A multi-tissue transcriptome analysis of human metabolites guides the interpretability of associations based on multi-SNP models for gene expression
There is particular interest in transcriptome-wide association studies (TWAS) - gene-level tests based on multi-SNP predictive models of gene expression - for identifying causal genes at loci associated with complex traits. However, interpretation of TWAS associations may be complicated by divergent effects of model SNPs on trait phenotype and gene expression. We developed an iterative modelling scheme for obtaining multi-SNP models of gene expression and applied this framework to generate expression models for 43 human tissues from the Genotype-Tissues Expression (GTEx) Project. We characterized the performance of single- and multi-SNP TWAS models for identifying causal genes in GWAS data for 46 circulating metabolites. We show that: (a) multi-SNP models captured more variation in expression than the top cis-eQTL (median 2 fold improvement); (b) predicted expression based on multi-SNP models was associated (FDR<0.01) with metabolite levels for 826 unique gene-metabolite pairs, but, after step-wise conditional analyses, 90% were dominated by a single eQTL SNP; (c) amongst the 35% of associations where a SNP in the expression model was a significant cis-eQTL and metabolomic-QTL (met-QTL), 92% demonstrated colocalization between these signals, but interpretation was often complicated by incomplete overlap of QTLs in multi-SNP models; (d) using a "truth" set of causal genes at 61 met-QTLs, the sensitivity was high (67%), but the positive predictive value was low, as only 8% of TWAS associations at met-QTLs involved true causal genes. These results guide the interpretation of TWAS and highlight the need for corroborative data to provide confident assignment of causality.
- Downloaded 757 times
- Download rankings, all-time:
- Site-wide: 44,328
- In genomics: 3,457
- Year to date:
- Site-wide: 52,626
- Since beginning of last month:
- Site-wide: 85,977
Downloads over time
Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide
- 27 Nov 2020: The website and API now include results pulled from medRxiv as well as bioRxiv.
- 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
- 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
- 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
- 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
- 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
- 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
- 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
- 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!