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PLoS One. 2018 Mar 28;13(3):e0194610. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194610. eCollection 2018.

Tissue-specific impact of FADS cluster variants on FADS1 and FADS2 gene expression.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology & Prevention, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America.
2
Department of Biochemistry, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America.
3
Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America.
4
Department of Internal Medicine/Section on Molecular Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America.
5
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America.

Abstract

Omega-6 (n-6) and omega-3 (n-3) long (≥ 20 carbon) chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) play a critical role in human health and disease. Biosynthesis of LC-PUFAs from dietary 18 carbon PUFAs in tissues such as the liver is highly associated with genetic variation within the fatty acid desaturase (FADS) gene cluster, containing FADS1 and FADS2 that encode the rate-limiting desaturation enzymes in the LC-PUFA biosynthesis pathway. However, the molecular mechanisms by which FADS genetic variants affect LC-PUFA biosynthesis, and in which tissues, are unclear. The current study examined associations between common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the FADS gene cluster and FADS1 and FADS2 gene expression in 44 different human tissues (sample sizes ranging 70-361) from the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) Project. FADS1 and FADS2 expression were detected in all 44 tissues. Significant cis-eQTLs (within 1 megabase of each gene, False Discovery Rate, FDR<0.05, as defined by GTEx) were identified in 12 tissues for FADS1 gene expression and 23 tissues for FADS2 gene expression. Six tissues had significant (FDR< 0.05) eQTLs associated with both FADS1 and FADS2 (including artery, esophagus, heart, muscle, nerve, and thyroid). Interestingly, the identified eQTLs were consistently found to be associated in opposite directions for FADS1 and FADS2 expression. Taken together, findings from this study suggest common SNPs within the FADS gene cluster impact the transcription of FADS1 and FADS2 in numerous tissues and raise important questions about how the inverse expression of these two genes impact intermediate molecular (such a LC-PUFA and LC-PUFA-containing glycerolipid levels) and ultimately clinical phenotypes associated with inflammatory diseases and brain health.

PMID:
29590160
PMCID:
PMC5874031
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0194610
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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