Profile Url: chris-cotsapas
Researcher at Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
The American Journal of Human Genetics, 2017-07-06
Genome-wide association studies in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases (AID) have uncovered hundreds of loci mediating risk. These associations are preferentially located in non-coding DNA regions and in particular to tissue--specific DNase I hypersensitivity sites (DHS). Whilst these analyses clearly demonstrate the overall enrichment of disease risk alleles on gene regulatory regions, they are not designed to identify individual regulatory regions mediating risk or the genes under their control, and thus uncover the specific molecular events driving disease risk. To do so we have departed from standard practice by identifying regulatory regions which replicate across samples, and connect them to the genes they control through robust re--analysis of public data. We find substantial evidence of regulatory potential in 132/301 (44%) risk loci across nine autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, and are able to prioritize a single gene in 104/132 (79%) of these. Thus, we are able to generate testable mechanistic hypotheses of the molecular changes that drive disease risk.
The American Journal of Human Genetics, 2019-07-18
Sequencing-based studies have identified novel risk genes for rare, severe epilepsies and revealed a role of rare deleterious variation in common epilepsies. To identify the shared and distinct ultra-rare genetic risk factors for rare and common epilepsies, we performed a whole-exome sequencing (WES) analysis of 9,170 epilepsy-affected individuals and 8,364 controls of European ancestry. We focused on three phenotypic groups; the rare but severe developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEE), and the commoner phenotypes of genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE) and non-acquired focal epilepsy (NAFE). We observed that compared to controls, individuals with any type of epilepsy carried an excess of ultra-rare, deleterious variants in constrained genes and in genes previously associated with epilepsy, with the strongest enrichment seen in DEE and the least in NAFE. Moreover, we found that inhibitory GABAA receptor genes were enriched for missense variants across all three classes of epilepsy, while no enrichment was seen in excitatory receptor genes. The larger gene groups for the GABAergic pathway or cation channels also showed a significant mutational burden in DEE and GGE. Although no single gene surpassed exome-wide significance among individuals with GGE or NAFE, highly constrained genes and genes encoding ion channels were among the top associations, including CACNA1G, EEF1A2, and GABRG2 for GGE and LGI1, TRIM3, and GABRG2 for NAFE. Our study confirms a convergence in the genetics of common and rare epilepsies associated with ultra-rare coding variation and highlights a ubiquitous role for GABAergic inhibition in epilepsy etiology in the largest epilepsy WES study to date.