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Pairwise genetic interactions modulate lipid plasma levels and cellular uptake

By Magdalena ZimoĊ„, Yunfeng Huang, Anthi Trasta, Jimmy Z. Liu, Chia-Yen Chen, Aliaksandr Halavatyi, Peter Blattmann, Bernd Klaus, Christopher D Whelan, David Sexton, Sally John, Wolfgang Huber, Ellen Tsai, Rainer Pepperkok, Heiko Runz

Posted 30 Oct 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.29.360818

Genetic interactions (GIs), the joint impact of different genes or variants on a phenotype, are foundational to the genetic architecture of complex traits. However, identifying GIs through human genetics is challenging since it necessitates very large population sizes, while findings from model systems not always translate to humans. Here, we combined exome-sequencing and genotyping in the UK Biobank with combinatorial RNA-interference (coRNAi) screening to systematically test for pairwise GIs between 30 lipid GWAS genes. Gene-based protein-truncating variant (PTV) burden analyses from 240,970 exomes revealed additive GIs for APOB with PCSK9 and LPL , respectively. Both, genetics and coRNAi identified additive GIs for 12 additional gene pairs. Overlapping non-additive GIs were detected only for TOMM40 at the APOE locus with SORT1 and NCAN . Our study identifies distinct gene pairs that modulate both, plasma and cellular lipid levels via additive and non-additive effects and nominates drug target pairs for improved lipid-lowering combination therapies. ### Competing Interest Statement Y.H., C.-Y.C., J.L., C.W., D.S., S.J., and H.R. are full-time employees at Biogen, Inc. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

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