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PLoS Genet. 2011 Jun;7(6):e1002139. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002139. Epub 2011 Jun 30.

Maps of open chromatin guide the functional follow-up of genome-wide association signals: application to hematological traits.

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1
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, United Kingdom. dp5@sanger.ac.uk

Erratum in

  • PLoS Genet. 2011 Jul;7(7). doi: 10.1371/annotation/5d0c3be4-6f34-420a-960f-0a880bbf6128.

Abstract

Turning genetic discoveries identified in genome-wide association (GWA) studies into biological mechanisms is an important challenge in human genetics. Many GWA signals map outside exons, suggesting that the associated variants may lie within regulatory regions. We applied the formaldehyde-assisted isolation of regulatory elements (FAIRE) method in a megakaryocytic and an erythroblastoid cell line to map active regulatory elements at known loci associated with hematological quantitative traits, coronary artery disease, and myocardial infarction. We showed that the two cell types exhibit distinct patterns of open chromatin and that cell-specific open chromatin can guide the finding of functional variants. We identified an open chromatin region at chromosome 7q22.3 in megakaryocytes but not erythroblasts, which harbors the common non-coding sequence variant rs342293 known to be associated with platelet volume and function. Resequencing of this open chromatin region in 643 individuals provided strong evidence that rs342293 is the only putative causative variant in this region. We demonstrated that the C- and G-alleles differentially bind the transcription factor EVI1 affecting PIK3CG gene expression in platelets and macrophages. A protein-protein interaction network including up- and down-regulated genes in Pik3cg knockout mice indicated that PIK3CG is associated with gene pathways with an established role in platelet membrane biogenesis and thrombus formation. Thus, rs342293 is the functional common variant at this locus; to the best of our knowledge this is the first such variant to be elucidated among the known platelet quantitative trait loci (QTLs). Our data suggested a molecular mechanism by which a non-coding GWA index SNP modulates platelet phenotype.

PMID:
21738486
PMCID:
PMC3128100
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pgen.1002139
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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