Dangxiong County, China
Dangxiong County, China

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PubMed | Peoples Hospital of Dangxiong County, Tibetan University, High Altitude Medical Research Institute, CAS Kunming Institute of Zoology and 4 more.
Type: | Journal: Molecular biology and evolution | Year: 2017

Tibetans are well adapted to the hypoxic environments at high altitude, yet the molecular mechanism of this adaptation remains elusive. We reported comprehensive genetic and functional analyses of EPAS1, a gene encoding hypoxia inducible factor 2 (HIF-2) with the strongest signal of selection in previous genome-wide scans of Tibetans. We showed that the Tibetan-enriched EPAS1 variants down-regulate expression in human umbilical endothelial cells and placentas. Heterozygous EPAS1 knockout mice display blunted physiological responses to chronic hypoxia, mirroring the situation in Tibetans. Furthermore, we found that the Tibetan version of EPAS1 is not only associated with the relatively low hemoglobin level as a polycythemia protectant, but also is associated with a low pulmonary vasoconstriction response in Tibetans. We propose that the down-regulation of EPAS1 contributes to the molecular basis of Tibetans adaption to high-altitude hypoxia.

Qi X.,CAS Kunming Institute of Zoology | Cui C.,Tibetan University | Peng Y.,CAS Kunming Institute of Zoology | Peng Y.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | And 22 more authors.
Molecular Biology and Evolution | Year: 2013

Tibetans live on the highest plateau in the world, their current population size is approximately 5 million, and most of them live at an altitude exceeding 3,500 m. Therefore, the Tibetan Plateau is a remarkable area for cultural and biological studies of human population history. However, the chronological profile of the Tibetan Plateau's colonization remains an unsolved question of human prehistory. To reconstruct the prehistoric colonization and demographic history of modern humans on the Tibetan Plateau, we systematically sampled 6,109 Tibetan individuals from 41 geographic populations across the entire region of the Tibetan Plateau and analyzed the phylogeographic patterns of both paternal (n= 2,354) and maternal (n= 6,109) lineages as well as genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism markers (n = 50) in Tibetan populations. We found that there have been two distinct, major prehistoric migrations of modern humans into the Tibetan Plateau. The first migration was marked by ancient Tibetan genetic signatures dated to approximately 30,000 years ago, indicating that the initial peopling of the Tibetan Plateau by modern humans occurred during the Upper Paleolithic rather than Neolithic. We also found evidences for relatively young (only 7-10 thousand years old) shared Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA haplotypes between Tibetans and Han Chinese, suggesting a second wave of migration during the early Neolithic. Collectively, the genetic data indicate that Tibetans have been adapted to a high altitude environment since initial colonization of the Tibetan Plateau in the early Upper Paleolithic, before the last glacial maximum, followed by a rapid population expansion that coincided with the establishment of farming and yak pastoralism on the Plateau in the early Neolithic. © The Author 2013.

Peng Y.,CAS Kunming Institute of Zoology | Peng Y.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | Yang Z.,CAS Kunming Institute of Zoology | Yang Z.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | And 13 more authors.
Molecular Biology and Evolution | Year: 2011

Modern humans have occupied almost all possible environments globally since exiting Africa about 100,000 years ago. Both behavioral and biological adaptations have contributed to their success in surviving the rigors of climatic extremes, including cold, strong ultraviolet radiation, and high altitude. Among these environmental stresses, high-altitude hypoxia is the only condition in which traditional technology is incapable of mediating its effects. Inhabiting at >3,000-m high plateau, the Tibetan population provides a widely studied example of high-altitude adaptation. Yet, the genetic mechanisms underpinning long-term survival in this environmental extreme remain unknown. We performed an analysis of genome-wide sequence variations in Tibetans. In combination with the reported data, we identified strong signals of selective sweep in two hypoxia-related genes, EPAS1 and EGLN1. For these two genes, Tibetans show unusually high divergence from the non-Tibetan lowlanders (Han Chinese and Japanese) and possess high frequencies of many linked sequence variations as reflected by the Tibetan-specific haplotypes. Further analysis in seven Tibetan populations (1,334 individuals) indicates the prevalence of selective sweep across the Himalayan region. The observed indicators of natural selection on EPAS1 and EGLN1 suggest that during the long-term occupation of high-altitude areas, the functional sequence variations for acquiring biological adaptation to high-altitude hypoxia have been enriched in Tibetan populations. © 2010 The Author.

Xiang K.,CAS Kunming Institute of Zoology | Xiang K.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | Ouzhuluobu,Tibetan University | Peng Y.,CAS Kunming Institute of Zoology | And 18 more authors.
Molecular Biology and Evolution | Year: 2013

Tibetans are well adapted to high-altitude hypoxic conditions, and in recent genome-wide scans, many candidate genes have been reported involved in the physiological response to hypoxic conditions. However, the limited sequence variations analyzed in previous studies would not be sufficient to identify causal mutations. Here we conducted resequencing of the entire genomic region (59.4 kb) of the hypoxic gene EGLN1 (one of the top candidates from the genome-wide scans) in Tibetans and identified 185 sequence variations, including 13 novel variations (12 substitutions and 1 insertion or deletion). There is a nonsynonymous mutation (rs186996510, D4E) showing surprisingly deep divergence between Tibetans and lowlander populations (FST = 0.709 between Tibetans and Han Chinese). It is highly prevalent in Tibetans (70.9% on average) but extremely rare in Han Chinese, Japanese, Europeans, and Africans (0.56-2.27%), suggesting that it might be the causal mutation of EGLN1 contributing to high-altitude hypoxic adaptation. Neutrality test confirmed the signal of Darwinian positive selection on EGLN1 in Tibetans. Haplotype network analysis revealed a Tibetan-specific haplotype, which is absent in other world populations. The estimated selective intensity (0.029 for the C allele of rs186996510) puts EGLN1 among the known genes that have undergone the strongest selection in human populations, and the onset of selection was estimated to have started at the early Neolithic (∼8,400 years ago). Finally, we detected a significant association between rs186996510 and hemoglobin levels in Tibetans, suggesting that EGLN1 contributes to the adaptively low hemoglobin level of Tibetans compared with acclimatized lowlanders at high altitude. © The Author 2013.

Chen W.,Sun Yat Sen University | Liu Q.,Sun Yat Sen University | Wang H.,Sun Yat Sen University | Johnson R.J.,University of Colorado at Denver | And 8 more authors.
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation | Year: 2011

Background. The prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) at high altitude is not known. We conducted a population-based survey in Tibet to identify the prevalence and associated risk factors of CKD in subjects living at altitudes of > 3500 m.Methods. One thousand two hundred and eighty-nine Tibetans (< 18 years) from four districts of Lhasa city (altitude 3658 m) and eight villages of Dangxiong County (altitude 4200 m) were interviewed and tested for haematuria, albuminuria and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR).Results. The adjusted prevalence of hypertension, albuminuria, haematuria and reduced eGFR were 38.8% (95% CI: 36.2-41.5%), 16.2% (95% CI: 14.1-18.2%), 3.9% (95% CI: 2.8-4.9%) and 2.1% (95% CI: 1.3-2.9%), respectively. Both the presence of hypertension and the presence of albuminuria were strongly and independently associated with hyperuricaemia and elevated haematocrit.Conclusions. This is the first population-based epidemiological study of CKD in the Tibetan population. We found a higher prevalence of CKD and associated high prevalence of albuminuria, hypertension, hyperuricaemia and high haematocrit in the Tibetan population. The present study indicates the urgent need to develop comprehensive strategies targeted at reducing the CKD burden in this area and may lead to a better understanding of CKD in high-altitude populations. © 2010 The Author.

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