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Integrative cross tissue analysis of gene expression identifies novel type 2 diabetes genes

By Jason M Torres, Alvaro N. Barbeira, Rodrigo Bonazzola, Andrew P Morris, Kaanan P. Shah, Heather E Wheeler, Graeme I Bell, Nancy J. Cox, Hae Kyung Im

Posted 13 Feb 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/108134

To understand the mechanistic underpinnings of type 2 diabetes (T2D) loci mapped through GWAS, we performed a tissue-specific gene association study in a cohort of over 100K individuals (ncases ≈ 26K, ncontrols ≈ 84K) across 44 human tissues using MetaXcan, a summary statistics extension of PrediXcan. We found that 90 genes significantly (FDR <0.05) associated with T2D, of which 24 are previously reported T2D genes, 29 are novel in established T2D loci, and 37 are novel genes in novel loci. Of these, 13 reported genes, 15 novel genes in known loci, and 6 genes in novel loci replicated (FDRrep <0.05) in an independent study (ncases ≈ 10K, ncontrols ≈ 62K). We also found enrichment of significant associations in expected tissues such as liver, pancreas, adipose, and muscle but also in tibial nerve, fibroblasts, and breast. Finally, we found that monogenic diabetes genes are enriched in T2D genes from our analysis suggesting that moderate alterations in monogenic (severe) diabetes genes may promote milder and later onset type 2 diabetes.

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