Integrating genetic regulation and single-cell expression with GWAS prioritizes causal genes and cell types for glaucoma

IGGC International Glaucoma Genetics Consortium

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), characterized by retinal ganglion cell death, is a leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. However, its molecular and cellular causes are not well understood. Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is a major risk factor, but many patients have normal IOP. Colocalization and Mendelian randomization analysis of >240 POAG and IOP genome-wide association study (GWAS) loci and overlapping expression and splicing quantitative trait loci (e/sQTLs) in 49 GTEx tissues and retina prioritizes causal genes for 60% of loci. These genes are enriched in pathways implicated in extracellular matrix organization, cell adhesion, and vascular development. Analysis of single-nucleus RNA-seq of glaucoma-relevant eye tissues reveals that the POAG and IOP colocalizing genes and genome-wide associations are enriched in specific cell types in the aqueous outflow pathways, retina, optic nerve head, peripapillary sclera, and choroid. This study nominates IOP-dependent and independent regulatory mechanisms, genes, and cell types that may contribute to POAG pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number396
Number of pages25
JournalNature Communications
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2024

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