Genetic dissection of blood lipid traits by integrating genome-wide association study and gene expression profiling in a porcine model.

Research paper by Congying C Chen, Bin B Yang, Zhijun Z Zeng, Hui H Yang, Chenlong C Liu, Jun J Ren, Lusheng L Huang

Indexed on: 05 Dec '13Published on: 05 Dec '13Published in: BMC Genomics


Serum concentrations of total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and triglycerides (TG) are highly heritable traits that are used clinically to evaluate risk for cardiovascular disease in humans. In this study, we applied a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 1,075 pigs from two populations and gene expression studies on 497 liver samples to dissect the genetic basis of serum lipids in a pig model.We totally identified 8, 5, 2 and 3 genomic loci harboring 109 SNPs that were significantly associated with LDL-C, TC, TG and the ratio of HDL-C/LDL-C in two experimental populations, respectively. In the F2 population, the most prominent SNP was identified at the SSC3: 124,769,847 bp where APOB is the well-known candidate gene. However, in the Sutai population, the most number of significant SNPs was identified at SSC2: 64.97-82.22 Mb where LDLR was identified as the candidate gene. Furthermore, we firstly reported 4 novel genomic loci in pigs harboring the LDL-C-associated SNPs. We also observed obvious population heterogeneity in the two tested populations. Through whole-genome gene expression analysis, we detected 718 trait-correlated expressions. Many of these transcripts correspond to candidate genes for blood lipids in humans. The GWAS mapped 120 cis-eQTLs and 523 trans-eQTLs for these transcripts. One gene encoding the transcript gnl|UG|Ssc#S35330332 stands out to be an important candidate gene for LDL-C by an integrative analysis of GWAS, eQTL and trait-associated expression.We identified the genomic regions or candidate genes associated with blood lipids by an integrative analysis of GWAS, QTT and eQTL mapping in pigs. The findings would benefit the further identification of the causative genes for blood lipid traits in both pigs and humans.

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