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Loci identified in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of cardio-metabolic traits account for a small proportion of the traits' heritability. To date, most association studies have not considered parent-of-origin effects (POEs). Here we report investigation of POEs on adiposity and glycemic traits in young adults. The Jerusalem Perinatal Family Follow-Up Study (JPS), comprising 1250 young adults and their mothers was used for discovery. Focusing on 18 genes identified by previous GWAS as associated with cardio-metabolic traits, we used linear regression to examine the associations of maternally- and paternally-derived offspring minor alleles with body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), fasting glucose and insulin. We replicated and meta-analyzed JPS findings in individuals of European ancestry aged ≤50 belonging to pedigrees from the Framingham Heart Study, Family Heart Study and Erasmus Rucphen Family study (total N≅4800). We considered p<2.7x10-4 statistically significant to account for multiple testing. We identified a common coding variant in the 4th exon of APOB (rs1367117) with a significant maternally-derived effect on BMI (β = 0.8; 95%CI:0.4,1.1; p = 3.1x10-5) and WC (β = 2.7; 95%CI:1.7,3.7; p = 2.1x10-7). The corresponding paternally-derived effects were non-significant (p>0.6). Suggestive maternally-derived associations of rs1367117 were observed with fasting glucose (β = 0.9; 95%CI:0.3,1.5; p = 4.0x10-3) and insulin (ln-transformed, β = 0.06; 95%CI:0.03,0.1; p = 7.4x10-4). Bioinformatic annotation for rs1367117 revealed a variety of regulatory functions in this region in liver and adipose tissues and a 50% methylation pattern in liver only, consistent with allelic-specific methylation, which may indicate tissue-specific POE. Our findings demonstrate a maternal-specific association between a common APOB variant and adiposity, an association that was not previously detected in GWAS. These results provide evidence for the role of regulatory mechanisms, POEs specifically, in adiposity. In addition this study highlights the benefit of utilizing family studies for deciphering the genetic architecture of complex traits.

Original publication

DOI

10.1371/journal.pgen.1005573

Type

Journal article

Journal

PLoS genetics

Publication Date

09/10/2015

Volume

11

Addresses

Braun School of Public Health, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.

Keywords

Humans, Obesity, Cholesterol, Insulin, Glucose, Body Mass Index, Waist-Hip Ratio, Genomic Imprinting, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Adult, Female, Male, Adiposity, Apolipoprotein B-100, Waist Circumference, Genome-Wide Association Study, Young Adult