Abstract 1443: Systems-Based Analysis of HDL Metabolism in a Mouse Intercross between Strains CAST and C57BL6/J (CxB)
A recent meta-analysis of three large genome-wide association studies for HDL cholesterol levels revealed several highly significant associations, but altogether these explained less than 10% of the population variance of HDL. Since HDL levels are highly heritable, with heritability estimated at 50–70% in many studies, there are clearly many additional genes, and probably complex genetic and environmental interactions, involved in HDL metabolism. Thus, if “personalized medicine” is to become a reality, these complex factors must be addressed. Combined genetic-genomic approaches have rejuvenated the analysis of complex traits using mouse models, and here report an integrative genomic study of HDL in a large mouse cross. We previously reported the identification of loci associated with HDL cholesterol concentrations using a CXB F2 intercross. We have now generated a much larger CXB cross, consisting of 438 mice, and have integrated genome wide gene expression analysis of liver and adipose with quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping and causality modeling. These studies were carried out on mice fed a low fat, chow diet and then switched to a high fat, ’Western’ diet. QTL analysis on the clinical traits using R/QTL (http://cran.r-project.org/) revealed a complex inheritance pattern with significant LOD scores at 9 loci, on chromosomes 1,2,4,5,8,9,10,16,18. Of these loci, 6 (chr: 1,4,5,10,16,18) were seen to be involved in genetic-dietary regulation of HDL cholesterol. Expression QTLs (eQTL) were determined using Agilent microarrays for 23,624 transcripts. Genes expressed within a 1-LOD support interval or correlated with HDL (p<2.7E-11) in both adipose and liver were identified. Using Network Edge Orienting (NEO) methods, causal relationships between the identified genes, related QTL peak markers and HDL levels were accessed. The genes were then ranked based on the NEO scores. In liver the highest ranked genes were associated with mitochondrial, ER and golgi trafficking. In adipose, on the other hand, pathways associated with cell signaling, transcription regulation and protein ubiquitation were predicted to be causal for HDL levels. In conclusion, our results reveal a large number of novel pathways and candidate genes for plasma lipid metabolism.
This research has received full or partial funding support from the American Heart Association, AHA Western States Affiliate (California, Nevada & Utah).