Greg Gibson

Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, United States

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Publications (147)1331.71 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In order to evaluate whether rare regulatory variants in the vicinity of promoters are likely to impact gene expression, we conducted a novel burden test for enrichment of rare variants at the extremes of expression. After sequencing 2-kb promoter regions of 472 genes in 410 healthy adults, we performed a quadratic regression of rare variant count on bins of peripheral blood transcript abundance from microarrays, summing over ranks of all genes. After adjusting for common eQTLs and the major axes of gene expression covariance, a highly significant excess of variants with minor allele frequency less than 0.05 at both high and low extremes across individuals was observed. Further enrichment was seen in sites annotated as potentially regulatory by RegulomeDB, but a deficit of effects was associated with known metabolic disease genes. The main result replicates in an independent sample of 75 individuals with RNA-seq and whole-genome sequence information. Three of four predicted large-effect sites were validated by CRISPR/Cas9 knockdown in K562 cells, but simulations indicate that effect sizes need not be unusually large to produce the observed burden. Unusually divergent low-frequency promoter haplotypes were observed at 31 loci, at least 9 of which appear to be derived from Neandertal admixture, but these were not associated with divergent gene expression in blood. The overall burden test results are consistent with rare and private regulatory variants driving high or low transcription at specific loci, potentially contributing to disease.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · The American Journal of Human Genetics
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    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · PLoS Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: DICER1 is an enzyme that generates mature microRNAs (miRNAs), which regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally in brain and other tissues and is involved in synaptic maturation and plasticity. Here, through genome-wide differential gene expression survey of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with comorbid depression (PTSD&Dep), we find that blood DICER1 expression is significantly reduced in cases versus controls, and replicate this in two independent cohorts. Our follow-up studies find that lower blood DICER1 expression is significantly associated with increased amygdala activation to fearful stimuli, a neural correlate for PTSD. Additionally, a genetic variant in the 3' un-translated region of DICER1, rs10144436, is significantly associated with DICER1 expression and with PTSD&Dep, and the latter is replicated in an independent cohort. Furthermore, genome-wide differential expression survey of miRNAs in blood in PTSD&Dep reveals miRNAs to be significantly downregulated in cases versus controls. Together, our novel data suggest DICER1 plays a role in molecular mechanisms of PTSD&Dep through the DICER1 and the miRNA regulation pathway.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Nature Communications
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    ABSTRACT: We describe the Wellness and Health Omics Linked to the Environment (WHOLE) personalized medicine profile for a 50-year-old Caucasian male living in Atlanta, Georgia. Based on the principle that genomic medicine will be most effective when presented in the context of an individual’s clinical and lifestyle data, we propose the use of a “risk radar” that summarizes health risks in eight domains. Rather than providing overwhelming lists of potentially deleterious genetic variants, we argue that profiles should be palatable, actionable, reproducible, and teachable: the PART principle. Genetic risk scores for this individual are strikingly concordant for his height, body mass index (BMI), waist hip ration (WHR), and cholesterol, and blood transcriptome data agrees with and complements his complete blood counts. Despite enjoying currently good health, his risk radar highlights metabolic disease as his major health concern.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · The Yale journal of biology and medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Personalized medicine is predicated on the notion that individual biochemical and genomic profiles are relatively constant in times of good health and to some extent predictive of disease or therapeutic response. We report a pilot study quantifying gene expression and methylation profile consistency over time, addressing the reasons for individual uniqueness, and its relation to N = 1 phenotypes. Methods: Whole blood samples from four African American women, four Caucasian women, and four Caucasian men drawn from the Atlanta Center for Health Discovery and Well Being study at three successive 6-month intervals were profiled by RNA-Seq, miRNA-Seq, and Illumina Methylation 450 K arrays. Standard regression approaches were used to evaluate the proportion of variance for each type of omic measure among individuals, and to quantify correlations among measures and with clinical attributes related to wellness. Results: Longitudinal omic profiles were in general highly consistent over time, with an average of 67 % variance in transcript abundance, 42 % in CpG methylation level (but 88 % for the most differentiated CpG per gene), and 50 % in miRNA abundance among individuals, which are all comparable to 74 % variance among individuals for 74 clinical traits. One third of the variance could be attributed to differential blood cell type abundance, which was also fairly stable over time, and a lesser amount to expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) effects. Seven conserved axes of covariance that capture diverse aspects of immune function explained over half of the variance. These axes also explained a considerable proportion of individually extreme transcript abundance, namely approximately 100 genes that were significantly up-regulated or down-regulated in each person and were in some cases enriched for relevant gene activities that plausibly associate with clinical attributes. A similar fraction of genes had individually divergent methylation levels, but these did not overlap with the transcripts, and fewer than 20 % of genes had significantly correlated methylation and gene expression. Conclusions: People express an "omic personality" consisting of peripheral blood transcriptional and epigenetic profiles that are constant over the course of a year and reflect various types of immune activity. Baseline genomic profiles can provide a window into the molecular basis of traits that might be useful for explaining medical conditions or guiding personalized health decisions.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Genome Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Continued exposure to malaria-causing parasites in endemic regions of malaria induces significant levels of acquired immunity in adult individuals. A better understanding of the transcriptional basis for this acquired immunological response may provide insight into how the immune system can be boosted during vaccination, and into why infected individuals differ in symptomology. Peripheral blood gene expression profiles of 9 semi-immune volunteers from a Plasmodium vivax malaria prevalent region (Buenaventura, Colombia) were compared to those of 7 naïve individuals from a region with no reported transmission of malaria (Cali, Colombia) after a controlled infection mosquito bite challenge with P. vivax. A Fluidigm nanoscale quantitative RT-PCR array was used to survey altered expression of 96 blood informative transcripts at 7 timepoints after controlled infection, and RNASeq was used to contrast pre-infection and early parasitemia timepoints. There was no evidence for transcriptional changes prior to the appearance of blood stage parasites at day 12 or 13, at which time there was a strong interferon response and, unexpectedly, down-regulation of transcripts related to inflammation and innate immunity. This differential expression was confirmed with RNASeq, which also suggested perturbations of aspects of T cell function and erythropoiesis. Despite differences in clinical symptoms between the semi-immune and malaria naïve individuals, only subtle differences in their transcriptomes were observed, although 175 genes showed significantly greater induction or repression in the naïve volunteers from Cali. Gene expression profiling of whole blood reveals the type and duration of the immune response to P. vivax infection, and highlights a subset of genes that may mediate adaptive immunity.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
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    Greg Gibson · Joseph E Powell · Urko M Marigorta
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    ABSTRACT: Expression quantitative trait locus analysis has emerged as an important component of efforts to understand how genetic polymorphisms influence disease risk and is poised to make contributions to translational medicine. Here we review how expression quantitative trait locus analysis is aiding the identification of which gene(s) within regions of association are causal for a disease or phenotypic trait; the narrowing down of the cell types or regulators involved in the etiology of disease; the characterization of drivers and modifiers of cancer; and our understanding of how different environments and cellular contexts can modify gene expression. We also introduce the concept of transcriptional risk scores as a means of refining estimates of individual liability to disease based on targeted profiling of the transcripts that are regulated by polymorphisms jointly associated with disease and gene expression.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Genome Medicine

  • No preview · Article · Jun 2015 · Cytotherapy
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    Greg Gibson

    Preview · Article · May 2015 · Science

  • No preview · Conference Paper · May 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Histiocytoid cardiomyopathy (Histiocytoid CM) is a rare form of cardiomyopathy observed predominantly in newborn females that is fatal unless treated early in life. We have performed whole exome sequencing on five parent-proband trios and identified nuclear-encoded mitochondrial protein mutations in three cases. The molecular genetic basis of Histiocytoid CM remains unknown despite several hypotheses in medical literature. The findings presented in this manuscript may represent components of genetic etiologies for this heterogeneous disease. Two probands had de novo non-sense mutations in the second exon of the X-linked nuclear gene NDUFB11. A third proband was doubly heterozygous for inherited rare variants in additional components of complex I, NDUFAF2 and NDUFB9, confirming that Histiocytoid CM is genetically heterogeneous. In a fourth case, the proband with Histiocytoid CM inherited a mitochondrial mutation from her heteroplasmic mother, as did her brother who presented with cardiac arrhythmia. Strong candidate recessive or compound heterozygous variants were not found for this individual or for the fifth case. Although NDUFB11 has not been implicated before in cardiac pathology, morpholino-mediated knockdown of ndufb11 in zebrafish embryos generated defective cardiac tissue with cardiomegaly, looping defects, and arrhythmia which suggests the role of NDUFB11 in the pathogenesis of this abnormal cardiac pathology. Taken together, the unbiased whole exome sequencing approach confirms the suspected genetic heterogeneity of Histiocytoid CM. Therefore, the novel NDUFB11 mutation may cause a complex 1 deficiency in synergy with additional unknown mtDNA variants. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A
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    ABSTRACT: Bacteria colonize cystic fibrosis (CF) airways, and although T cells with appropriate Ag specificity are present in draining lymph nodes, they are conspicuously absent from the lumen. To account for this absence, we hypothesized that polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs), recruited massively into the CF airway lumen and actively exocytosing primary granules, also suppress T cell function therein. Programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), which exerts T cell suppression at a late step, was expressed bimodally on CF airway PMNs, delineating PD-L1(hi) and PD-L1(lo) subsets, whereas healthy control (HC) airway PMNs were uniformly PD-L1(hi). Blood PMNs incubated in CF airway fluid lost PD-L1 over time; in coculture, Ab blockade of PD-L1 failed to inhibit the suppression of T cell proliferation by CF airway PMNs. In contrast with PD-L1, arginase 1 (Arg1), which exerts T cell suppression at an early step, was uniformly high on CF and HC airway PMNs. However, arginase activity was high in CF airway fluid and minimal in HC airway fluid, consistent with the fact that Arg1 activation requires primary granule exocytosis, which occurs in CF, but not HC, airway PMNs. In addition, Arg1 expression on CF airway PMNs correlated negatively with lung function and positively with arginase activity in CF airway fluid. Finally, combined treatment with arginase inhibitor and arginine rescued the suppression of T cell proliferation by CF airway fluid. Thus, Arg1 and PD-L1 are dynamically modulated upon PMN migration into human airways, and, Arg1, but not PD-L1, contributes to early PMN-driven T cell suppression in CF, likely hampering resolution of infection and inflammation. Copyright © 2015 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · The Journal of Immunology
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    ABSTRACT: Autologous bone marrow derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) for adoptive cell therapy of luminal Crohn's Disease (CD) are being tested in clinical trials. However, CD is associated with dysregulation of autophagy and its effect on MSC's immunobiology is unknown. Here we demonstrate no quantitative difference in phenotype, in vitro growth kinetics and molecular signatures to IFNγ between MSCs derived from CD and healthy individuals. CD MSCs were indistinguishable from those derived from healthy controls at inhibiting T cell proliferation through an indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) dependent mechanism. Upon IFNγ pre-licensing, both MSC populations inhibit T cell effector functions. Neither a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs7820268 in the IDO gene, nor a widely reported CD predisposing SNP ATG16L1rs2241880 modulated the suppressive function of MSCs carrying these haplotypes. IFNγ stimulation or co-culture with activated T cells upregulated the expression of autophagy genes and/or vacuoles on MSCs. Pharmacological blockade of autophagy pathway did not reverse the immunosuppressive properties and IFNγ responsiveness of MSCs confirming the absence of a functional link between these two cell biochemical properties. We conclude that autophagy, but not IDO and IFNγ responsiveness, is dispensable for MSC's immunosuppressive properties. MSCs from CD subjects are functionally analogous to those of healthy individuals.Molecular Therapy (2015); doi:10.1038/mt.2015.67.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Molecular Therapy
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    ABSTRACT: The Center for Health Discovery and Wellbeing (CHDWB) is an academic program designed to evaluate the efficacy of clinical self-knowledge and health partner counseling for development and maintenance of healthy behaviors. This paper reports on the change in health profiles for over 90 traits, measured in 382 participants over three visits in the 12 months following enrolment. Significant changes in the desired direction of improved health are observed for many traits related to cardiovascular health, including BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol, and arterial stiffness, as well as for summary measures of physical and mental health. The changes are most notable for individuals in the upper quartile of baseline risk, many of whom showed a positive correlated response across clinical categories. By contrast, individuals who start with more healthy profiles do not generally show significant improvements and only a modest impact of targeting specific health attributes was observed. Overall, the CHDWB model shows promise as an effective intervention particularly for individuals at high risk for cardiovascular disease.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014
  • Thanawadee Preeprem · Greg Gibson
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    ABSTRACT: The identification of genetic factors that influence drug responses often focuses on genes whose variants are predicted to alter pharmacokinetic and/or pharmacodynamic parameters—leading to an increased risk of drug toxicity or therapeutic failure. In this study, we selected 48 genes identified as “Very Important Pharmacogenes (VIPs)” by the PharmGKB database, and developed a fivefeature Structural Disturbance Score (SDS) for their amino acid variants. “SDS Pharmacogenes” is a score that categorizes distinguishable characteristic profiles that annotate VIP variants as functional rather than neutral mutations. Unlike most existing conservation-based measures, SDS Pharmacogenes can be used to evaluate unknown variants of currently 45/48 VIPs and predict the degree to which each one will have strong impacts towards pharmacogenomics, potentially aiding optimization of drug therapy. SDS Pharmacogenes is built upon a systematic screening for structural disturbance of amino acid mutations within the 45/48 VIPs in the context of their 3-dimensional (3D) protein structures. Our variant evaluation pipeline focuses on the changes in inter-residue bonding, protein stability, protein flexibility, drug binding capability, protein-protein interactions, and amino acid dissimilarity, in addition to the localization of the variants and the amino acid secondary structure preference. While expertise in 3D-protein analysis is beneficial, our implementation does not require that an individual with experience in protein structures be engaged in the personalized genome evaluation, nor expect the users must have bioinformatic backgrounds. In addition, the analysis pipeline is systematic and scalable, thus expected to keep pace with the rapid accumulation of pharmacogenomic data. The SDS Pharmacogenes web application is publicly available at http://sdsp.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · Current Pharmacogenomics and Personalized Medicine (Formerly Current Pharmacogenomics)
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    ABSTRACT: We describe a multi-omic approach to understanding the effects that the anti-malarial drug pyrimethamine has on immune physiology in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). Whole blood and bone marrow (BM) RNA-Seq and plasma metabolome profiles (each with over 15,000 features) have been generated for five naïve individuals at up to seven timepoints before, during and after three rounds of drug administration. Linear modeling and Bayesian network analyses are both considered, alongside investigations of the impact of statistical modeling strategies on biological inference. Individual macaques were found to be a major source of variance for both omic data types, and factoring individuals into subsequent modeling increases power to detect temporal effects. A major component of the whole blood transcriptome follows the BM with a time-delay, while other components of variation are unique to each compartment. We demonstrate that pyrimethamine administration does impact both compartments throughout the experiment, but very limited perturbation of transcript or metabolite abundance was observed following each round of drug exposure. New insights into the mode of action of the drug are presented in the context of pyrimethamine's predicted effect on suppression of cell division and metabolism in the immune system.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
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    Aliza P. Wingo · Greg Gibson
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    ABSTRACT: Prospective epidemiological studies found that generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) can impair immune function and increase risk for cardiovascular disease or events. Mechanisms underlying the physiological reverberations of anxiety, however, are still elusive. Hence, we aimed to investigate molecular processes mediating effects of anxiety on physical health using blood gene expression profiles of 336 community participants (157 anxious and 179 control). We examined genome-wide differential gene expression in anxiety, as well as associations between nine major modules of co-regulated transcripts in blood gene expression and anxiety. No significant differential expression was observed in women, but 631 genes were differentially expressed between anxious and control men at the false discovery rate of 0.1 after controlling for age, body mass index, race, and batch effect. Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) revealed that genes with altered expression levels in anxious men were involved in response of various immune cells to vaccination and to acute viral and bacterial infection, and in a metabolic network affecting traits of metabolic syndrome. Further, we found one set of 260 co-regulated genes to be significantly associated with anxiety in men after controlling for the relevant covariates, and demonstrate its equivalence to a component of the stress-related conserved transcriptional response to adversity profile. Taken together, our results suggest potential molecular pathways that can explain negative effects of GAD observed in epidemiological studies. Remarkably, even mild anxiety, which most of our participants had, was associated with observable changes in immune-related gene expression levels. Our findings generate hypotheses and provide incremental insights into molecular mechanisms mediating negative physiological effects of GAD.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Brain Behavior and Immunity
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    ABSTRACT: Replying to A. R. Wood et al. 514, (2014).We thank Wood et al. for their interesting observations and although their proposed mechanism does not explain all our reported results, we acknowledge that alternative mechanisms could be behind the observation of epistatic signals. Although we replicate our results in large, independent samples, 19/30 of our reported interactions (Table 1 in ref. 2), Wood et al. do not replicate in the InCHIANTI data set (n = 450) at a type-I error rate of 0.05/30 = 0.002, including none of our reported cis-trans interactions. Having insufficient data to replicate the discovery interactions makes it problematic to draw firm conclusions on the reported cis-trans effects.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · Nature
  • Greg Gibson

    No preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Nature
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    Urko M Marigorta · Greg Gibson
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    ABSTRACT: The switch to a modern lifestyle in recent decades has coincided with a rapid increase in prevalence of obesity and other diseases. These shifts in prevalence could be explained by the release of genetic susceptibility for disease in the form of gene-by-environment (GxE) interactions. Yet, the detection of interaction effects requires large sample sizes, little replication has been reported, and a few studies have demonstrated environmental effects only after summing the risk of GWAS alleles into genetic risk scores (GRSxE). We performed extensive simulations of a quantitative trait controlled by 2500 causal variants to inspect the feasibility to detect gene-by-environment interactions in the context of GWAS. The simulated individuals were assigned either to an ancestral or a modern setting that alters the phenotype by increasing the effect size by 1.05-2-fold at a varying fraction of perturbed SNPs (from 1 to 20%). We report two main results. First, for a wide range of realistic scenarios, highly significant GRSxE is detected despite the absence of individual genotype GxE evidence at the contributing loci. Second, an increase in phenotypic variance after environmental perturbation reduces the power to discover susceptibility variants by GWAS in mixed cohorts with individuals from both ancestral and modern environments. We conclude that a pervasive presence of gene-by-environment effects can remain hidden even though it contributes to the genetic architecture of complex traits.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Frontiers in Genetics

Publication Stats

11k Citations
1,331.71 Total Impact Points


  • 2015
    • Emory University
      • School of Medicine
      Atlanta, Georgia, United States
  • 2010-2015
    • Georgia Institute of Technology
      • School of Biology
      Atlanta, Georgia, United States
  • 2008-2010
    • University of Queensland
      • • School of Biological Sciences
      • • Queensland Brain Institute
      Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • 1999-2009
    • North Carolina State University
      • • Department of Genetics
      • • Bioinformatics Research Center
      Raleigh, North Carolina, United States
  • 2004
    • Cornell University
      • Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics
      Итак, New York, United States
    • University of California, Davis
      • Department of Evolution & Ecology
      Davis, California, United States
  • 1996-2000
    • University of Michigan
      • Department of Biology
      Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States