- A genome-wide scan for common alleles affecting risk for autism (2010)
- Although autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) have a substantial genetic basis, most of the known genetic risk has been traced to rare variants, principally copy number variants (CNVs). To identify common risk variation, the Autism Genome Project (AGP) Consortium genotyped 1558 rigorously defined ASD families for 1 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and analyzed these SNP genotypes for association with ASD. In one of four primary association analyses, the association signal for marker rs4141463, located within MACROD2, crossed the genome-wide association significance threshold of P < 5 3 10 exp -8. When a smaller replication sample was analyzed, the risk allele at rs4141463 was again over-transmitted; yet, consistent with the winner’s curse, its effect size in the replication sample was much smaller; and, for the combined samples, the association signal barely fell below the P < 5 3 10 exp -8 threshold. Exploratory analyses of phenotypic subtypes yielded no significant associations after correction for multiple testing. They did, however, yield strong signals within several genes, KIAA0564, PLD5, POU6F2, ST8SIA2 and TAF1C.
- A novel approach of homozygous haplotype sharing identifies candidate genes in autism spectrum disorder (2011)
- Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a highly heritable disorder of complex and heterogeneous aetiology. It is primarily characterized by altered cognitive ability including impaired language and communication skills and fundamental deficits in social reciprocity. Despite some notable successes in neuropsychiatric genetics, overall, the high heritability of ASD (~90%) remains poorly explained by common genetic risk variants. However, recent studies suggest that rare genomic variation, in particular copy number variation, may account for a significant proportion of the genetic basis of ASD. We present a large scale analysis to identify candidate genes which may contain low-frequency recessive variation contributing to ASD while taking into account the potential contribution of population differences to the genetic heterogeneity of ASD. Our strategy, homozygous haplotype (HH) mapping, aims to detect homozygous segments of identical haplotype structure that are shared at a higher frequency amongst ASD patients compared to parental controls. The analysis was performed on 1,402 Autism Genome Project trios genotyped for 1 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We identified 25 known and 1,218 novel ASD candidate genes in the discovery analysis including CADM2, ABHD14A, CHRFAM7A, GRIK2, GRM3, EPHA3, FGF10, KCND2, PDZK1, IMMP2L and FOXP2. Furthermore, 10 of the previously reported ASD genes and 300 of the novel candidates identified in the discovery analysis were replicated in an independent sample of 1,182 trios. Our results demonstrate that regions of HH are significantly enriched for previously reported ASD candidate genes and the observed association is independent of gene size (odds ratio 2.10). Our findings highlight the applicability of HH mapping in complex disorders such as ASD and offer an alternative approach to the analysis of genome-wide association data.
- Erioflorin stabilizes the tumor suppressor Pdcd4 by inhibiting its interaction with the E3-ligase β-TrCP1 (2012)
- Loss of the tumor suppressor Pdcd4 was reported for various tumor entities and proposed as a prognostic marker in tumorigenesis. We previously characterized decreased Pdcd4 protein stability in response to mitogenic stimuli, which resulted from p70S6K1-dependent protein phosphorylation, β-TrCP1-mediated ubiquitination, and proteasomal destruction. Following high-throughput screening of natural product extract libraries using a luciferase-based reporter assay to monitor phosphorylation-dependent proteasomal degradation of the tumor suppressor Pdcd4, we succeeded in showing that a crude extract from Eriophyllum lanatum stabilized Pdcd4 from TPA-induced degradation. Erioflorin was identified as the active component and inhibited not only degradation of the Pdcd4-luciferase-based reporter but also of endogenous Pdcd4 at low micromolar concentrations. Mechanistically, erioflorin interfered with the interaction between the E3-ubiquitin ligase β-TrCP1 and Pdcd4 in cell culture and in in vitro binding assays, consequently decreasing ubiquitination and degradation of Pdcd4. Interestingly, while erioflorin stabilized additional β-TrCP-targets (such as IκBα and β-catenin), it did not prevent the degradation of targets of other E3-ubiquitin ligases such as p21 (a Skp2-target) and HIF-1α (a pVHL-target), implying selectivity for β-TrCP. Moreover, erioflorin inhibited the tumor-associated activity of known Pdcd4- and IκBα-regulated αtranscription factors, that is, AP-1 and NF-κB, altered cell cycle progression and suppressed proliferation of various cancer cell lines. Our studies succeeded in identifying erioflorin as a novel Pdcd4 stabilizer that inhibits the interaction of Pdcd4 with the E3-ubiquitin ligase β-TrCP1. Inhibition of E3-ligase/target-protein interactions may offer the possibility to target degradation of specific proteins only as compared to general proteasome inhibition.
- Individual common variants exert weak effects on the risk for autism spectrum disorders (2012)
- While it is apparent that rare variation can play an important role in the genetic architecture of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), the contribution of common variation to the risk of developing ASD is less clear. To produce a more comprehensive picture, we report Stage 2 of the Autism Genome Project genome-wide association study, adding 1301 ASD families and bringing the total to 2705 families analysed (Stages 1 and 2). In addition to evaluating the association of individual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we also sought evidence that common variants, en masse, might affect the risk. Despite genotyping over a million SNPs covering the genome, no single SNP shows significant association with ASD or selected phenotypes at a genome-wide level. The SNP that achieves the smallest P-value from secondary analyses is rs1718101. It falls in CNTNAP2, a gene previously implicated in susceptibility for ASD. This SNP also shows modest association with age of word/phrase acquisition in ASD subjects, of interest because features of language development are also associated with other variation in CNTNAP2. In contrast, allele scores derived from the transmission of common alleles to Stage 1 cases significantly predict case status in the independent Stage 2 sample. Despite being significant, the variance explained by these allele scores was small (Vm< 1%). Based on results from individual SNPs and their en masse effect on risk, as inferred from the allele score results, it is reasonable to conclude that common variants affect the risk for ASD but their individual effects are modest.