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Vardarajan B.N.,Harvard University | Vardarajan B.N.,Columbia University | Eran A.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Jung J.-Y.,Harvard University | And 2 more authors.
Translational Psychiatry | Year: 2013

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that results in behavioral, social and communication impairments. ASD has a substantial genetic component, with 88-95% trait concordance among monozygotic twins. Efforts to elucidate the causes of ASD have uncovered hundreds of susceptibility loci and candidate genes. However, owing to its polygenic nature and clinical heterogeneity, only a few of these markers represent clear targets for further analyses. In the present study, we used the linkage structure associated with published genetic markers of ASD to simultaneously improve candidate gene detection while providing a means of prioritizing markers of common genetic variation in ASD. We first mined the literature for linkage and association studies of single-nucleotide polymorphisms, copy-number variations and multi-allelic markers in Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) families. From markers that reached genome-wide significance, we calculated male-specific genetic distances, in light of the observed strong male bias in ASD. Four of 67 autism-implicated regions, 3p26.1, 3p26.3, 3q25-27 and 5p15, were enriched with differentially expressed genes in blood and brain from individuals with ASD. Of 30 genes differentially expressed across multiple expression data sets, 21 were within 10 cM of an autism-implicated locus. Among them, CNTN4, CADPS2, SUMF1, SLC9A9, NTRK3 have been previously implicated in autism, whereas others have been implicated in neurological disorders comorbid with ASD. This work leverages the rich multimodal genomic information collected on AGRE families to present an efficient integrative strategy for prioritizing autism candidates and improving our understanding of the relationships among the vast collection of past genetic studies. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved. Source


Wu M.P.,Harvard University | Gussoni E.,Program in Genomics
Muscle and Nerve | Year: 2011

Erythropoietin promotes myoblast proliferation and inhibits fibrosis and thus it could impede the pathogenesis of muscle degenerative diseases. However, its stimulation of erythropoiesis limits its use as a therapeutic agent. An erythropoietin analog, carbamylated erythropoietin (C-EPO), retains these protective actions, yet it does not interact with the erythropoietin receptor. To determine whether treatment with C-EPO alleviates the signs of muscular dystrophy in an animal model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, we treated mdx mice with intraperitoneal injections of 50 lg/kg and 100 lg/kg C-EPO for 4 and 12 weeks, and we monitored weight, serum creatine kinase levels, and changes in muscle histology. Moderate histological improvement was observed at 4 weeks, which did not translate into a significantly decreased level of serum creatine kinase. At the doses tested, C-EPO is not an effective therapeutic for the treatment of a mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Muscle Nerve 43:88-93, 2011 © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source


Hoare T.,McMaster University | Sivakumaran D.,McMaster University | Stefanescu C.F.,Harvard University | Lawlor M.W.,Program in Genomics | Kohane D.S.,Harvard University
Acta Biomaterialia | Year: 2012

The use of functional nanogels based on poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) for effectively scavenging compounds (here, the model drug bupivacaine) is demonstrated using an in vitro cell-based assay. Nanogels containing higher loadings of acidic functional groups or more core-localized functional group distributions bound more bupivacaine, while nanogel size had no significant effect on drug binding. Increasing the dose of nanogel applied also facilitated more bupivacaine binding for all nanogel compositions tested. Binding was driven predominantly by acid-base interactions between the nanogels (anionic) and bupivacaine (cationic) at physiological pH, although both non-specific absorption and hydrophobic partitioning also contributed to drug scavenging. Nanogels exhibited minimal cytotoxicity to multiple cell types and were well tolerated in vivo via peritoneal injections, although larger nanogels caused limited splenic toxicity at higher concentrations. The cell-based assay described herein is found to facilitate more robust drug uptake measurements for nanogels than conventional centrifugation-based assays, in which nanogels can be compressed (and thus drug released) during the measurement. © 2011 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source


Mitsuhashi H.,Program in Genomics | Mitsuhashi H.,The Senator Paul llstone Muscular Dystrophy Cooperative Research Center | Mitsuhashi S.,Program in Genomics | Lynn-jones T.,Program in Genomics | And 6 more authors.
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2013

Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is a common form of muscular dystrophy characterized by an asymmetric progressive weakness and wasting of the facial, shoulder and upper arm muscles, frequently accompanied by hearing loss and retinal vasculopathy. FSHD is an autosomal dominant disease linked to chromosome 4q35, but the causative gene remains controversial. DUX4 is a leading candidate gene as causative of FSHD. However, DUX4 expression is extremely low in FSHD muscle, and there is no DUX4 animal model that mirrors the pathology in human FSHD. Here, we show that the misexpression of very low levels of human DUX4 in zebrafish development recapitulates the phenotypes seen in human FSHD patients. Microinjection of small amounts of human full-length DUX4 (DUX4-fl) mRNA into fertilized zebrafish eggs caused asymmetric abnormalities such as less pigmentation of the eyes, altered morphology of ears, developmental abnormality of fin muscle, disorganization of facial musculature and/or degeneration of trunk muscle later in development. Moreover, DUX4-fl expression caused aberrant localization of myogenic cells marked with α-actin promoter-driven enhanced green fluorescent protein outside somite boundary, especially in head region. These abnormalities were rescued by coinjection of the short form of DUX4 (DUX4-s). Our results suggest that the misexpression of DUX4-fl, even at extremely low level, can recapitulate the phenotype observed in FSHD patients in a vertebrate model. These results strongly support the current hypothesis for a role of DUX4 in FSHD pathogenesis. We also propose that DUX4 expression during development is important for the pathogenesis of FSHD. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. Source


Yang J.,Queensland Institute of Medical Research | Yang J.,University of Queensland | Ferreira T.,University of Oxford | Morris A.P.,University of Oxford | And 17 more authors.
Nature Genetics | Year: 2012

We present an approximate conditional and joint association analysis that can use summary-level statistics from a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and estimated linkage disequilibrium (LD) from a reference sample with individual-level genotype data. Using this method, we analyzed meta-analysis summary data from the GIANT Consortium for height and body mass index (BMI), with the LD structure estimated from genotype data in two independent cohorts. We identified 36 loci with multiple associated variants for height (38 leading and 49 additional SNPs, 87 in total) via a genome-wide SNP selection procedure. The 49 new SNPs explain approximately 1.3% of variance, nearly doubling the heritability explained at the 36 loci. We did not find any locus showing multiple associated SNPs for BMI. The method we present is computationally fast and is also applicable to case-control data, which we demonstrate in an example from meta-analysis of type 2 diabetes by the DIAGRAM Consortium. © 2012 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved. Source

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