Cross-platform genetic discovery of small molecule products of metabolism and application to clinical outcomes


Type
Article
Change log
Authors
Lotta, Luca 
Pietzner, Maik 
Stewart, Isobel 
Wittemans, Laura BL 
Li, Chen 
Abstract

Circulating levels of small molecules or metabolites are highly heritable, but the impact of genetic differences in metabolism on human health is not well understood. In this cross-platform, genome-wide meta-analysis of 174 metabolite levels across six cohorts including up to 86,507 participants (70% unpublished data), we identify 499 (362 novel) genome-wide significant associations (p<4.9×10 -10 ) at 144 (94 novel) genomic regions. We show that inheritance of blood metabolite levels in the general population is characterized by pleiotropy, allelic heterogeneity, rare and common variants with large effects, non-linear associations, and enrichment for nonsynonymous variation in transporter and enzyme encoding genes. The majority of identified genes are known to be involved in biochemical processes regulating metabolite levels and to cause monogenic inborn errors of metabolism linked to specific metabolites, such as ASNS (rs17345286, MAF=0.27) and asparagine levels. We illustrate the influence of metabolite-associated variants on human health including a shared signal at GLP2R (p.Asp470Asn) associated with higher citrulline levels, body mass index, fasting glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide and type 2 diabetes risk, and demonstrate beta-arrestin signalling as the underlying mechanism in cellular models. We link genetically-higher serine levels to a 95% reduction in the likelihood of developing macular telangiectasia type 2 [odds ratio (95% confidence interval) per standard deviation higher levels 0.05 (0.03-0.08; p=9.5×10 -30 )]. We further demonstrate the predictive value of genetic variants identified for serine or glycine levels for this rare and difficult to diagnose degenerative retinal disease [area under the receiver operating characteristic curve: 0.73 (95% confidence interval: 0.70-0.75)], for which low serine availability, through generation of deoxysphingolipids, has recently been shown to be causally relevant. These results show that integration of human genomic variation with circulating small molecule data obtained across different measurement platforms enables efficient discovery of genetic regulators of human metabolism and translation into clinical insights.

Description
Keywords
MacTel Consortium
Journal Title
Nature Genetics
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
1061-4036
Volume Title
Publisher
Springer Nature
Rights
All rights reserved
Sponsorship
National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) (unknown)
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) (146281)
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CUH) (146281)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12015/1)
Department of Health (via National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)) (NF-SI-0617-10149)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12012/3)
Wellcome Trust (106262/Z/14/Z)
MRC (MC_UU_00006/1)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12015/5)
Medical Research Council (MR/L003120/1)
British Heart Foundation (None)
Medical Research Council (MR/N003284/1)
Medical Research Council (MR/P011705/1)
Medical Research Council (MR/P01836X/1)
Medical Research Council (MR/S003746/1)
British Heart Foundation (RG/18/13/33946)
Medical Research Council (MC_PC_13030)
MRC (MC_UU_00006/3)
Medical Research Council (G1000143)
Medical Research Council (G0401527)
M.P. was supported by a fellowship from the German Research Foundation (DFG PI 1446/2-1). C.O. was founded by an early career fellowship at Homerton College, University of Cambridge. L. B. L. W. acknowledges funding by the Wellcome Trust (WT083442AIA). J.G. was supported by grants from the Medical Research Council (MC_UP_A090_1006, MC_PC_13030, MR/P011705/1 and MR/P01836X/1). Work in the Reimann/Gribble laboratories was supported by the Wellcome Trust (106262/Z/14/Z and 106263/Z/14/Z), UK Medical Research Council (MRC_MC_UU_12012/3) and PhD funding for EKB from MedImmune/AstraZeneca. Praveen Surendran is supported by a Rutherford Fund Fellowship from the Medical Research Council grant MR/S003746/1. A. W. is supported by a BHF-Turing Cardiovascular Data Science Award and by the EC-Innovative Medicines Initiative (BigData@Heart). J.D. is funded by the National Institute for Health Research [Senior Investigator Award] [*]. The EPIC-Norfolk study (https://doi.org/10.22025/2019.10.105.00004) has received funding from the Medical Research Council (MR/N003284/1 and MC-UU_12015/1) and Cancer Research UK (C864/A14136). The genetics work in the EPIC-Norfolk study was funded by the Medical Research Council (MC_PC_13048). Metabolite measurements in the EPIC-Norfolk study were supported by the MRC Cambridge Initiative in Metabolic Science (MR/L00002/1) and the Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking under EMIF grant agreement no. 115372. We are grateful to all the participants who have been part of the project and to the many members of the study teams at the University of Cambridge who have enabled this research. The Fenland Study is supported by the UK Medical Research Council (MC_UU_12015/1 and MC_PC_13046). Participants in the INTERVAL randomised controlled trial were recruited with the active collaboration of NHS Blood and Transplant England (www.nhsbt.nhs.uk), which has supported field work and other elements of the trial. DNA extraction and genotyping was co-funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the NIHR BioResource (http://bioresource.nihr.ac.uk) and the NIHR [Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre at the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust] [*]. Nightingale Health NMR assays were funded by the European Commission Framework Programme 7 (HEALTH-F2-2012-279233). Metabolon Metabolomics assays were funded by the NIHR 26 BioResource and the National Institute for Health Research [Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre at the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust] [*]. The academic coordinating centre for INTERVAL was supported by core funding from: NIHR Blood and Transplant Research Unit in Donor Health and Genomics (NIHR BTRU-2014-10024), UK Medical Research Council (MR/L003120/1), British Heart Foundation (SP/09/002; RG/13/13/30194; RG/18/13/33946) and the NIHR [Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre at the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust] [*].The academic coordinating centre would like to thank blood donor centre staff and blood donors for participating in the INTERVAL trial. This work was supported by Health Data Research UK, which is funded by the UK Medical Research Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, Department of Health and Social Care (England), Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates, Health and Social Care Research and Development Division (Welsh Government), Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland), British Heart Foundation and Wellcome. *The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. UK Biobank: This research has been conducted using the UK Biobank resource under Application Number 44448.