Open Access Green: Postprint online available 11/2022 as soon as is submitted to ZB.
Meta-GWAS of PCSK9 levels detects two novel loci at APOB and TM6SF2.
Hum. Mol. Genet. 31, 999-1011 (2021)
BACKGROUND: Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) is a key player in lipid metabolism, as it degrades LDL receptors from hepatic cell membranes. So far, only variants of the PCSK9 gene locus were found to be associated with PCSK9 levels. Here we aimed to identify novel genetic loci that regulate PCSK9 levels and how they relate to other lipid traits. Additionally, we investigated to what extend the causal effect of PCSK9 on coronary artery disease (CAD) is mediated by LDL-C. METHODS & RESULTS: We performed a genome-wide association study meta-analysis of PCSK9 levels in up to 12,721 samples of European ancestry. The estimated heritability was 10.3%, which increased to 12.6% using only samples from patients without statin treatment. We successfully replicated the known PCSK9 hit consisting of three independent signals. Interestingly, in a study of 300 African Americans, we confirmed the locus with a different PCSK9 variant. Beyond PCSK9, our meta-analysis detected three novel loci with genome-wide significance. Co-localization analysis with cis-eQTLs and lipid traits revealed biologically plausible candidate genes at two of them: APOB and TM6SF2. In a bivariate Mendelian Randomization analysis, we detected a strong effect of PCSK9 on LDL-C, but not vice versa. LDL-C mediated 63% of the total causal effect of PCSK9 on CAD. CONCLUSION: Our study identified novel genetic loci with plausible candidate genes affecting PCSK9 levels. Ethnic heterogeneity was observed at the PCSK9 locus itself. While the causal effect of PCSK9 on CAD is mainly mediated by LDL-C, an independent direct effect also occurs.
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Publication type Article: Journal article
Document type Scientific Article
ISSN (print) / ISBN 0964-6906
Journal Human Molecular Genetics
Quellenangaben Volume: 31, Issue: 6, Pages: 999-1011
Publisher Oxford University Press
Reviewing status Peer reviewed
Institute(s) Core Facility Metabolomics & Proteomics (CF-MPC)