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Prioritizing Parkinson's Disease genes using population-scale transcriptomic data

By Yang I Li, Garrett Wong, Jack Humphrey, Towfique Raj

Posted 08 Dec 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/231001 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-08912-9)

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified over 41 susceptibility loci associated with late-onset Parkinson's Disease (PD) but identifying putative causal genes and the underlying mechanisms remains challenging. To address this, we leveraged large-scale transcriptomic datasets to prioritize genes that are likely to affect PD. We found 29 gene associations in peripheral monocytes, and 44 gene associations whose expression or differential splicing in prefrontal cortex is associated with PD. This includes many novel genes but also known associations such as MAPT, for which we found that variation in exon 3 splicing explains the common genetic association. Genes identified in our analyses are more likely to interact physically with known PD genes and belong to the same or related pathways including lysosomal and innate immune function. Overall, our study provides a strong foundation for further mechanistic studies that will elucidate the molecular drivers of PD.

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