Knowledge-driven analysis identifies a gene-gene interaction affecting high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in multi-ethnic populations

TitleKnowledge-driven analysis identifies a gene-gene interaction affecting high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in multi-ethnic populations
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsMa L, Brautbar A, Boerwinkle E, Sing CF, Clark AG, Keinan A
JournalPLoS Genet.
Volume8
Paginatione1002714
ISSN1553-7404
KeywordsAfrican Americans, Cholesterol, Epistasis, European Continental Ancestry Group, Genetic, Genome-Wide Association Study, HDL, Hispanic Americans, Humans, Hydroxymethylglutaryl CoA Reductases, LDL, Lipase, Triglycerides
Abstract

Total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglyceride, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels are among the most important risk factors for coronary artery disease. We tested for gene–gene interactions affecting the level of these four lipids based on prior knowledge of established genome-wide association study (GWAS) hits, protein–protein interactions, and pathway information. Using genotype data from 9,713 European Americans from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, we identified an interaction between HMGCR and a locus near LIPC in their effect on HDL-C levels (Bonferroni corrected Pc = 0.002). Using an adaptive locus-based validation procedure, we successfully validated this gene–gene interaction in the European American cohorts from the Framingham Heart Study (Pc = 0.002) and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA; Pc = 0.006). The interaction between these two loci is also significant in the African American sample from ARIC (Pc = 0.004) and in the Hispanic American sample from MESA (Pc = 0.04). Both HMGCR and LIPC are involved in the metabolism of lipids, and genome-wide association studies have previously identified LIPC as associated with levels of HDL-C. However, the effect on HDL-C of the novel gene–gene interaction reported here is twice as pronounced as that predicted by the sum of the marginal effects of the two loci. In conclusion, based on a knowledge-driven analysis of epistasis, together with a new locus-based validation method, we successfully identified and validated an interaction affecting a complex trait in multi-ethnic populations.

URLhttp://keinanlab.cb.bscb.cornell.edu/sites/default/files/papers/ma_etal_2012_knowledgedriven_plosgenetics.pdf
DOI10.1371/journal.pgen.1002714