Pleiotropy and genetic correlation are widespread features in GWAS, but they are often difficult to interpret at the molecular level. Here, we perform GWAS of 16 metabolites clustered at the intersection of amino acid catabolism, glycolysis, and ketone body metabolism in a subset of UK Biobank. We utilize the well-documented biochemistry jointly impacting these metabolites to analyze pleiotropic effects in the context of their pathways. Among the 213 lead GWAS hits, we find a strong enrichment for genes encoding pathway-relevant enzymes and transporters. We demonstrate that the effect directions of variants acting on biology between metabolite pairs often contrast with those of upstream or downstream variants as well as the polygenic background. Thus, we find that these outlier variants often reflect biology local to the traits. Finally, we explore the implications for interpreting disease GWAS, underscoring the potential of unifying biochemistry with dense metabolomics data to understand the molecular basis of pleiotropy in complex traits and diseases.
The source data and analyzed data have been deposited in Dryad. Code are available at the github link (https://github.com/courtrun/Pleiotropy-of-UKB-Metabolites). The raw individual level data are available through application to UK Biobank.
Pleiotropy of UK Biobank Metabolites [preliminary]Dryad Digital Repository, doi:10.5061/dryad.79cnp5hxs.
The UK Biobank resource with deep phenotyping and genomic dataUK Biobank http://www.ukbiobank.ac.uk/register-apply/.
- Courtney J Smith
- Courtney J Smith
- Jonathan K Pritchard
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: All participants provided written informed consent and ethical approval was obtained from the North West Multi-Center Research Ethics Committee (11/NW/0382). The current analysis was approved under UK Biobank Project 24983 and 30418.
- Alexander Young, University of California, Los Angeles, United States
- Received: April 7, 2022
- Accepted: September 6, 2022
- Accepted Manuscript published: September 8, 2022 (version 1)
© 2022, Smith et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Major genomic deletions in independent eukaryotic lineages have led to repeated ancestral loss of biosynthesis pathways for nine of the twenty canonical amino acids1. While the evolutionary forces driving these polyphyletic deletion events are not well understood, the consequence is that extant metazoans are unable to produce nine essential amino acids (EAAs). Previous studies have highlighted that EAA biosynthesis tends to be more energetically costly2,3, raising the possibility that these pathways were lost from organisms with access to abundant EAAs in the environment4,5. It is unclear whether present-day metazoans can reaccept these pathways to resurrect biosynthetic capabilities that were lost long ago or whether evolution has rendered EAA pathways incompatible with metazoan metabolism. Here, we report progress on a large-scale synthetic genomics effort to reestablish EAA biosynthetic functionality in mammalian cells. We designed codon-optimized biosynthesis pathways based on genes mined from Escherichia coli. These pathways were de novo synthesized in 3 kilobase chunks, assembled in yeasto and genomically integrated into a Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cell line. One synthetic pathway produced valine at a sufficient level for cell viability and proliferation, and thus represents a successful example of metazoan EAA biosynthesis restoration. This prototrophic CHO line grows in valine-free medium, and metabolomics using labeled precursors verified de novo biosynthesis of valine. RNA-seq profiling of the valine prototrophic CHO line showed that the synthetic pathway minimally disrupted the cellular transcriptome. Furthermore, valine prototrophic cells exhibited transcriptional signatures associated with rescue from nutritional starvation. 13C-tracing revealed build-up of pathway intermediate 2,3-dihydroxy-3-isovalerate in these cells. Increasing the dosage of downstream ilvD boosted pathway performance and allowed for long-term propagation of second-generation cells in valine-free medium at a consistent doubling time of 3.2 days. This work demonstrates that mammalian metabolism is amenable to restoration of ancient core pathways, paving a path for genome-scale efforts to synthetically restore metabolic functions to the metazoan lineage.
Posterior urethral valves (PUV) are the commonest cause of end-stage renal disease in children, but the genetic architecture of this rare disorder remains unknown. We performed a sequencing-based genome-wide association study (seqGWAS) in 132 unrelated male PUV cases and 23,727 controls of diverse ancestry, identifying statistically significant associations with common variants at 12q24.21 (p=7.8 × 10−12; OR 0.4) and rare variants at 6p21.1 (p=2.0 × 10-8; OR 7.2), that were replicated in an independent European cohort of 395 cases and 4151 controls. Fine mapping and functional genomic data mapped these loci to the transcription factor TBX5 and planar cell polarity gene PTK7, respectively, the encoded proteins of which were detected in the developing urinary tract of human embryos. We also observed enrichment of rare structural variation intersecting with candidate cis-regulatory elements, particularly inversions predicted to affect chromatin looping (p=3.1 × 10-5). These findings represent the first robust genetic associations of PUV, providing novel insights into the underlying biology of this poorly understood disorder and demonstrate how a diverse ancestry seqGWAS can be used for disease locus discovery in a rare disease.