L. Keoki Williams
Profile Url: l--keoki-williams
Researcher at Center for Individualized and Genomic Medicine Research (CIGMA), Department of Internal Medicine, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI, USA
Age is the dominant risk factor for most chronic human diseases; yet the mechanisms by which aging confers this risk are largely unknown. Recently, the age-related acquisition of somatic mutations in regenerating hematopoietic stem cell populations was associated with both hematologic cancer incidence and coronary heart disease prevalence. Somatic mutations with leukemogenic potential may confer selective cellular advantages leading to clonal expansion, a phenomenon termed 'Clonal Hematopoiesis of Indeterminate Potential' (CHIP). Simultaneous germline and somatic whole genome sequence analysis now provides the opportunity to identify root causes of CHIP. Here, we analyze high-coverage whole genome sequences from 97,691 participants of diverse ancestries in the NHLBI TOPMed program and identify 4,229 individuals with CHIP. We identify associations with blood cell, lipid, and inflammatory traits specific to different CHIP genes. Association of a genome-wide set of germline genetic variants identified three genetic loci associated with CHIP status, including one locus at TET2 that was African ancestry specific. In silico-informed in vitro evaluation of the TET2 germline locus identified a causal variant that disrupts a TET2 distal enhancer. Aggregates of rare germline loss-of-function variants in CHEK2, a DNA damage repair gene, predisposed to CHIP acquisition. Overall, we observe that germline genetic variation altering hematopoietic stem cell function and the fidelity of DNA-damage repair increase the likelihood of somatic mutations leading to CHIP.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2018-06-15
Asthma is the most common chronic disease of children, with significant racial/ethnic differences in prevalence, morbidity, mortality and therapeutic response. Albuterol, a bronchodilator medication, is the first-line therapy for asthma treatment worldwide. We performed the largest whole genome sequencing (WGS) pharmacogenetics study to date using data from 1,441 minority children with asthma who had extremely high or low bronchodilator drug response (BDR). We identified population-specific and shared pharmacogenetic variants associated with BDR, including genome-wide significant (p < 3.53 x 10-7) and suggestive (p < 7.06 x 10-6) loci near genes previously associated with lung capacity (DNAH5), immunity (NFKB1 and PLCB1), and β-adrenergic signaling pathways (ADAMTS3 and COX18). Functional analyses centered on NFKB1 revealed potential regulatory function of our BDR-associated SNPs in bronchial smooth muscle cells. Specifically, these variants are in linkage disequilibrium with SNPs in a functionally active enhancer, and are also expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) for a neighboring gene, SLC39A8. Given the lack of other asthma study populations with WGS data on minority children, replication of our rare variant associations is infeasible. We attempted to replicate our common variant findings in five independent studies with GWAS data. The age-specific associations previously found in asthma and asthma-related traits suggest that the over-representation of adults in our replication populations may have contributed to our lack of statistical replication, despite the functional relevance of the NFKB1 variants demonstrated by our functional assays. Our study expands the understanding of pharmacogenetic analyses in racially/ethnically diverse populations and advances the foundation for precision medicine in at-risk and understudied minority populations.