Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Zeroing in on heart disease: Innovative strategy pinpoints genes underlying cardiovascular disease risk

Date:
February 28, 2013
Source:
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
Summary:
Studies screening the genome of hundreds of thousands of individuals (known as Genome-wide association studies or GWAS) have linked more than 100 regions in the genome to the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Researchers are taking these results one step further by pinpointing the exact genes that could have a role in the onset of the disease.

Cells stained for observation by fluorescence microscopy to discover cholesterol-regulatory genes (top left: cholesterol (orange) uptake by cells; top right: free cholesterol (blue) in cells; bottom left: localisation of a protein (green) involved in cholesterol regulation; bottom right: automated image-analysis showing the cell outer membrane (grey) and the cholesterol (white)).
Credit: EMBL/Peter Blattmann and University of Heidelberg/Christian Schuberth

Studies screening the genome of hundreds of thousands of individuals (known as Genome-wide association studies or GWAS) have linked more than 100 regions in the genome to the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the University of Heidelberg, through the joint Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit (MMPU), are taking these results one step further by pinpointing the exact genes that could have a role in the onset of the disease.

Their findings are published today in the online journal PLoS Genetics.

The scientists used a technology called "RNA interference" that can selectively decrease the level of expression of targeted genes. By observing what changes, if any, this decrease causes in cells, researchers can identify the function of the genes and, on a larger scale, objectively test the function of many genes in parallel.

Cholesterol levels in the blood are one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease. They are controlled by the amount of cholesterol that cells can take in -- thus removing it from the blood -- and metabolise. The researchers used RNA interference to test the function of each of the genes within 56 regions previously identified by GWAS as being linked with cardiovascular disease. They selectively decreased their action and measured what, if any, changes this induced in cholesterol metabolism. From this they could deduce which of the genes are most likely to be involved in the onset of the disease.

"This is the first wide-scale RNA interference study that follows up on GWAS. It has proven its potential by narrowing down a large list of candidate genes to the few with an important function that we can now focus on in future in-depth studies," explains Rainer Pepperkok at EMBL, who co-led the study with Heiko Runz at the University of Heidelberg.

"In principle, our approach can be applied to any disease that has an observable effect on cells," adds Heiko Runz. "The genes identified here may further our understanding of the mechanisms leading to cardiovascular disease and allow us to improve its prediction and diagnosis."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Blattmann P, Schuberth C, Pepperkok R, Runz H. RNAi–Based Functional Profiling of Loci from Blood Lipid Genome-Wide Association Studies Identifies Genes with Cholesterol-Regulatory Function. PLoS Genetics, 2013; 9 (2): e1003338 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003338

Cite This Page:

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). "Zeroing in on heart disease: Innovative strategy pinpoints genes underlying cardiovascular disease risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130228171405.htm>.
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). (2013, February 28). Zeroing in on heart disease: Innovative strategy pinpoints genes underlying cardiovascular disease risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130228171405.htm
European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). "Zeroing in on heart disease: Innovative strategy pinpoints genes underlying cardiovascular disease risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130228171405.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins