UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine; UMass Metabolic Network

Date

1-25-2017

Document Type

Article

Disciplines

Biochemistry | Cell Biology | Cellular and Molecular Physiology | Genetics and Genomics | Molecular Biology

Abstract

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.

Rights and Permissions

© The Author(s). 2017. Citation: Genome Biol. 2017 Jan 25;18(1):16. doi: 10.1186/s13059-016-1142-6. Link to article on publisher's site

Comments

Full author list omitted for brevity. For the full list of authors, see article.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID

28122634

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.