An interaction map of circulating metabolites, immune gene networks and their genetic regulation
Artika P. Nath,
Scott C. Ritchie,
Sean G. Byars,
Liam G Fearnley,
Aki S. Havulinna,
Antti J Kangas,
Posted 26 Nov 2016
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/089839 (published DOI: 10.1186/s13059-017-1279-y)
Posted 26 Nov 2016
The interaction between metabolism and the immune system plays a central role in many cardiometabolic diseases. We integrated blood transcriptomic, metabolomic, and genomic profiles from two population-based cohorts, including a subset with 7-year follow-up sampling. We identified topologically robust gene networks enriched for diverse immune functions including cytotoxicity, viral response, B cell, platelet, neutrophil, and mast cell/basophil activity. These immune gene modules showed complex patterns of association with 158 circulating metabolites, including lipoprotein subclasses, lipids, fatty acids, amino acids, and CRP. Genome-wide scans for module expression quantitative trait loci (mQTLs) revealed five modules with mQTLs of both cis and trans effects. The strongest mQTL was in ARHGEF3 (rs1354034) and affected a module enriched for platelet function. Mast cell/basophil and neutrophil function modules maintained their metabolite associations during 7-year follow-up, while our strongest mQTL in ARHGEF3 also displayed clear temporal stability. This study provides a detailed map of natural variation at the blood immuno-metabolic interface and its genetic basis, and facilitates subsequent studies to explain inter-individual variation in cardiometabolic disease.
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