Enhancer redundancy predicts gene pathogenicity and informs complex disease gene discovery

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Xinchen Wang, David B Goldstein


Non-coding transcriptional regulatory elements are critical for controlling the spatiotemporal expression of genes. Here, we demonstrate that the number of bases in enhancers linked to a gene reflects its disease pathogenicity. Moreover, genes with redundant enhancer domains are depleted of cis-acting genetic variants that disrupt gene expression, and are buffered against the effects of disruptive non-coding mutations. Our results demonstrate that dosage-sensitive genes have evolved robustness to the disruptive effects of genetic variation by expanding their regulatory domains. This resolves a puzzle in the genetic literature about why disease genes are depleted of cis-eQTLs, suggesting that eQTL information may implicate the wrong genes at genome-wide association study loci, and establishes a framework for identifying non-coding regulatory variation with phenotypic consequences.

Related Concepts

Gene Expression
Gene Mutant
BAT Loci
Transcriptional Regulation
Protein Expression
Genome-Wide Association Study

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