Of the 1.8 billion people worldwide infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, 5–15% will develop active tuberculosis (TB). Approximately half will progress to active TB within the first 18 months after infection, presumably because they fail to mount an effective initial immune response. Here, in a genome-wide genetic study of early TB progression, we genotype 4002 active TB cases and their household contacts in Peru. We quantify genetic heritability (h2ghg2) of early TB progression to be 21.2% (standard error 0.08). This suggests TB progression has a strong genetic basis, and is comparable to traits with well-established genetic bases. We identify a novel association between early TB progression and variants located in a putative enhancer region on chromosome 3q23 (rs73226617, OR = 1.18; P = 3.93 × 10−8). With in silico and in vitro analyses we identify rs73226617 or rs148722713 as the likely functional variant and ATP1B3 as a potential causal target gene with monocyte specific function.
Arazi A, Rao DA, Berthier CC, Davidson A, Liu Y, Hoover PJ, Chicoine A, Eisenhaure TM, Jonsson AH, Li S, Lieb DJ, Zhang F, Slowikowski K, Browne EP, Norma A, Sutherby D, Steelman S, Smilek DE, Tosta P, Apruzzese W, Massarotti E, Dall'Era M, Park M, Kamen DL, Furie RA, Payan-Schober F, Pendergraft WF, McInnes EA, Buyon JP, Petri MA, Putterman C, Kalunian KC, Woodle ES, Lederer JA, Hildeman DA, Nusbaum C, Raychaudhuri S, Kretzler M, Anolik JH, Brenner MB, Wofsy D, Hacohen N, Diamond B, in network AMPSLE. The immune cell landscape in kidneys of patients with lupus nephritis [Internet]. Nature Immunology 2019;20(7):902–914. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Lupus nephritis is a potentially fatal autoimmune disease for which the current treatment is ineffective and often toxic. To develop mechanistic hypotheses of disease, we analyzed kidney samples from patients with lupus nephritis and from healthy control subjects using single-cell RNA sequencing. Our analysis revealed 21 subsets of leukocytes active in disease, including multiple populations of myeloid cells, T cells, natural killer cells and B cells that demonstrated both pro-inflammatory responses and inflammation-resolving responses. We found evidence of local activation of B cells correlated with an age-associated B-cell signature and evidence of progressive stages of monocyte differentiation within the kidney. A clear interferon response was observed in most cells. Two chemokine receptors, CXCR4 and CX3CR1, were broadly expressed, implying a potentially central role in cell trafficking. Gene expression of immune cells in urine and kidney was highly correlated, which would suggest that urine might serve as a surrogate for kidney biopsies.
The molecular and cellular processes that lead to renal damage and to the heterogeneity of lupus nephritis (LN) are not well understood. We applied single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) to renal biopsies from patients with LN and evaluated skin biopsies as a potential source of diagnostic and prognostic markers of renal disease. Type I interferon (IFN)-response signatures in tubular cells and keratinocytes distinguished patients with LN from healthy control subjects. Moreover, a high IFN-response signature and fibrotic signature in tubular cells were each associated with failure to respond to treatment. Analysis of tubular cells from patients with proliferative, membranous and mixed LN indicated pathways relevant to inflammation and fibrosis, which offer insight into their histologic differences. In summary, we applied scRNA-seq to LN to deconstruct its heterogeneity and identify novel targets for personalized approaches to therapy.
To define the cell populations that drive joint inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), we applied single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq), mass cytometry, bulk RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) and flow cytometry to T cells, B cells, monocytes, and fibroblasts from 51 samples of synovial tissue from patients with RA or osteoarthritis (OA). Utilizing an integrated strategy based on canonical correlation analysis of 5,265 scRNA-seq profiles, we identified 18 unique cell populations. Combining mass cytometry and transcriptomics revealed cell states expanded in RA synovia: THY1(CD90)+HLA-DRAhi sublining fibroblasts, IL1B+ pro-inflammatory monocytes, ITGAX+TBX21+autoimmune-associated B cells and PDCD1+ peripheral helper T (TPH) cells and follicular helper T (TFH) cells. We defined distinct subsets of CD8+ T cells characterized by GZMK+, GZMB+, and GNLY+ phenotypes. We mapped inflammatory mediators to their source cell populations; for example, we attributed IL6 expression to THY1+HLA-DRAhi fibroblasts and IL1B production to pro-inflammatory monocytes. These populations are potentially key mediators of RA pathogenesis.
The identification of lymphocyte subsets with non-overlapping effector functions has been pivotal to the development of targeted therapies in immune mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs). However it remains unclear whether fibroblast subclasses with non-overlapping functions also exist and are responsible for the wide variety of tissue driven processes observed in IMIDs such as inflammation and damage. Here we identify and describe the biology of distinct subsets of fibroblasts responsible for mediating either inflammation or tissue damage in arthritis. We show that deletion of FAPα+ synovial cells suppressed both inflammation and bone erosions in murine models of resolving and persistent arthritis. Single cell transcriptional analysis identified two distinct fibroblast subsets: FAPα+ THY1+ immune effector fibroblasts located in the synovial sub-lining, and FAPα+ THY1- destructive fibroblasts restricted to the synovial lining. When adoptively transferred into the joint, FAP α+ THY1- fibroblasts selectively mediate bone and cartilage damage with little effect on inflammation whereas transfer of FAP α+ THY1+ fibroblasts resulted in a more severe and persistent inflammatory arthritis, with minimal effect on bone and cartilage. Our findings describing anatomically discrete, functionally distinct fibroblast subsets with non-overlapping functions have important implications for cell based therapies aimed at modulating inflammation and tissue damage.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) are valuable for understanding human biology, but associated loci typically contain multiple associated variants and genes. Thus, algorithms that prioritize likely causal genes and variants for a given phenotype can provide biological interpretations of association data. However, a critical, currently missing capability is to objectively compare performance of such algorithms. Typical comparisons rely on “gold standard” genes harboring causal coding variants, but such gold standards may be biased and incomplete. To address this issue, we developed Benchmarker, an unbiased, data-driven benchmarking method that compares performance of similarity-based prioritization strategies to each other (and to random chance) by leave-one-chromosome-out cross-validation with stratified linkage disequilibrium (LD) score regression. We first applied Benchmarker to 20 well-powered GWASs and compared gene prioritization based on strategies employing three different data sources, including annotated gene sets and gene expression; genes prioritized based on gene sets had higher per-SNP heritability than those prioritized based on gene expression. Additionally, in a direct comparison of three methods, DEPICT and MAGMA outperformed NetWAS. We also evaluated combinations of methods; our results indicated that combining data sources and algorithms can help prioritize higher-quality genes for follow-up. Benchmarker provides an unbiased approach to evaluate any similarity-based method that provides genome-wide prioritization of genes, variants, or gene sets and can determine the best such method for any particular GWAS. Our method addresses an important unmet need for rigorous tool assessment and can assist in mapping genetic associations to causal function.
Macrophages tailor their function according to the signals found in tissue microenvironments, assuming a wide spectrum of phenotypes. A detailed understanding of macrophage phenotypes in human tissues is limited. Using single-cell RNA sequencing, we defined distinct macrophage subsets in the joints of patients with the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which affects ~1% of the population. The subset we refer to as HBEGF ⁺ inflammatory macrophages is enriched in RA tissues and is shaped by resident fibroblasts and the cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF). These macrophages promoted fibroblast invasiveness in an epidermal growth factor receptor–dependent manner, indicating that intercellular cross-talk in this inflamed setting reshapes both cell types and contributes to fibroblast-mediated joint destruction. In an ex vivo synovial tissue assay, most medications used to treat RA patients targeted HBEGF ⁺ inflammatory macrophages; however, in some cases, medication redirected them into a state that is not expected to resolve inflammation. These data highlight how advances in our understanding of chronically inflamed human tissues and the effects of medications therein can be achieved by studies on local macrophage phenotypes and intercellular interactions.
Recent studies have highlighted the role of gene networks in disease biology. To formally assess this, we constructed a broad set of pathway, network, and pathway+network annotations and applied stratified LD score regression to 42 diseases and complex traits (average N = 323K) to identify enriched annotations. First, we analyzed 18,119 biological pathways. We identified 156 pathway-trait pairs whose disease enrichment was statistically significant (FDR < 5%) after conditioning on all genes and 75 known functional annotations (from the baseline-LD model), a stringent step that greatly reduced the number of pathways detected; most significant pathway-trait pairs were previously unreported. Next, for each of four published gene networks, we constructed probabilistic annotations based on network connectivity. For each gene network, the network connectivity annotation was strongly significantly enriched. Surprisingly, the enrichments were fully explained by excess overlap between network annotations and regulatory annotations from the baseline-LD model, validating the informativeness of the baseline-LD model and emphasizing the importance of accounting for regulatory annotations in gene network analyses. Finally, for each of the 156 enriched pathway-trait pairs, for each of the four gene networks, we constructed pathway+network annotations by annotating genes with high network connectivity to the input pathway. For each gene network, these pathway+network annotations were strongly significantly enriched for the corresponding traits. Once again, the enrichments were largely explained by the baseline-LD model. In conclusion, gene network connectivity is highly informative for disease architectures, but the information in gene networks may be subsumed by regulatory annotations, emphasizing the importance of accounting for known annotations.
Despite significant progress in annotating the genome with experimental methods, much of the regulatory noncoding genome remains poorly defined. Here we assert that regulatory elements may be characterized by leveraging local epigenomic signatures at sites where specific transcription factors (TFs) are bound. To link these two identifying features, we introduce IMPACT, a genome annotation strategy which identifies regulatory elements defined by cell-state-specific TF binding profiles, learned from 515 chromatin and sequence annotations. We validate IMPACT using multiple compelling applications. First, IMPACT predicts TF motif binding with high accuracy (average AUC 0.92, s.e. 0.03; across 8 TFs), a significant improvement (all p<6.9e-15) over intersecting motifs with open chromatin (average AUC 0.66, s.e. 0.11). Second, an IMPACT annotation trained on RNA polymerase II is more enriched for peripheral blood cis-eQTL variation (N=3,754) than sequence based annotations, such as promoters and regions around the TSS, (permutation p<1e-3, 25% average increase in enrichment). Third, integration with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) summary statistics from European (N=38,242) and East Asian (N=22,515) populations revealed that the top 5% of CD4+ Treg IMPACT regulatory elements capture 85.7% (s.e. 19.4%) of RA h2 (p<1.6e-5) and that the top 9.8% of Treg IMPACT regulatory elements, consisting of all SNPs with a non-zero annotation value, capture 97.3% (s.e. 18.2%) of RA h2 (p<7.6e-7), the most comprehensive explanation for RA h2 to date. In comparison, the average RA h2 captured by compared CD4+ T histone marks is 42.3% and by CD4+ T specifically expressed gene sets is 36.4%. Finally, integration with RA fine-mapping data (N=27,345) revealed a significant enrichment (2.87, p<8.6e-3) of putatively causal variants across 20 RA associated loci in the top 1% of CD4+ Treg IMPACT regulatory regions. Overall, we find that IMPACT generalizes well to other cell types in identifying complex trait associated regulatory elements.
The Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) network is a network of medical centers with electronic medical records linked to existing biorepository samples for genomic discovery and genomic medicine research. The network sought to unify the genetic results from 78 Illumina and Affymetrix genotype array batches from 12 contributing medical centers for joint association analysis of 83,717 human participants. In this report, we describe the imputation of eMERGE results and methods to create the unified imputed merged set of genome-wide variant genotype data. We imputed the data using the Michigan Imputation Server, which provides a missing single-nucleotide variant genotype imputation service using the minimac3 imputation algorithm with the Haplotype Reference Consortium genotype reference set. We describe the quality control and filtering steps used in the generation of this data set and suggest generalizable quality thresholds for imputation and phenotype association studies. To test the merged imputed genotype set, we replicated a previously reported chromosome 6 HLA-B herpes zoster (shingles) association and discovered a novel zoster-associated loci in an epigenetic binding site near the terminus of chromosome 3 (3p29).