- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- BMC Medical Genomics
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Abstract A large number of genetic variations have been identified to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related quantitative traits. However, majority of existing studies focused on single types of omics data, lacking the power of generating a community including multi-omic markers and their functional connections. Because of this, the immense value of multi-omics data on AD has attracted much attention. Leveraging genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic data, and their backbone network through functional relations, we proposed a modularity-constrained logistic regression model to mine the association between disease status and a group of functionally connected multi-omic features, i.e. single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), genes and proteins. This new model was applied to the real data collected from the frontal cortex tissue in the Religious Orders Study and Memory and Aging Project cohort. Compared with other state-of-art methods, it provided overall the best prediction performance during cross-validation. This new method helped identify a group of densely connected SNPs, genes and proteins predictive of AD status. These SNPs are mostly expression quantitative trait loci in the frontal region. Brain-wide gene expression profile of these genes and proteins were highly correlated with the brain activation map of ‘vision’, a brain function partly controlled by frontal cortex. These genes and proteins were also found to be associated with the amyloid deposition, cortical volume and average thickness of frontal regions. Taken together, these results suggested a potential pathway underlying the development of AD from SNPs to gene expression, protein expression and ultimately brain functional and structural changes.more » « less
Although genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have successfully located various genetic variants susceptible to Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), it is still unclear how specific variants interact with genes and tissues to elucidate pathologies associated with AD. Summary-data-based Mendelian Randomization (SMR) addresses this problem through an instrumental variable approach that integrates data from independent GWAS and expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) studies in order to infer a causal effect of gene expression on a trait.
Our study employed the SMR approach to integrate a set of meta-analytic cis-eQTL information from the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx), CommonMind Consortium (CMC), and Religious Orders Study and Rush Memory and Aging Project (ROS/MAP) consortiums with three sets of meta-analysis AD GWAS results.
Our analysis identified twelve total gene probes (associated with twelve distinct genes) with a significant association with AD. Four of these genes survived a test of pleiotropy from linkage (the HEIDI test).Three of these genes – RP11-385F7.1, PRSS36, and AC012146.7 – have not yet been reported differentially expressed in the brain in the context of AD, and thus are the novel findings warranting further investigation.
BIN1locus contains the second-most significant genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. BIN1undergoes alternate splicing to generate tissue- and cell-type-specific BIN1 isoforms, which regulate membrane dynamics in a range of crucial cellular processes. Whilst the expression of BIN1 in the brain has been characterized in neurons and oligodendrocytes in detail, information regarding microglial BIN1 expression is mainly limited to large-scale transcriptomic and proteomic data. Notably, BIN1 protein expression and its functional roles in microglia, a cell type most relevant to Alzheimer’s disease, have not been examined in depth. Methods
Microglial BIN1 expression was analyzed by immunostaining mouse and human brain, as well as by immunoblot and RT-PCR assays of isolated microglia or human iPSC-derived microglial cells.
Bin1expression was ablated by siRNA knockdown in primary microglial cultures in vitro and Cre-lox mediated conditional deletion in adult mouse brain microglia in vivo. Regulation of neuroinflammatory microglial signatures by BIN1 in vitro and in vivo was characterized using NanoString gene panels and flow cytometry methods. The transcriptome data was explored by in silico pathway analysis and validated by complementary molecular approaches. Results
Here, we characterized microglial BIN1 expression in vitro and in vivo and ascertained microglia expressed BIN1 isoforms. By silencing
Bin1expression in primary microglial cultures, we demonstrate that BIN1 regulates the activation of proinflammatory and disease-associated responses in microglia as measured by gene expression and cytokine production. Our transcriptomic profiling revealed key homeostatic and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammatory response pathways, as well as transcription factors PU.1 and IRF1 that are regulated by BIN1. Microglia-specific Bin1conditional knockout in vivo revealed novel roles of BIN1 in regulating the expression of disease-associated genes while counteracting CX3CR1 signaling. The consensus from in vitro and in vivo findings showed that loss of Bin1impaired the ability of microglia to mount type 1 interferon responses to proinflammatory challenge, particularly the upregulation of a critical type 1 immune response gene, Ifitm3. Conclusions
Our convergent findings provide novel insights into microglial BIN1 function and demonstrate an essential role of microglial BIN1 in regulating brain inflammatory response and microglial phenotypic changes. Moreover, for the first time, our study shows a regulatory relationship between
Bin1and Ifitm3, two Alzheimer’s disease-related genes in microglia. The requirement for BIN1 to regulate Ifitm3upregulation during inflammation has important implications for inflammatory responses during the pathogenesis and progression of many neurodegenerative diseases. Graphical Abstract
Neuropsychiatric disorders afflict a large portion of the global population and constitute a significant source of disability worldwide. Although Genome-wide Association Studies (GWAS) have identified many disorder-associated variants, the underlying regulatory mechanisms linking them to disorders remain elusive, especially those involving distant genomic elements. Expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) constitute a powerful means of providing this missing link. However, most eQTL studies in human brains have focused exclusively on cis-eQTLs, which link variants to nearby genes (i.e., those within 1 Mb of a variant). A complete understanding of disease etiology requires a clearer understanding of trans-regulatory mechanisms, which, in turn, entails a detailed analysis of the relationships between variants and expression changes in distant genes.
By leveraging large datasets from the PsychENCODE consortium, we conducted a genome-wide survey of trans-eQTLs in the human dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. We also performed colocalization and mediation analyses to identify mediators in trans-regulation and use trans-eQTLs to link GWAS loci to schizophrenia risk genes.
We identified ~80,000 candidate trans-eQTLs (at FDR<0.25) that influence the expression of ~10K target genes (i.e., “trans-eGenes”). We found that many variants associated with these candidate trans-eQTLs overlap with known cis-eQTLs. Moreover, for >60% of these variants (by colocalization), the cis-eQTL’s target gene acts as a mediator for the trans-eQTL SNP's effect on the trans-eGene, highlighting examples of cis-mediation as essential for trans-regulation. Furthermore, many of these colocalized variants fall into a discernable pattern wherein cis-eQTL’s target is a transcription factor or RNA-binding protein, which, in turn, targets the gene associated with the candidate trans-eQTL. Finally, we show that trans-regulatory mechanisms provide valuable insights into psychiatric disorders: beyond what had been possible using only cis-eQTLs, we link an additional 23 GWAS loci and 90 risk genes (using colocalization between candidate trans-eQTLs and schizophrenia GWAS loci).
We demonstrate that the transcriptional architecture of the human brain is orchestrated by both cis- and trans-regulatory variants and found that trans-eQTLs provide insights into brain-disease biology.
Abstract Background There is growing evidence indicating that a number of functional connectivity networks are disrupted at each stage of the full clinical Alzheimer’s disease spectrum. Such differences are also detectable in cognitive normal (CN) carrying mutations of AD risk genes, suggesting a substantial relationship between genetics and AD-altered functional brain networks. However, direct genetic effect on functional connectivity networks has not been measured. Methods Leveraging existing AD functional connectivity studies collected in NeuroSynth, we performed a meta-analysis to identify two sets of brain regions: ones with altered functional connectivity in resting state network and ones without. Then with the brain-wide gene expression data in the Allen Human Brain Atlas, we applied a new biclustering method to identify a set of genes with differential co-expression patterns between these two set of brain regions. Results Differential co-expression analysis using biclustering method led to a subset of 38 genes which showed distinctive co-expression patterns between AD-related and non AD-related brain regions in default mode network. More specifically, we observed 4 sub-clusters with noticeable co-expression difference, where the difference in correlations is above 0.5 on average. Conclusions This work applies a new biclustering method to search for a subset of genes with altered co-expression patterns in AD-related default mode network regions. Compared with traditional differential expression analysis, differential co-expression analysis yielded many more significant hits with extra insights into the wiring mechanism between genes. Particularly, the differential co-expression pattern was observed between two sets of genes, suggesting potential upstream genetic regulators in AD development.more » « less