Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.658502
Title: Functional genomics analyses of neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders
Author: Steinberg, Julia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 2444
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Abstract:
Recent large-scale genome-wide studies for many human disorders have identified associations with numerous genetic variants. The biological interpretation of these variants presents a major challenge. In particular, the identification of biological pathways underlying the association could provide crucial insights into the disease aetiologies. In this thesis, I used functional genomics approaches to increase our understanding of neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. Firstly, in an integrative analysis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), I looked into the role of genes targeted by Fragile-X Mental Retardation Protein ("FMRP targets"). I found evidence that FMRP targets contribute to ASD via two distinct aetiologies: (1) ultra-rare and highly penetrant single disruptions of embryonically upregulated FMRP targets ("single-hit aetiology") or (2) the combination of multiple less penetrant disruptions of synaptic FMRP targets ("multiple-hit aetiology"). In particular, I developed a pathway-association test sensitive to multiple-hit aetiologies. Secondly, I carried out an integrative analysis of bipolar disorder, following up a previously identified association with long-term potentiation. The association was not consistent across independent SNP and CNV datasets. Thirdly, I addressed the difficulty in identifying functional relationships between genes by integrating different datasets into a gene functional-linkage network tuned to the nervous system ("NsNet"). NsNet identified functional links between the genes disrupted by de novo loss-of-function mutations in ASD and, separately, in schizophrenia probands more sensitively than a general functional-linkage network. Fourthly, I considered the challenge of interpreting the phenotypic impact of gene disruptions, focusing on the identification of haploinsufficient genes. I constructed a gene haploinsufficiency score based on genome-wide datasets. Compared to existing approaches, the new score performed better in identifying less-studied haploinsufficient genes. This work both extends the methodology to detect the contribution of genetic variation to neuropsychiatric disorders and also yields insights into the variant genes and the pathways that underlie them. Firstly, in an integrative analysis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), I looked into the role of genes targeted by Fragile-X Mental Retardation Protein ("FMRP targets"). I found evidence that FMRP targets contribute to ASD via two distinct aetiologies: (1) ultra-rare and highly penetrant single disruptions of embryonically upregulated FMRP targets ("single-hit aetiology") or (2) the combination of multiple less penetrant disruptions of synaptic FMRP targets ("multiple-hit aetiology"). In particular, I developed a pathway-association test sensitive to multiple-hit aetiologies. Secondly, I carried out an integrative analysis of bipolar disorder, following up a previously identified association with long-term potentiation. The association was not consistent across independent SNP and CNV datasets. Thirdly, I addressed the difficulty in identifying functional relationships between genes by integrating different datasets into a gene functional-linkage network tuned to the nervous system ("NsNet"). NsNet identified functional links between the genes disrupted by de novo loss-of-function mutations in ASD and, separately, in schizophrenia probands more sensitively than a general functional-linkage network. Fourthly, I considered the challenge of interpreting the phenotypic impact of gene disruptions, focusing on the identification of haploinsufficient genes. I constructed a gene haploinsufficiency score based on genome-wide datasets. Compared to existing approaches, the new score performed better in identifying less-studied haploinsufficient genes. This work both extends the methodology to detect the contribution of genetic variation to neuropsychiatric disorders and also yields insights into the variant genes and the pathways that underlie them.
Supervisor: Flint, Jonathan; Webber, Caleb Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.658502  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Bioinformatics (life sciences) ; Biology ; Genetics (life sciences) ; Genetics (medical sciences) ; Neurogenetics ; Psychiatry ; Autism ; Bipolar disorder ; Psychotic illness ; genomics ; schizophrenia ; intellectual disability ; gene network ; functional-linkage network ; gene pathway analysis ; multiple-hit model
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