (FDR < 0.05). Melanocyte eQTLs differed considerably from those identified in the 44 GTEx tissue types, including skin. Over a third of melanocyte eGenes, including key genes in melanin synthesis pathways, were unique to melanocytes compared to those of GTEx skin tissues or TCGA melanomas. The melanocyte data set also identified trans-eQTLs, including those connecting a pigmentation-associated functional SNP with four genes, likely through cis-regulation of IRF4 Melanocyte eQTLs are enriched in cis-regulatory signatures found in melanocytes as well as in melanoma-associated variants identified through genome-wide association studies. Melanocyte eQTLs also colocalized with melanoma GWAS variants in five known loci. Finally, a transcriptome-wide association study using melanocyte eQTLs uncovered four novel susceptibility loci, where imputed expression levels of five genes (ZFP90, HEBP1, MSC, CBWD1, and RP11-383H13.1) were associated with melanoma at genome-wide significant P-values. Our data highlight the utility of lineage-specific eQTL resources for annotating GWAS findings, and present a robust database for genomic research of melanoma risk and melanocyte biology.
Project description:The biological basis of voluntary exercise is complex and simultaneously controlled by peripheral (ability) and central (motivation) mechanisms. The accompanying natural reward, potential addiction, and the motivation associated with exercise are hypothesized to be regulated by multiple brain regions, neurotransmitters, peptides, and hormones. We generated a large (n = 815) advanced intercross line of mice (G(4)) derived from a line selectively bred for increased wheel running (high runner) and the C57BL/6J inbred strain. We previously mapped multiple quantitative trait loci (QTL) that contribute to the biological control of voluntary exercise levels, body weight, and composition, as well as changes in body weight and composition in response to short-term exercise. Currently, using a subset of the G(4) population (n = 244), we examined the transcriptional landscape relevant to neurobiological aspects of voluntary exercise by means of global mRNA expression profiles from brain tissue. We identified genome-wide expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) regulating variation in mRNA abundance and determined the mode of gene action and the cis- and/or trans-acting nature of each eQTL. Subsets of cis-acting eQTL, colocalizing with QTL for exercise or body composition traits, were used to identify candidate genes based on both positional and functional evidence, which were further filtered by correlational and exclusion mapping analyses. Specifically, we discuss six plausible candidate genes (Insig2, Socs2, DBY, Arrdc4, Prcp, IL15) and their potential role in the regulation of voluntary activity, body composition, and their interactions. These results develop a potential initial model of the underlying functional genomic architecture of predisposition to voluntary exercise and its effects on body weight and composition within a neurophysiological framework.
Project description:Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified 19 risk variants associated with colorectal cancer. As most of these risk variants reside outside the coding regions of genes, we conducted cis-expression quantitative trait loci (cis-eQTL) analyses to investigate possible regulatory functions on the expression of neighboring genes. Forty microsatellite stable and CpG island methylator phenotype-negative colorectal tumors and paired adjacent normal colon tissues were used for genome-wide SNP and gene expression profiling. We found that three risk variants (rs10795668, rs4444235 and rs9929218, using near perfect proxies rs706771, rs11623717 and rs2059252, respectively) were significantly associated (FDR q-value ?0.05) with expression levels of nearby genes (<2 Mb up- or down-stream). We observed an association between the low colorectal cancer risk allele (A) for rs10795668 at 10p14 and increased expression of ATP5C1 (q?=?0.024) and between the colorectal cancer high risk allele (C) for rs4444235 at 14q22.2 and increased expression of DLGAP5 (q?=?0.041), both in tumor samples. The colorectal cancer low risk allele (A) for rs9929218 at 16q22.1 was associated with a significant decrease in expression of both NOL3 (q?=?0.017) and DDX28 (q?=?0.046) in the adjacent normal colon tissue samples. Of the four genes, DLGAP5 and NOL3 have been previously reported to play a role in colon carcinogenesis and ATP5C1 and DDX28 are mitochondrial proteins involved in cellular metabolism and division, respectively. The combination of GWAS findings, prior functional studies, and the cis-eQTL analyses described here suggest putative functional activities for three of the colorectal cancer GWAS identified risk loci as regulating the expression of neighboring genes.
Project description:Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with diseases of the colon including inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and colorectal cancer (CRC). However, the functional role of many of these SNPs is largely unknown and tissue-specific resources are lacking. Expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) mapping identifies target genes of disease-associated SNPs. This study provides a comprehensive eQTL map of distal colonic samples obtained from 40 healthy African Americans and demonstrates their relevance for GWAS of colonic diseases.8.4 million imputed SNPs were tested for their associations with 16,252 expression probes representing 12,363 unique genes. 1,941 significant cis-eQTL, corresponding to 122 independent signals, were identified at a false discovery rate (FDR) of 0.01. Overall, among colon cis-eQTL, there was significant enrichment for GWAS variants for IBD (Crohn's disease [CD] and ulcerative colitis [UC]) and CRC as well as type 2 diabetes and body mass index. ERAP2, ADCY3, INPP5E, UBA7, SFMBT1, NXPE1 and REXO2 were identified as target genes for IBD-associated variants. The CRC-associated eQTL rs3802842 was associated with the expression of C11orf93 (COLCA2). Enrichment of colon eQTL near transcription start sites and for active histone marks was demonstrated, and eQTL with high population differentiation were identified.Through the comprehensive study of eQTL in the human colon, this study identified novel target genes for IBD- and CRC-associated genetic variants. Moreover, bioinformatic characterization of colon eQTL provides a tissue-specific tool to improve understanding of biological differences in diseases between different ethnic groups.