Leveraging polygenic enrichments of gene features to predict genes underlying complex traits and diseases
Elle M. Weeks,
Jacob C Ulirsch,
Nathan Y Cheng,
Brian L Trippe,
Rebecca S. Fine,
Tejal A Patwardhan,
Charles P Fulco,
Katherine C Tashman,
Christopher S. Smillie,
Alex K. Shalek,
Ashwin N. Ananthakrishnan,
Ramnik J. Xavier,
Rajat M Gupta,
Kristin G. Ardlie,
Joel N. Hirschhorn,
Eric S Lander,
Jesse M. Engreitz,
Hilary K. Finucane
Posted 10 Sep 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.09.08.20190561
Posted 10 Sep 2020
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are a valuable tool for understanding the biology of complex traits, but the associations found rarely point directly to causal genes. Here, we introduce a new method to identify the causal genes by integrating GWAS summary statistics with gene expression, biological pathway, and predicted protein-protein interaction data. We further propose an approach that effectively leverages both polygenic and locus-specific genetic signals by combining results across multiple gene prioritization methods, increasing confidence in prioritized genes. Using a large set of gold standard genes to evaluate our approach, we prioritize 8,402 unique gene-trait pairs with greater than 75% estimated precision across 113 complex traits and diseases, including known genes such as SORT1 for LDL cholesterol, SMIM1 for red blood cell count, and DRD2 for schizophrenia, as well as novel genes such as TTC39B for cholelithiasis. Our results demonstrate that a polygenic approach is a powerful tool for gene prioritization and, in combination with locus-specific signal, improves upon existing methods.
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