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Integrative analysis of 3604 GWAS reveals multiple novel cell type-specific regulatory associations

Breeze, CE; Haugen, E; Reynolds, A; Teschendorff, A; van Dongen, J; Lan, Q; Rothman, N; ... Berndt, SI; + view all (2022) Integrative analysis of 3604 GWAS reveals multiple novel cell type-specific regulatory associations. Genome Biololgy , 23 (1) , Article 13. 10.1186/s13059-021-02560-3. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Genome-wide association study (GWAS) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are known to preferentially co-locate to active regulatory elements in tissues and cell types relevant to disease aetiology. Further characterisation of associated cell type-specific regulation can broaden our understanding of how GWAS signals may contribute to disease risk. RESULTS: To gain insight into potential functional mechanisms underlying GWAS associations, we developed FORGE2 ( https://forge2.altiusinstitute.org/ ), which is an updated version of the FORGE web tool. FORGE2 uses an expanded atlas of cell type-specific regulatory element annotations, including DNase I hotspots, five histone mark categories and 15 hidden Markov model (HMM) chromatin states, to identify tissue- and cell type-specific signals. An analysis of 3,604 GWAS from the NHGRI-EBI GWAS catalogue yielded at least one significant disease/trait-tissue association for 2,057 GWAS, including > 400 associations specific to epigenomic marks in immune tissues and cell types, > 30 associations specific to heart tissue, and > 60 associations specific to brain tissue, highlighting the key potential of tissue- and cell type-specific regulatory elements. Importantly, we demonstrate that FORGE2 analysis can separate previously observed accessible chromatin enrichments into different chromatin states, such as enhancers or active transcription start sites, providing a greater understanding of underlying regulatory mechanisms. Interestingly, tissue-specific enrichments for repressive chromatin states and histone marks were also detected, suggesting a role for tissue-specific repressed regions in GWAS-mediated disease aetiology. CONCLUSION: In summary, we demonstrate that FORGE2 has the potential to uncover previously unreported disease-tissue associations and identify new candidate mechanisms. FORGE2 is a transparent, user-friendly web tool for the integrative analysis of loci discovered from GWAS.

Type: Article
Title: Integrative analysis of 3604 GWAS reveals multiple novel cell type-specific regulatory associations
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s13059-021-02560-3
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13059-021-02560-3
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third-party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute > Research Department of Cancer Bio
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10142435
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