Apolipoprotein E (APOE) alleles are associated with longevity in genome-wide scans, with ?4 correlated with shorter life, and ?2 with longer life, than ?3. We hypothesized that rare APOE variants with large individual effects might also contribute to long-term good health. The APOE exons and promoter were resequenced in DNA samples from 376 healthy oldest old aged ?85yrs with no self-reported history of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, major pulmonary disease or Alzheimer disease ("Super-Seniors") and 376 population-based controls aged 41-54. Forty variants were observed: 32 were rare (minor allele frequency <2%); 9 were nonsynonymous. Controls were more likely to have an ?4 allele (Pearson ?(2) = 6.61, p = 0.04). Among the Super-Seniors, APOE allele status was not associated with body mass index or Mini Mental State Examination score. There was no excess of rare APOE variants in healthy oldest old compared with midlife controls, or vice-versa; however, this does not rule out an effect of some variants on ApoE function. Our findings were consistent with ?4 being a risk factor for early mortality.
Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) meta-analyses have identified a strong association signal for lung function, which maps to a region on 4q24 containing two oppositely transcribed genes: glutathione S-transferase, C-terminal domain containing (GSTCD) and integrator complex subunit 12 (INTS12). Both genes were found to be expressed in a range of human airway cell types. The promoter regions and transcription start sites were determined in mRNA from human lung and a novel splice variant was identified for each gene. We obtained the following evidence for GSTCD and INTS12 co-regulation and expression: (i) correlated mRNA expression was observed both via Q-PCR and in a lung expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) study, (ii) induction of both GSTCD and INTS12 mRNA expression in human airway smooth muscle cells was seen in response to TGF?1, (iii) a lung eQTL study revealed that both GSTCD and INTS12 mRNA levels positively correlate with percent predicted FEV1, and (iv) FEV1 GWAS associated SNPs in 4q24 were found to act as an eQTL for INTS12 in a number of tissues. In fixed sections of human lung tissue, GSTCD protein expression was ubiquitous, whereas INTS12 expression was predominantly in epithelial cells and pneumocytes. During human fetal lung development, GSTCD protein expression was observed to be highest at the earlier pseudoglandular stage (10-12 weeks) compared with the later canalicular stage (17-19 weeks), whereas INTS12 expression levels did not alter throughout these stages. Knowledge of the transcriptional and translational regulation and expression of GSTCD and INTS12 provides important insights into the potential role of these genes in determining lung function. Future work is warranted to fully define the functions of INTS12 and GSTCD.
Synthetic lethality has been proposed as a way to leverage the genetic differences found in tumor cells to affect their selective killing. Cohesins, which tether sister chromatids together until anaphase onset, are mutated in a variety of tumor types. The elucidation of synthetic lethal interactions with cohesin mutants therefore identifies potential therapeutic targets. We used a cross-species approach to identify robust negative genetic interactions with cohesin mutants. Utilizing essential and non-essential mutant synthetic genetic arrays in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we screened genome-wide for genetic interactions with hypomorphic mutations in cohesin genes. A somatic cell proliferation assay in Caenorhabditis elegans demonstrated that the majority of interactions were conserved. Analysis of the interactions found that cohesin mutants require the function of genes that mediate replication fork progression. Conservation of these interactions between replication fork mediators and cohesin in both yeast and C. elegans prompted us to test whether other replication fork mediators not found in the yeast were required for viability in cohesin mutants. PARP1 has roles in the DNA damage response but also in the restart of stalled replication forks. We found that a hypomorphic allele of the C. elegans SMC1 orthologue, him-1(e879), genetically interacted with mutations in the orthologues of PAR metabolism genes resulting in a reduced brood size and somatic cell defects. We then demonstrated that this interaction is conserved in human cells by showing that PARP inhibitors reduce the viability of cultured human cells depleted for cohesin components. This work demonstrates that large-scale genetic interaction screening in yeast can identify clinically relevant genetic interactions and suggests that PARP inhibitors, which are currently undergoing clinical trials as a treatment of homologous recombination-deficient cancers, may be effective in treating cancers that harbor cohesin mutations.
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