Apr 8, 2020

Protein QTL analysis of IGF-I and its binding proteins provides insights into growth biology

Seyhan YazarAndrew Dauber


The growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system is integral to human growth. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified variants associated with height and located near the genes in this pathway. However, mechanisms underlying these genetic associations are not understood. To investigate the regulation of the genes in this pathway and mechanisms by which regulation could affect growth, we performed GWAS of measured serum protein levels of IGF-I, IGFBP-3, PAPP-A2, IGF-II, and IGFBP-5 in 839 children (3-18 years) from the Cincinnati Genomic Control Cohort. We identified variants associated with protein levels near IGFBP3 and IGFBP5 genes, which contain multiple signals of association with height and other skeletal growth phenotypes. Surprisingly, variants that associate with protein levels at these two loci do not colocalize with height associations, confirmed through conditional analysis. Rather, the IGFBP3 signal (associated with total IGFBP-3 and IGF-II levels) colocalizes with an association with sitting height ratio (SHR); the IGFBP5 signal (associated with IGFBP-5 levels) colocalizes with birth weight. Indeed, height-associated SNPs near genes encoding other proteins in this pathway are not associ...Continue Reading

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