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Genet Epidemiol ; 43(6): 596-608, 2019 09.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30950127


Regulation of gene expression is an important mechanism through which genetic variation can affect complex traits. A substantial portion of gene expression variation can be explained by both local (cis) and distal (trans) genetic variation. Much progress has been made in uncovering cis-acting expression quantitative trait loci (cis-eQTL), but trans-eQTL have been more difficult to identify and replicate. Here we take advantage of our ability to predict the cis component of gene expression coupled with gene mapping methods such as PrediXcan to identify high confidence candidate trans-acting genes and their targets. That is, we correlate the cis component of gene expression with observed expression of genes in different chromosomes. Leveraging the shared cis-acting regulation across tissues, we combine the evidence of association across all available Genotype-Tissue Expression Project tissues and find 2,356 trans-acting/target gene pairs with high mappability scores. Reassuringly, trans-acting genes are enriched in transcription and nucleic acid binding pathways and target genes are enriched in known transcription factor binding sites. Interestingly, trans-acting genes are more significantly associated with selected complex traits and diseases than target or background genes, consistent with percolating trans effects. Our scripts and summary statistics are publicly available for future studies of trans-acting gene regulation.

Doenças Cardiovasculares/genética , Regulação da Expressão Gênica , Estudos de Associação Genética , Herança Multifatorial , Locos de Características Quantitativas , Transativadores/genética , Transcrição Genética , Mapeamento Cromossômico , Genoma Humano , Humanos , Transcriptoma
Nat Genet ; 51(4): 592-599, 2019 04.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30926968


Transcriptome-wide association studies (TWAS) integrate genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and gene expression datasets to identify gene-trait associations. In this Perspective, we explore properties of TWAS as a potential approach to prioritize causal genes at GWAS loci, by using simulations and case studies of literature-curated candidate causal genes for schizophrenia, low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol and Crohn's disease. We explore risk loci where TWAS accurately prioritizes the likely causal gene as well as loci where TWAS prioritizes multiple genes, some likely to be non-causal, owing to sharing of expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL). TWAS is especially prone to spurious prioritization with expression data from non-trait-related tissues or cell types, owing to substantial cross-cell-type variation in expression levels and eQTL strengths. Nonetheless, TWAS prioritizes candidate causal genes more accurately than simple baselines. We suggest best practices for causal-gene prioritization with TWAS and discuss future opportunities for improvement. Our results showcase the strengths and limitations of using eQTL datasets to determine causal genes at GWAS loci.

Predisposição Genética para Doença/genética , Transcriptoma/genética , Doença de Crohn/genética , Variação Genética/genética , Estudo de Associação Genômica Ampla/métodos , Humanos , Lipoproteínas LDL/genética , Locos de Características Quantitativas/genética , Esquizofrenia/genética
PLoS Genet ; 15(1): e1007889, 2019 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30668570


Integration of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) studies is needed to improve our understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying GWAS hits, and our ability to identify therapeutic targets. Gene-level association methods such as PrediXcan can prioritize candidate targets. However, limited eQTL sample sizes and absence of relevant developmental and disease context restrict our ability to detect associations. Here we propose an efficient statistical method (MultiXcan) that leverages the substantial sharing of eQTLs across tissues and contexts to improve our ability to identify potential target genes. MultiXcan integrates evidence across multiple panels using multivariate regression, which naturally takes into account the correlation structure. We apply our method to simulated and real traits from the UK Biobank and show that, in realistic settings, we can detect a larger set of significantly associated genes than using each panel separately. To improve applicability, we developed a summary result-based extension called S-MultiXcan, which we show yields highly concordant results with the individual level version when LD is well matched. Our multivariate model-based approach allowed us to use the individual level results as a gold standard to calibrate and develop a robust implementation of the summary-based extension. Results from our analysis as well as software and necessary resources to apply our method are publicly available.

Estudo de Associação Genômica Ampla/estatística & dados numéricos , Locos de Características Quantitativas/genética , Transcriptoma/genética , Expressão Gênica/genética , Humanos , Polimorfismo de Nucleotídeo Único/genética , Software/estatística & dados numéricos
Genome Biol ; 19(1): 130, 2018 09 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30205839


Expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) identified using tumor gene expression data could affect gene expression in cancer cells, tumor-associated normal cells, or both. Here, we have demonstrated a method to identify eQTLs affecting expression in cancer cells by modeling the statistical interaction between genotype and tumor purity. Only one third of breast cancer risk variants, identified as eQTLs from a conventional analysis, could be confidently attributed to cancer cells. The remaining variants could affect cells of the tumor microenvironment, such as immune cells and fibroblasts. Deconvolution of tumor eQTLs will help determine how inherited polymorphisms influence cancer risk, development, and treatment response.

Nat Commun ; 9(1): 1825, 2018 05 08.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29739930


Scalable, integrative methods to understand mechanisms that link genetic variants with phenotypes are needed. Here we derive a mathematical expression to compute PrediXcan (a gene mapping approach) results using summary data (S-PrediXcan) and show its accuracy and general robustness to misspecified reference sets. We apply this framework to 44 GTEx tissues and 100+ phenotypes from GWAS and meta-analysis studies, creating a growing public catalog of associations that seeks to capture the effects of gene expression variation on human phenotypes. Replication in an independent cohort is shown. Most of the associations are tissue specific, suggesting context specificity of the trait etiology. Colocalized significant associations in unexpected tissues underscore the need for an agnostic scanning of multiple contexts to improve our ability to detect causal regulatory mechanisms. Monogenic disease genes are enriched among significant associations for related traits, suggesting that smaller alterations of these genes may cause a spectrum of milder phenotypes.

Nat Genet ; 50(1): 151-158, 2018 Jan.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29229983


The excision of introns from pre-mRNA is an essential step in mRNA processing. We developed LeafCutter to study sample and population variation in intron splicing. LeafCutter identifies variable splicing events from short-read RNA-seq data and finds events of high complexity. Our approach obviates the need for transcript annotations and circumvents the challenges in estimating relative isoform or exon usage in complex splicing events. LeafCutter can be used both to detect differential splicing between sample groups and to map splicing quantitative trait loci (sQTLs). Compared with contemporary methods, our approach identified 1.4-2.1 times more sQTLs, many of which helped us ascribe molecular effects to disease-associated variants. Transcriptome-wide associations between LeafCutter intron quantifications and 40 complex traits increased the number of associated disease genes at a 5% false discovery rate by an average of 2.1-fold compared with that detected through the use of gene expression levels alone. LeafCutter is fast, scalable, easy to use, and available online.