Article

Whole genome survey of coding SNPs reveals a reproducible pathway determinant of Parkinson disease

Department of Statistics, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA.
Human Mutation (Impact Factor: 5.05). 02/2009; 30(2):228-38. DOI: 10.1002/humu.20840
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT It is quickly becoming apparent that situating human variation in a pathway context is crucial to understanding its phenotypic significance. Toward this end, we have developed a general method for finding pathways associated with traits that control for pathway size. We have applied this method to a new whole genome survey of coding SNP variation in 187 patients afflicted with Parkinson disease (PD) and 187 controls. We show that our dataset provides an independent replication of the axon guidance association recently reported by Lesnick et al. [PLoS Genet 2007;3:e98], and also indicates that variation in the ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis and T-cell receptor signaling pathways may predict PD susceptibility. Given this result, it is reasonable to hypothesize that pathway associations are more replicable than individual SNP associations in whole genome association studies. However, this hypothesis is complicated by a detailed comparison of our dataset to the second recent PD association study by Fung et al. [Lancet Neurol 2006;5:911-916]. Surprisingly, we find that the axon guidance pathway does not rank at the very top of the Fung dataset after controlling for pathway size. More generally, in comparing the studies, we find that SNP frequencies replicate well despite technologically different assays, but that both SNP and pathway associations are globally uncorrelated across studies. We thus have a situation in which an association between axon guidance pathway variation and PD has been found in 2 out of 3 studies. We conclude by relating this seeming inconsistency to the molecular heterogeneity of PD, and suggest future analyses that may resolve such discrepancies.

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