Robert Roberts

University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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Publications (133)993.34 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Myocardial infarction (MI), a leading cause of death around the world, displays a complex pattern of inheritance. When MI occurs early in life, genetic inheritance is a major component to risk. Previously, rare mutations in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) genes have been shown to contribute to MI risk in individual families, whereas common variants at more than 45 loci have been associated with MI risk in the population. Here we evaluate how rare mutations contribute to early-onset MI risk in the population. We sequenced the protein-coding regions of 9,793 genomes from patients with MI at an early age (≤50 years in males and ≤60 years in females) along with MI-free controls. We identified two genes in which rare coding-sequence mutations were more frequent in MI cases versus controls at exome-wide significance. At low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR), carriers of rare non-synonymous mutations were at 4.2-fold increased risk for MI; carriers of null alleles at LDLR were at even higher risk (13-fold difference). Approximately 2% of early MI cases harbour a rare, damaging mutation in LDLR; this estimate is similar to one made more than 40 years ago using an analysis of total cholesterol16. Among controls, about 1 in 217 carried an LDLR coding-sequence mutation and had plasma LDL cholesterol > 190 mg dl−1. At apolipoprotein A-V (APOA5), carriers of rare non-synonymous mutations were at 2.2-fold increased risk for MI. When compared with non-carriers, LDLR mutation carriers had higher plasma LDL cholesterol, whereas APOA5 mutation carriers had higher plasma triglycerides. Recent evidence has connected MI risk with coding-sequence mutations at two genes functionally related to APOA5, namely lipoprotein lipase15, 17 and apolipoprotein C-III. Combined, these observations suggest that, as well as LDL cholesterol, disordered metabolism of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins contributes to MI risk.
    Nature 12/2014; advance online publication. · 38.60 Impact Factor
  • Robert Roberts
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    ABSTRACT: There is almost no data on the genetics of acute coronary syndromes, so this review discusses primarily the 50 genetic risk variants associated with coronary artery disease that are of genome-wide significance in the discovery population and replicated in an independent population. All of these risk variants are extremely common with more than half occurring in >50% of the general population. They increased only minimally the relative risk for coronary artery disease. The most striking finding is that 35 of the 50 risk variants act independently of known risk factors, indicating there are several pathways yet to be appreciated, contributing to the pathogenesis of coronary atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction. All of the genetic variants seem to act through atherosclerosis, except for the ABO blood groups, which show that A and B are associated with increased risk for myocardial infarction, mediated by a prolonged von Willebrand plasma half life leading to thrombosis. The potential molecular mechanisms of 9p21 are discussed, including cell cycle kinase inhibitors. Discovery of risk variants associated with PCSK9 has led to the development of novel treatment for plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. A monoclonal antibody inhibiting PCSK9 has already undergone phase I and II clinical trials, showing it is a potent inhibitor of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and is mediated through more rapid removal of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol from the plasma. This therapy complements that of statin therapy, which inhibits the synthesis of cholesterol. The benefits of Mendelian randomization to assess safety and efficacy and their limitations are discussed along with future directions.
    Circulation Research 06/2014; 114(12):1890-903. · 11.86 Impact Factor
  • Sonny Dandona, Robert Roberts
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    ABSTRACT: Genome-wide association studies for coronary artery disease utilizing the case control association study approach has identified 50 genetic risk variants associated with coronary artery disease or myocardial infarction. All of these genetic variants are of genome wide significance and replicated in an independent population. It is of note that 35 of these 50 genetic risk variants act through mechanisms as yet unknown. These findings have great implications for the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, as well as new targets for the development of novel therapies for the prevention and treatment of CAD. The genetic variant PCSK9 has already led to the development of a monoclonal anti-body which is undergoing assessment in phases I, II, and III clinical trials. This therapy shows very promising results and since it increases removal of LDL-C, it is complementary to current statin therapy. Assessing the beneficial or deleterious effects of a lifelong exposure to a genetic risk variant (Mendelian randomization) will be an important adjunct to clinical trials.
    Current Cardiology Reports 05/2014; 16(5):479.
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    ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) affects many processes in health and disease. SPG7 assembles with AFG3L2 into the mAAA protease at the inner membrane of mitochondria, degrades damaged proteins, and regulates the synthesis of mitochondrial ribosomes. SPG7 is cleaved and activated by AFG3L2 upon assembly. A variant in SPG7 that replaces arginine 688 with glutamine (Q688) is associated with several phenotypes, including toxicity of chemotherapeutic agents, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and (as reported here) coronary artery disease. We demonstrate that SPG7 processing is regulated by tyrosine phosphorylation of AFG3L2. Carriers of Q688 bypass this regulation and constitutively process and activate SPG7 mAAA protease. Cells expressing Q688 produce higher ATP levels and ROS, promoting cell proliferation. Our results thus reveal an unexpected link between the phosphorylation-dependent regulation of the mitochondria mAAA protease affecting ROS production and several clinical phenotypes.
    Cell Reports 04/2014; · 7.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Elevated levels of plasma trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), the product of gut microbiome and hepatic-mediated metabolism of dietary choline and l-carnitine, have recently been identified as a novel risk factor for the development of atherosclerosis in mice and humans. The goal of this study was to identify the genetic factors associated with plasma TMAO levels. We used comparative genome-wide association study approaches to discover loci for plasma TMAO levels in mice and humans. A genome-wide association study in the hybrid mouse diversity panel identified a locus for TMAO levels on chromosome 3 (P=2.37×10(-6)) that colocalized with a highly significant (P=1.07×10(-20)) cis-expression quantitative trait locus for solute carrier family 30 member 7. This zinc transporter could thus represent ≥1 positional candidate gene responsible for the association signal at this locus in mice. A genome-wide association study for plasma TMAO levels in 1973 humans identified 2 loci with suggestive evidence of association (P=3.0×10(-7)) on chromosomes 1q23.3 and 2p12. However, genotyping of the lead variants at these loci in 1892 additional subjects failed to replicate their association with plasma TMAO levels. The results of these limited observational studies indicate that, at least in humans, genes play a marginal role in determining TMAO levels and that any genetic effects are relatively weak and complex. Variation in diet or the repertoire of gut microbiota may be more important determinants of plasma TMAO levels in mice and humans, which should be investigated in future studies.
    Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 03/2014; · 6.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) is a circulating protein that promotes degradation of the low density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor. Mutations that block PCSK9 secretion reduce LDL-cholesterol and the incidence of myocardial infarction (MI). However, it remains unclear whether elevated plasma PCSK9 associates with coronary atherosclerosis (CAD) or more directly with rupture of the plaque causing MI.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(9):e106294. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ischemic stroke (IS) and coronary artery disease (CAD) share several risk factors and each has a substantial heritability. We conducted a genome-wide analysis to evaluate the extent of shared genetic determination of the two diseases. Genome-wide association data were obtained from the METASTROKE, Coronary Artery Disease Genome-wide Replication and Meta-analysis (CARDIoGRAM), and Coronary Artery Disease (C4D) Genetics consortia. We first analyzed common variants reaching a nominal threshold of significance (P<0.01) for CAD for their association with IS and vice versa. We then examined specific overlap across phenotypes for variants that reached a high threshold of significance. Finally, we conducted a joint meta-analysis on the combined phenotype of IS or CAD. Corresponding analyses were performed restricted to the 2167 individuals with the ischemic large artery stroke (LAS) subtype. Common variants associated with CAD at P<0.01 were associated with a significant excess risk for IS and for LAS and vice versa. Among the 42 known genome-wide significant loci for CAD, 3 and 5 loci were significantly associated with IS and LAS, respectively. In the joint meta-analyses, 15 loci passed genome-wide significance (P<5×10(-8)) for the combined phenotype of IS or CAD and 17 loci passed genome-wide significance for LAS or CAD. Because these loci had prior evidence for genome-wide significance for CAD, we specifically analyzed the respective signals for IS and LAS and found evidence for association at chr12q24/SH2B3 (PIS=1.62×10(-7)) and ABO (PIS=2.6×10(-4)), as well as at HDAC9 (PLAS=2.32×10(-12)), 9p21 (PLAS=3.70×10(-6)), RAI1-PEMT-RASD1 (PLAS=2.69×10(-5)), EDNRA (PLAS=7.29×10(-4)), and CYP17A1-CNNM2-NT5C2 (PLAS=4.9×10(-4)). Our results demonstrate substantial overlap in the genetic risk of IS and particularly the LAS subtype with CAD.
    Stroke 11/2013; · 6.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pharmacogenetics in cardiovascular medicine brings the potential for personalized therapeutic strategies that improve efficacy and reduce harm. Studies evaluating the impact of genetic variation on pharmacologic effects have been undertaken for most major cardiovascular drugs, including antithrombotic agents, β-adrenergic receptor blockers, statins, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. Across these drug classes, many polymorphisms associated with pharmacodynamic, pharmacokinetic, or surrogate outcomes have been identified. However, their impact on clinical outcomes and their ability to improve clinical practice remains unclear. This review will examine the current clinical evidence supporting pharmacogenetic testing in cardiovascular medicine, provide clinical guidance based on the current evidence, and identify further steps needed to determine the utility of pharmacogenetics in cardiovascular care.
    Clinical Cardiology 09/2013; · 1.83 Impact Factor
  • Robert Roberts
    The Canadian journal of cardiology 06/2013; · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: -Variants at the 9p21 locus associate with the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) or myocardial infarction (MI). However, atherosclerotic plaque deposition is distinct from MI (plaque rupture and thrombosis) and recent studies showed no association between these variants and MI in patients with preexisting CAD. We performed haplotype analysis at the 9p21 locus to test whether haplotypes at distinct linkage disequilibrium (LD) blocks predict these phenotypes. METHODS AND RESULTS: -Using 24 single-nucleotide polymorphisms genotyped in Caucasians without diabetes, we reconstructed haplotypes at the 9p21 locus. Angiographic CAD/MI patients had at least 1 epicardial stenosis > 50% (n=2352) whereas controls were asymptomatic and over age 60 (n=2116). For CAD patients, regression models examined association of haplotypes with initial age of symptomatic CAD, number of diseased vessels, and history of MI. In the case-control study, only haplotypes at one block tagged by rs1333049 associated with CAD more so than MI. These haplotypes also associated with early onset of CAD (β=-0.13 p=1.37*10(-4)) and disease severity (β=0.1823, p=0.006), but not with prevalent MI among CAD patients. In contrast, haplotypes at another block tagged by rs518394 associated with prevalent MI (β=0.239, p= 2.05*10(-4)), but remarkably these are inversely associated with disease severity (β=-0.196, p=0.003). This MI association was replicated in the Cleveland Clinic GeneBank premature CAD cohort (n=1385, β=0.207, p= 0.019). CONCLUSIONS: -Variants/haplotypes at two blocks are distinguished at 9p21, those at one block predispose to atherosclerosis whereas those at the other predispose to MI among individuals with preexisting CAD.
    Circulation Cardiovascular Genetics 05/2013; · 6.73 Impact Factor
  • Cell Symposia: Mitochondria: from Signaling to Disease; 05/2013
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    ABSTRACT: A paradigm shift towards biology occurred in the 1990's subsequently catalyzed by the sequencing of the human genome in 2000. The cost of DNA sequencing has gone from millions to thousands of dollars with sequencing of one's entire genome costing only $1,000. Rapid DNA sequencing is being embraced for single gene disorders, particularly for sporadic cases and those from small families. Transmission of lethal genes such as associated with Huntington's disease can, through in-vitro fertilization, avoid passing it on to one's offspring. DNA sequencing will meet the challenge of elucidating the genetic predisposition for common polygenic diseases, especially in determining the function of the novel common genetic risk variants and identifying the rare variants, which may also partially ascertain the source of the missing heritability. The challenge for DNA sequencing remains great, despite human genome sequences being 99.5% identical, the 3 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) responsible for most of the unique features add up to 60 new mutations per person which, for 7 billion people, is 420 billion mutations. It is claimed that DNA sequencing has increased 10,000 fold while information storage and retrieval only 16 fold. The physician and health user will be challenged by the convergence of two major trends, whole genome sequencing and the storage/retrieval and integration of the data.
    Journal of the American College of Cardiology 03/2013; · 14.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The 9p21.3 locus is strongly associated with the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) and with type 2 diabetes (T2D). We investigated the association of 9p21.3 variants with severity of CAD (defined by the number of vessel diseased [VD]) in the presence and absence of T2D. METHODS: We tested 11 9p21.3-variants for association in a white Italian study (N = 2,908), and carried out replication in 2 independent white populations, a German study (N = 2,028) and a Canadian Study (N=950). SNP association and permutation analyses were conducted. RESULTS: We identified two 9p21.3-variants, rs4977574 (P < 4x10-4) and rs2383207 (P < 1.5x10-3) that were associated with severity of CAD in subjects without T2D. Association of rs4977574 with severity of CAD was confirmed in the Canadian Study. Results from subgroup analysis among patients with T2D showed an interaction between rs10738610 and T2D with P = 4.82x10-2. Further investigation showed that rs10738610 (P < 1.99x10-2) was found to be significantly associated with severity of CAD in subjects with T2D. CONCLUSIONS: The 9p21.3 locus is significantly associated with severity of CAD. The number of associations of 9p21.3 variants with severity of CAD is variable to the presence and absence of T2D. In a CAD-susceptible region of 115 kb, there is only one variant associated with the severity of coronary vessel disease in the presence of type 2 diabetes.
    BMC Medical Genetics 01/2013; 14(1):11. · 2.54 Impact Factor
  • Robert Roberts
    Journal of the American College of Cardiology 01/2013; · 14.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the commonest cause of death. Here, we report an association analysis in 63,746 CAD cases and 130,681 controls identifying 15 loci reaching genome-wide significance, taking the number of susceptibility loci for CAD to 46, and a further 104 independent variants (r2 < 0.2) strongly associated with CAD at a 5% false discovery rate (FDR). Together, these variants explain approximately 10.6% of CAD heritability. Of the 46 genome-wide significant lead SNPs, 12 show a significant association with a lipid trait, and 5 show a significant association with blood pressure, but none is significantly associated with diabetes. Network analysis with 233 candidate genes (loci at 10% FDR) generated 5 interaction networks comprising 85% of these putative genes involved in CAD. The four most significant pathways mapping to these networks are linked to lipid metabolism and inflammation, underscoring the causal role of these activities in the genetic etiology of CAD. Our study provides insights into the genetic basis of CAD and identifies key biological pathways.
    Nature Genetics 12/2012; 45(1):25. · 35.21 Impact Factor
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the commonest cause of death. Here, we report an association analysis in 63,746 CAD cases and 130,681 controls identifying 15 loci reaching genome-wide significance, taking the number of susceptibility loci for CAD to 46, and a further 104 independent variants (r(2) < 0.2) strongly associated with CAD at a 5% false discovery rate (FDR). Together, these variants explain approximately 10.6% of CAD heritability. Of the 46 genome-wide significant lead SNPs, 12 show a significant association with a lipid trait, and 5 show a significant association with blood pressure, but none is significantly associated with diabetes. Network analysis with 233 candidate genes (loci at 10% FDR) generated 5 interaction networks comprising 85% of these putative genes involved in CAD. The four most significant pathways mapping to these networks are linked to lipid metabolism and inflammation, underscoring the causal role of these activities in the genetic etiology of CAD. Our study provides insights into the genetic basis of CAD and identifies key biological pathways.
    Nature Genetics 12/2012; 45(1):25. · 35.21 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the commonest cause of death. Here, we report an association analysis in 63,746 CAD cases and 130,681 controls identifying 15 loci reaching genome-wide significance, taking the number of susceptibility loci for CAD to 46, and a further 104 independent variants (r2 < 0.2) strongly associated with CAD at a 5% false discovery rate (FDR). Together, these variants explain approximately 10.6% of CAD heritability. Of the 46 genome-wide significant lead SNPs, 12 show a significant association with a lipid trait, and 5 show a significant association with blood pressure, but none is significantly associated with diabetes. Network analysis with 233 candidate genes (loci at 10% FDR) generated 5 interaction networks comprising 85% of these putative genes involved in CAD. The four most significant pathways mapping to these networks are linked to lipid metabolism and inflammation, underscoring the causal role of these activities in the genetic etiology of CAD. Our study provides insights into the genetic basis of CAD and identifies key biological pathways.
    Nature Genetics 12/2012; 45(1):25. · 35.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES: Because post-transcriptional mechanisms modulate levels of p16 (encoded by CDKN2A) and p15 (encoded by CDKN2B), we tested whether interferon-γ regulates the expression of these proteins and the effect of the 9p21 genotype. BACKGROUND: The mechanism whereby the common variant at chromosome 9p21.3 confers risk for coronary artery disease (CAD) remains uncertain. A recent report proposed that 9p21.3 confers differential activation of adjacent genes in response to interferon-γ, and reported that mRNA levels of CDKN2B are reduced in response to interferon-γ. METHODS: Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), aortic smooth muscle cells, HeLa cells, HEK293 cells, and 16 human lymphoblastoid cell lines, all genotyped for the 9p21.3 locus, were treated with interferon-γ and analyzed by immunoblot. RESULTS: In all cells tested-except HUVECs where expression was not modulated by interferon-γ-regardless of 9p21.3 genotype, interferon-γ increased the expression of p16 and p15. Northern blot analysis confirmed that interferon-γ has little effect on mRNA levels of CDKN2A and CDKN2B. CONCLUSIONS: The 9p21.3 risk genotype does not affect the activation of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors p15 and p16 by interferon-γ. Thus, another mechanism is likely to account for the CAD risk associated with this locus.
    Journal of the American College of Cardiology 11/2012; · 14.09 Impact Factor
  • Sonny Dandona, Robert Roberts
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    ABSTRACT: Personalized medicine is the tailoring of the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment to the characteristics of each individual patient. In this review, we provide a status report on genetic variants that influence therapy with antiplatelet agents, warfarin, and statins. Resistance to clopidogrel, an antiplatelet therapy, has been shown to be present in 25% to 30% of Caucasians and an even higher percentage in Asians. Part of this resistance is because of the CYP2C19*2 allele. Administering clopidogrel on the basis of previous genetic testing remains controversial. A recent breakthrough in point-of-care genetic testing for clopidogrel might be significant, not only for genetic testing for clopidogrel, but for the whole of personalized medicine. Genetic testing for aspirin resistance is not yet recommended because of incomplete genetic data. Studies to determine the value of genetic testing before the administration of warfarin are ongoing. Testing for SLCO1B1 allele for individuals with muscle cramps who are taking statins could be very helpful but is not yet recommended as routine. Pharmacogenetics has the potential to customize therapy and move away from the current model of 1 drug fits all.
    The Canadian journal of cardiology 10/2012; · 3.12 Impact Factor
  • Robert Roberts, Alexandre F R Stewart
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    ABSTRACT: Susceptibility to coronary artery disease (CAD) is claimed to be 40% to 60% inherited, but until recently genetic risk factors predisposing to CAD have been elusive. Comprehensive prevention of CAD requires manipulation of genetic risk. The availability of microarrays of single-nucleotide polymorphisms enabling genome-wide association studies (GWAS) led to the discovery of 33 genetic risk variants for CAD. Surprisingly, 23 risk variants mediate their risk through unknown mechanisms, with only 10 associating with hypertension or lipids. Thus, there are several mechanisms contributing to the pathogenesis of CAD yet to be elucidated. The first risk variant discovered by GWAS was 9p21.3, which occurs in 75% of all populations except African, with a mean increased risk of 25% per copy. Of the 33 variants for CAD, the increased risk varies from 6% to 92% with a mean increased risk of 18%, occurring on average in 47% of the population. The maximum number of risk alleles per individual would be 66. In the CARDIoGRAM (Coronary Artery Disease Genome-wide Replication and Meta Analysis) study of 23 variants, the average per individual was 17, the minimum 7, and the maximum 37. The top 10th percentile has an odds ratio of 1.88 and the lowest percentile an odds ratio of 0.55. Routine genetic screening is unlikely until management is improved by genetic testing. Risk variants should provide pathophysiological insights and targets for novel therapy. While risk variants are less potent predictors of CAD, compared with biomarkers, they have the advantage of not changing in one's lifetime and are unaffected by diet, sex, age, or medication.
    Journal of the American College of Cardiology 09/2012; 60(18):1715-21. · 14.09 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

4k Citations
993.34 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2004–2014
    • University of Ottawa
      • Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology
      Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 2012
    • McGill University
      • Faculty of Medicine
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
    • University of Pennsylvania
      • Department of Pharmacology
      Philadelphia, PA, United States
    • Centro de Estudios en Cardiología Intervencionista
      Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires F.D., Argentina
    • Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
  • 2011
    • Universität zu Lübeck
      Lübeck Hansestadt, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
    • Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
      Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 2010
    • McMaster University
      Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
    • University of Michigan
      • Department of Biostatistics
      Ann Arbor, MI, United States
  • 2007–2008
    • University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
      • Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine
      Houston, TX, United States
    • University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
      • Department of Epidemiology
      Houston, TX, United States
  • 1987–2005
    • Baylor College of Medicine
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Section of Cardiology
      Houston, TX, United States