Research Article

Exome sequencing in Thai patients with familial obesity

Published: July 14, 2016
Genet. Mol. Res. 15(2): gmr8311 DOI: 10.4238/gmr.15028311

Abstract

Obesity is a major worldwide health issue, with increasing prevalence in adults and children from developed and developing countries. Obesity causes several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, osteoarthritis, hypertension, stroke, type II diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, and several types of cancer. Previous genome-wide association studies have identified several genes associated with obesity, including LEP, LEPR, POMC, PCSK1, FTO, MC3R, MC4R, GNPDA2, TMEM18, QPCTL/GIPR, BDNF, ETV5, MAP2K5/SKOR1, SEC16B, SIM1, and TNKS/MSRA. However, most of these variants are found in the intronic or intergenic regions, making it difficult to elucidate the underlying mechanisms. Therefore, in this study, we performed a whole exome sequencing of the protein-coding regions in the total genome (exome) of two obese and one normal subject belonging to the same Thai family to identify the genes responsible for obesity. We identified 709 functional variants that were differentially expressed between obese and normal subjects; of these, 65 were predicted to be deleterious to protein structure or function. The minor allele frequency of 14 of these genes (ALOX5AP, COL9A2, DEFB126, GDPD4, HCRTR1, MLL3, OPLAH, OR4C45, PRIM2, RXFP2, TIGD6, TRPM8, USP49, and ZNF596) was low, indicating causal variants that could be associated with complex traits or diseases. Genotyping revealed HCRTR1, COL9A2, and TRPM8 to be associated with the regulation of feeding behavior and energy expenditure. These genes constituted a network of pathways, including lipid metabolism, signaling transduction, immune, membrane transport, and gene regulation pathways, and seemed to play important roles in obesity.

Obesity is a major worldwide health issue, with increasing prevalence in adults and children from developed and developing countries. Obesity causes several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, osteoarthritis, hypertension, stroke, type II diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, and several types of cancer. Previous genome-wide association studies have identified several genes associated with obesity, including LEP, LEPR, POMC, PCSK1, FTO, MC3R, MC4R, GNPDA2, TMEM18, QPCTL/GIPR, BDNF, ETV5, MAP2K5/SKOR1, SEC16B, SIM1, and TNKS/MSRA. However, most of these variants are found in the intronic or intergenic regions, making it difficult to elucidate the underlying mechanisms. Therefore, in this study, we performed a whole exome sequencing of the protein-coding regions in the total genome (exome) of two obese and one normal subject belonging to the same Thai family to identify the genes responsible for obesity. We identified 709 functional variants that were differentially expressed between obese and normal subjects; of these, 65 were predicted to be deleterious to protein structure or function. The minor allele frequency of 14 of these genes (ALOX5AP, COL9A2, DEFB126, GDPD4, HCRTR1, MLL3, OPLAH, OR4C45, PRIM2, RXFP2, TIGD6, TRPM8, USP49, and ZNF596) was low, indicating causal variants that could be associated with complex traits or diseases. Genotyping revealed HCRTR1, COL9A2, and TRPM8 to be associated with the regulation of feeding behavior and energy expenditure. These genes constituted a network of pathways, including lipid metabolism, signaling transduction, immune, membrane transport, and gene regulation pathways, and seemed to play important roles in obesity.