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Complex disease genetics : Utilising targeted sequencing and homogeneous ancestry

  • Mathioudaki, Argyri
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
DiVA - Academic Archive On-line
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The complex disease investigations presented in this thesis aimed to provide new information regarding underlying genetics by using targeted sequencing and ethnically homogeneous cohorts. This work moved past current methodologies and addressed data stratification issues, that might have been hindering new findings. The results contribute to a more comprehensive view of the genetics of ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and breast cancer (BC), in Sweden. Paper-I presents a sex-stratified analysis of a Swedish AS cohort that incorporated both common and rare variants. Single variant and aggregate tests both showed different signals in AS male and female patients, previously masked. Specifically, the RUNX3 locus in males (univariate test: rs7414934, OR=2.58, p=1.7x10-5) and MICB in females (SKAT: 27 variants, p=1.2x10-6; rs3828903, OR=4.62, p=6.2x10-13) exceeded discovery thresholds. In the functional follow up of these loci, risk alleles appear to regulate the expression of genes in multiple tissues. Also, the results highlight the importance of disease regulation from different haplotypes and loci breakdown proved that Sweden’s genetic architecture might be critical for AS studies. Paper-II is a replication study, in our modest-sized Swedish cohort, of AS associations, previously discovered in populations of British origin, Initially, power calculations assessed that the Swedish cohort had the power to replicate only published associated markers with high effect (OR > 7), e.g., HLA-B but the replication analysis revealed three associated loci (ORrange:1.9-2.7). Notably, the multiplicated HLA-B marker (rs4349859) was not in HWE equilibrium. Population structure differences could not explain this replication pattern. However, sequencing resolution revealed fine-scale differences with repositioned association signals in the known loci. Specifically, the identification of two CCHCR1 protective haplotypes (OR: 0.14/0.3) that affect other MHC gene expression through eQTLs, provided the first suggestion of the differential function of known associated loci with cis gene regulation. Paper-III provides the first fingerprint of the somatic mutation profile of Swedish BC. The significantly mutated genes were PIK3CA (28%), TP53 (21%) and CDH1 (16%) while histone-modifying genes (e.g., KMT2C and ARID1A: together 28%) exhibited an increased somatic mutation prevalence, not observed previously. Additionally, within the patients that did not receive neoadjuvant treatment, there were distinct age groups with different mutational profiles and differential APOBEC signature driving genes. Taken together, these studies emphasize the contribution to the underlying genetics deriving from smaller ethnic populations, when assessed with a shift in methodology to account for biological bias, like sex and age. The results will hopefully assist and guide other genetic studies of human complex disease. / <p>Exact room will be known the 12th August. Booking system was down due to summer vacation</p>

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