Schizophrenia is an idiopathic mental disorder with a heritable component and a substantial public health impact. We conducted a multi-stage genome-wide association study (GWAS) for schizophrenia beginning with a Swedish national sample (5,001 cases and 6,243 controls) followed by meta-analysis with previous schizophrenia GWAS (8,832 cases and 12,067 controls) and finally by replication of SNPs in 168 genomic regions in independent samples (7,413 cases, 19,762 controls and 581 parent-offspring trios). We identified 22 loci associated at genome-wide significance; 13 of these are new, and 1 was previously implicated in bipolar disorder. Examination of candidate genes at these loci suggests the involvement of neuronal calcium signaling. We estimate that 8,300 independent, mostly common SNPs (95% credible interval of 6,300-10,200 SNPs) contribute to risk for schizophrenia and that these collectively account for at least 32% of the variance in liability. Common genetic variation has an important role in the etiology of schizophrenia, and larger studies will allow more detailed understanding of this disorder.
Zebrafish have become a popular organism for the study of vertebrate gene function. The virtually transparent embryos of this species, and the ability to accelerate genetic studies by gene knockdown or overexpression, have led to the widespread use of zebrafish in the detailed investigation of vertebrate gene function and increasingly, the study of human genetic disease. However, for effective modelling of human genetic disease it is important to understand the extent to which zebrafish genes and gene structures are related to orthologous human genes. To examine this, we generated a high-quality sequence assembly of the zebrafish genome, made up of an overlapping set of completely sequenced large-insert clones that were ordered and oriented using a high-resolution high-density meiotic map. Detailed automatic and manual annotation provides evidence of more than 26,000 protein-coding genes, the largest gene set of any vertebrate so far sequenced. Comparison to the human reference genome shows that approximately 70% of human genes have at least one obvious zebrafish orthologue. In addition, the high quality of this genome assembly provides a clearer understanding of key genomic features such as a unique repeat content, a scarcity of pseudogenes, an enrichment of zebrafish-specific genes on chromosome 4 and chromosomal regions that influence sex determination.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a common form of inflammatory arthritis predominantly affecting the spine and pelvis that occurs in approximately 5 out of 1,000 adults of European descent. Here we report the identification of three variants in the RUNX3, LTBR-TNFRSF1A and IL12B regions convincingly associated with ankylosing spondylitis (P < 5 × 10(-8) in the combined discovery and replication datasets) and a further four loci at PTGER4, TBKBP1, ANTXR2 and CARD9 that show strong association across all our datasets (P < 5 × 10(-6) overall, with support in each of the three datasets studied). We also show that polymorphisms of ERAP1, which encodes an endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase involved in peptide trimming before HLA class I presentation, only affect ankylosing spondylitis risk in HLA-B27-positive individuals. These findings provide strong evidence that HLA-B27 operates in ankylosing spondylitis through a mechanism involving aberrant processing of antigenic peptides.
Multiple sclerosis is a common disease of the central nervous system in which the interplay between inflammatory and neurodegenerative processes typically results in intermittent neurological disturbance followed by progressive accumulation of disability. Epidemiological studies have shown that genetic factors are primarily responsible for the substantially increased frequency of the disease seen in the relatives of affected individuals, and systematic attempts to identify linkage in multiplex families have confirmed that variation within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) exerts the greatest individual effect on risk. Modestly powered genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have enabled more than 20 additional risk loci to be identified and have shown that multiple variants exerting modest individual effects have a key role in disease susceptibility. Most of the genetic architecture underlying susceptibility to the disease remains to be defined and is anticipated to require the analysis of sample sizes that are beyond the numbers currently available to individual research groups. In a collaborative GWAS involving 9,772 cases of European descent collected by 23 research groups working in 15 different countries, we have replicated almost all of the previously suggested associations and identified at least a further 29 novel susceptibility loci. Within the MHC we have refined the identity of the HLA-DRB1 risk alleles and confirmed that variation in the HLA-A gene underlies the independent protective effect attributable to the class I region. Immunologically relevant genes are significantly overrepresented among those mapping close to the identified loci and particularly implicate T-helper-cell differentiation in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis.
To identify a novel amplified cancer gene a systematic screen of 975 human cancer DNA samples, 750 cell lines and 225 primary tumors, using the Affymetrix 10K SNP microarray was undertaken. The screen identified 193 amplicons. A previously uncharacterized amplicon located on 6p21.2 whose 1 Mb minimal common amplified region contained eight genes (GLO1, DNAH8, GLP1R, C6orf64, KCNK5, KCNK17, KCNK16, and C6orf102) was further investigated to determine which gene(s) are the biological targets of this amplicon. Real time quantitative PCR (qPCR) analysis of all amplicon 6p21.2 genes in 618 human cancer cell lines identified GLO1, encoding glyoxalase 1, to be the most frequently amplified gene [twofold or greater amplification in 8.4% (49/536) of cancers]. Also the association between amplification and overexpression was greatest for GLO1. RNAi knockdown of GLO1 had the greatest and most consistent impact on cell accumulation and apoptosis. Cell lines with GLO1 amplification were more sensitive to inhibition of GLO1 by bromobenzylglutathione cyclopentyl diester (BBGC). Subsequent qPCR of 520 primary tumor samples identified twofold and greater amplification of GLO1 in 8/37 (22%) of breast, 12/71 (17%) of sarcomas, 6/53 (11.3%) of nonsmall cell lung, 2/23 (8.7%) of bladder, 6/93 (6.5%) of renal and 5/83 (6%) of gastric cancers. Amplification of GLO1 was rare in colon cancer (1/35) and glioma (1/94). Collectively the results indicate that GLO1 is at least one of the targets of gene amplification on 6p21.2 and may represent a useful target for therapy in cancers with GLO1 amplification.
The cancer genome is moulded by the dual processes of somatic mutation and selection. Homozygous deletions in cancer genomes occur over recessive cancer genes, where they can confer selective growth advantage, and over fragile sites, where they are thought to reflect an increased local rate of DNA breakage. However, most homozygous deletions in cancer genomes are unexplained. Here we identified 2,428 somatic homozygous deletions in 746 cancer cell lines. These overlie 11% of protein-coding genes that, therefore, are not mandatory for survival of human cells. We derived structural signatures that distinguish between homozygous deletions over recessive cancer genes and fragile sites. Application to clusters of unexplained homozygous deletions suggests that many are in regions of inherent fragility, whereas a small subset overlies recessive cancer genes. The results illustrate how structural signatures can be used to distinguish between the influences of mutation and selection in cancer genomes. The extensive copy number, genotyping, sequence and expression data available for this large series of publicly available cancer cell lines renders them informative reagents for future studies of cancer biology and drug discovery.
High-throughput oligonucleotide microarrays are commonly employed to investigate genetic disease, including cancer. The algorithms employed to extract genotypes and copy number variation function optimally for diploid genomes usually associated with inherited disease. However, cancer genomes are aneuploid in nature leading to systematic errors when using these techniques. We introduce a preprocessing transformation and hidden Markov model algorithm bespoke to cancer. This produces genotype classification, specification of regions of loss of heterozygosity, and absolute allelic copy number segmentation. Accurate prediction is demonstrated with a combination of independent experimental techniques. These methods are exemplified with affymetrix genome-wide SNP6.0 data from 755 cancer cell lines, enabling inference upon a number of features of biological interest. These data and the coded algorithm are freely available for download.
Ulcerative colitis is a common form of inflammatory bowel disease with a complex etiology. As part of the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 2, we performed a genome-wide association scan for ulcerative colitis in 2,361 cases and 5,417 controls. Loci showing evidence of association at P < 1 x 10(-5) were followed up by genotyping in an independent set of 2,321 cases and 4,818 controls. We find genome-wide significant evidence of association at three new loci, each containing at least one biologically relevant candidate gene, on chromosomes 20q13 (HNF4A; P = 3.2 x 10(-17)), 16q22 (CDH1 and CDH3; P = 2.8 x 10(-8)) and 7q31 (LAMB1; P = 3.0 x 10(-8)). Of note, CDH1 has recently been associated with susceptibility to colorectal cancer, an established complication of longstanding ulcerative colitis. The new associations suggest that changes in the integrity of the intestinal epithelial barrier may contribute to the pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis.
Somatically acquired epigenetic changes are present in many cancers. Epigenetic regulation is maintained via post-translational modifications of core histones. Here, we describe inactivating somatic mutations in the histone lysine demethylase gene UTX, pointing to histone H3 lysine methylation deregulation in multiple tumor types. UTX reintroduction into cancer cells with inactivating UTX mutations resulted in slowing of proliferation and marked transcriptional changes. These data identify UTX as a new human cancer gene.
Large-scale systematic resequencing has been proposed as the key future strategy for the discovery of rare, disease-causing sequence variants across the spectrum of human complex disease. We have sequenced the coding exons of the X chromosome in 208 families with X-linked mental retardation (XLMR), the largest direct screen for constitutional disease-causing mutations thus far reported. The screen has discovered nine genes implicated in XLMR, including SYP, ZNF711 and CASK reported here, confirming the power of this strategy. The study has, however, also highlighted issues confronting whole-genome sequencing screens, including the observation that loss of function of 1% or more of X-chromosome genes is compatible with apparently normal existence.
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