Genetic factors contributing to extensive variability of sex-specific hepatic gene expression in Diversity Outbred mice

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Tisha Melia, David J Waxman


Sex-specific transcription characterizes hundreds of genes in mouse liver, many implicated in sex-differential drug and lipid metabolism and disease susceptibility. While the regulation of liver sex differences by growth hormone-activated STAT5 is well established, little is known about autosomal genetic factors regulating the sex-specific liver transcriptome. Here we show, using genotyping and expression data from a large population of Diversity Outbred mice, that genetic factors work in tandem with growth hormone to control the individual variability of hundreds of sex-biased genes, including many lncRNA genes. Significant associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms and sex-specific gene expression were identified as expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs), many of which showed strong sex-dependent associations. Remarkably, autosomal genetic modifiers of sex-specific genes were found to account for more than 200 instances of gain or loss of sex-specificity across eight Diversity Outbred mouse founder strains. Sex-biased STAT5 binding sites and open chromatin regions with strain-specific variants were significantly enriched at eQTL regions regulating correspondingly sex-specific genes, supporting the proposed funct...Continue Reading

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