References of "Williams, Robert W."
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See detailA platform for experimental precision medicine: The extended BXD mouse family.
Ashbrook, David G.; Arends, Danny; Prins, Pjotr et al

in Cell systems (2021), 12(3), 235-2479

The challenge of precision medicine is to model complex interactions among DNA variants, phenotypes, development, environments, and treatments. We address this challenge by expanding the BXD family of ... [more ▼]

The challenge of precision medicine is to model complex interactions among DNA variants, phenotypes, development, environments, and treatments. We address this challenge by expanding the BXD family of mice to 140 fully isogenic strains, creating a uniquely powerful model for precision medicine. This family segregates for 6 million common DNA variants-a level that exceeds many human populations. Because each member can be replicated, heritable traits can be mapped with high power and precision. Current BXD phenomes are unsurpassed in coverage and include much omics data and thousands of quantitative traits. BXDs can be extended by a single-generation cross to as many as 19,460 isogenic F1 progeny, and this extended BXD family is an effective platform for testing causal modeling and for predictive validation. BXDs are a unique core resource for the field of experimental precision medicine. [less ▲]

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See detailPituitary Tumor Transforming Gene 1 Orchestrates Gene Regulatory Variation in Mouse Ventral Midbrain During Aging
Gui, Yujuan UL; Thomas, Mélanie H.; Garcia, Pierre et al

in Frontiers in Genetics (2020)

Dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain are of particular interest due to their role in diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia. Genetic variation between individuals can affect the integrity ... [more ▼]

Dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain are of particular interest due to their role in diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia. Genetic variation between individuals can affect the integrity and function of dopaminergic neurons but the DNA variants and molecular cascades modulating dopaminergic neurons and other cells types of ventral midbrain remain poorly defined. Three genetically diverse inbred mouse strains – C57BL/6J, A/J, and DBA/2J – differ significantly in their genomes (∼7 million variants), motor and cognitive behavior, and susceptibility to neurotoxins. To further dissect the underlying molecular networks responsible for these variable phenotypes, we generated RNA-seq and ChIP-seq data from ventral midbrains of the 3 mouse strains. We defined 1000–1200 transcripts that are differentially expressed among them. These widespread differences may be due to altered activity or expression of upstream transcription factors. Interestingly, transcription factors were significantly underrepresented among the differentially expressed genes, and only one transcription factor, Pttg1, showed significant differences between all three strains. The changes in Pttg1 expression were accompanied by consistent alterations in histone H3 lysine 4 trimethylation at Pttg1 transcription start site. The ventral midbrain transcriptome of 3-month-old C57BL/6J congenic Pttg1–/– mutants was only modestly altered, but shifted toward that of A/J and DBA/2J in 9-month-old mice. Principle component analysis (PCA) identified the genes underlying the transcriptome shift and deconvolution of these bulk RNA-seq changes using midbrain single cell RNA-seq data suggested that the changes were occurring in several different cell types, including neurons, oligodendrocytes, and astrocytes. Taken together, our results show that Pttg1 contributes to gene regulatory variation between mouse strains and influences mouse midbrain transcriptome during aging. [less ▲]

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See detailBody weight and high-fat diet are associated with epigenetic aging in female members of the BXD murine family.
Sandoval-Sierra, Jose Vladimir; Helbing, Alexandra H. B.; Williams, Evan UL et al

in Aging cell (2020), 19(9), 13207

DNA methylation (DNAm) is shaped by genetic and environmental factors and modulated by aging. Here, we examine interrelations between epigenetic aging, body weight (BW), and life span in 12 isogenic ... [more ▼]

DNA methylation (DNAm) is shaped by genetic and environmental factors and modulated by aging. Here, we examine interrelations between epigenetic aging, body weight (BW), and life span in 12 isogenic strains from the BXD family of mice that exhibit over twofold variation in longevity. Genome-wide DNAm was assayed in 70 liver specimens from predominantly female cases, 6-25 months old, that were maintained on normal chow or high-fat diet (HFD). We defined subsets of CpG regions associated with age, BW at young adulthood, and strain-by-diet-dependent life span. These age-associated differentially methylated CpG regions (age-DMRs) featured distinct genomic characteristics, with DNAm gains over time occurring in sites such as promoters and exons that have high CpG density and low average methylation. CpG regions associated with BW were enriched in introns, tended to have lower methylation in mice with higher BW, and were inversely correlated with gene expression (i.e., higher mRNA levels in mice with higher BW). CpG regions associated with life span were linked to genes involved in life span modulation, including the telomerase reverse transcriptase gene, Tert, which had both lower methylation and higher expression in long-lived strains. An epigenetic clock defined from age-DMRs revealed accelerated aging in mice belonging to strains with shorter life spans. Both higher BW and the HFD were associated with accelerated epigenetic aging. Our results highlight the age-accelerating effect of heavier BW. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the measure of epigenetic aging derived from age-DMRs can predict genotype and diet-induced differences in life span among female BXD members. [less ▲]

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See detailDiet modulates cecum bacterial diversity and physiological phenotypes across the BXD mouse genetic reference population.
Perez-Munoz, Maria Elisa; McKnite, Autumn M.; Williams, Evan UL et al

in PloS one (2019), 14(10), 0224100

The BXD family has become one of the preeminent genetic reference populations to understand the genetic and environmental control of phenotypic variation. Here we evaluate the responses to different ... [more ▼]

The BXD family has become one of the preeminent genetic reference populations to understand the genetic and environmental control of phenotypic variation. Here we evaluate the responses to different levels of fat in the diet using both chow diet (CD, 13-18% fat) and a high-fat diet (HFD, 45-60% fat). We studied cohorts of BXD strains, both inbred parents C57BL/6J and DBA/2J (commonly known as B6 and D2, respectively), as well as B6D2 and D2B6 reciprocal F1 hybrids. The comparative impact of genetic and dietary factors was analyzed by profiling a range of phenotypes, most prominently their cecum bacterial composition. The parents of the BXDs and F1 hybrids express limited differences in terms of weight and body fat gain on CD. In contrast, the strain differences on HFD are substantial for percent body fat, with DBA/2J accumulating 12.5% more fat than C57BL/6J (P < 0.0001). The F1 hybrids born to DBA/2J dams (D2B6F1) have 10.6% more body fat (P < 0.001) than those born to C57BL/6J dams. Sequence analysis of the cecum microbiota reveals important differences in bacterial composition among BXD family members with a substantial shift in composition caused by HFD. Relative to CD, the HFD induces a decline in diversity at the phylum level with a substantial increase in Firmicutes (+13.8%) and a reduction in Actinobacteria (-7.9%). In the majority of BXD strains, the HFD also increases cecal sIgA (P < 0.0001)-an important component of the adaptive immunity response against microbial pathogens. Host genetics modulates variation in cecum bacterial composition at the genus level in CD, with significant quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for Oscillibacter mapped to Chr 3 (18.7-19.2 Mb, LRS = 21.4) and for Bifidobacterium mapped to Chr 6 (89.21-89.37 Mb, LRS = 19.4). Introduction of HFD served as an environmental suppressor of these QTLs due to a reduction in the contribution of both genera (P < 0.001). Relations among liver metabolites and cecum bacterial composition were predominant in CD cohort, but these correlations do not persist following the shift to HFD. Overall, these findings demonstrate the important impact of environmental/dietary manipulation on the relationships between host genetics, gastrointestinal bacterial composition, immunological parameters, and metabolites-knowledge that will help in the understanding of the causal sources of metabolic disorders. [less ▲]

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See detailGenetic cartography of longevity in humans and mice: Current landscape and horizons.
Hook, Michael; Roy, Suheeta; Williams, Evan UL et al

in Biochimica et biophysica acta. Molecular basis of disease (2018), 1864(9 Pt A), 2718-2732

Aging is a complex and highly variable process. Heritability of longevity among humans and other species is low, and this finding has given rise to the idea that it may be futile to search for DNA ... [more ▼]

Aging is a complex and highly variable process. Heritability of longevity among humans and other species is low, and this finding has given rise to the idea that it may be futile to search for DNA variants that modulate aging. We argue that the problem in mapping longevity genes is mainly one of low power and the genetic and environmental complexity of aging. In this review we highlight progress made in mapping genes and molecular networks associated with longevity, paying special attention to work in mice and humans. We summarize 40years of linkage studies using murine cohorts and 15years of studies in human populations that have exploited candidate gene and genome-wide association methods. A small but growing number of gene variants contribute to known longevity mechanisms, but a much larger set have unknown functions. We outline these and other challenges and suggest some possible solutions, including more intense collaboration between research communities that use model organisms and human cohorts. Once hundreds of gene variants have been linked to differences in longevity in mammals, it will become feasible to systematically explore gene-by-environmental interactions, dissect mechanisms with more assurance, and evaluate the roles of epistasis and epigenetics in aging. A deeper understanding of complex networks-genetic, cellular, physiological, and social-should position us well to improve healthspan. [less ▲]

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See detailResources for Systems Genetics.
Williams, Robert W.; Williams, Evan UL

in Methods in Molecular Biology (2017), 1488

A key characteristic of systems genetics is its reliance on populations that vary to a greater or lesser degree in genetic complexity-from highly admixed populations such as the Collaborative Cross and ... [more ▼]

A key characteristic of systems genetics is its reliance on populations that vary to a greater or lesser degree in genetic complexity-from highly admixed populations such as the Collaborative Cross and Diversity Outcross to relatively simple crosses such as sets of consomic strains and reduced complexity crosses. This protocol is intended to help investigators make more informed decisions about choices of resources given different types of questions. We consider factors such as costs, availability, and ease of breeding for common scenarios. In general, we recommend using complementary resources and minimizing depth of resampling of any given genome or strain. [less ▲]

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See detailJoint mouse-human phenome-wide association to test gene function and disease risk.
Wang, Xusheng; Pandey, Ashutosh K.; Mulligan, Megan K. et al

in Nature communications (2016), 7

Phenome-wide association is a novel reverse genetic strategy to analyze genome-to-phenome relations in human clinical cohorts. Here we test this approach using a large murine population segregating for ... [more ▼]

Phenome-wide association is a novel reverse genetic strategy to analyze genome-to-phenome relations in human clinical cohorts. Here we test this approach using a large murine population segregating for approximately 5 million sequence variants, and we compare our results to those extracted from a matched analysis of gene variants in a large human cohort. For the mouse cohort, we amassed a deep and broad open-access phenome consisting of approximately 4,500 metabolic, physiological, pharmacological and behavioural traits, and more than 90 independent expression quantitative trait locus (QTL), transcriptome, proteome, metagenome and metabolome data sets--by far the largest coherent phenome for any experimental cohort (www.genenetwork.org). We tested downstream effects of subsets of variants and discovered several novel associations, including a missense mutation in fumarate hydratase that controls variation in the mitochondrial unfolded protein response in both mouse and Caenorhabditis elegans, and missense mutations in Col6a5 that underlies variation in bone mineral density in both mouse and human. [less ▲]

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See detailMurine gut microbiota is defined by host genetics and modulates variation of metabolic traits.
McKnite, Autumn M.; Perez-Munoz, Maria Elisa; Lu, Lu et al

in PloS one (2012), 7(6), 39191

The gastrointestinal tract harbors a complex and diverse microbiota that has an important role in host metabolism. Microbial diversity is influenced by a combination of environmental and host genetic ... [more ▼]

The gastrointestinal tract harbors a complex and diverse microbiota that has an important role in host metabolism. Microbial diversity is influenced by a combination of environmental and host genetic factors and is associated with several polygenic diseases. In this study we combined next-generation sequencing, genetic mapping, and a set of physiological traits of the BXD mouse population to explore genetic factors that explain differences in gut microbiota and its impact on metabolic traits. Molecular profiling of the gut microbiota revealed important quantitative differences in microbial composition among BXD strains. These differences in gut microbial composition are influenced by host-genetics, which is complex and involves many loci. Linkage analysis defined Quantitative Trait Loci (QTLs) restricted to a particular taxon, branch or that influenced the variation of taxa across phyla. Gene expression within the gastrointestinal tract and sequence analysis of the parental genomes in the QTL regions uncovered candidate genes with potential to alter gut immunological profiles and impact the balance between gut microbial communities. A QTL region on Chr 4 that overlaps several interferon genes modulates the population of Bacteroides, and potentially Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes-the predominant BXD gut phyla. Irak4, a signaling molecule in the Toll-like receptor pathways is a candidate for the QTL on Chr15 that modulates Rikenellaceae, whereas Tgfb3, a cytokine modulating the barrier function of the intestine and tolerance to commensal bacteria, overlaps a QTL on Chr 12 that influence Prevotellaceae. Relationships between gut microflora, morphological and metabolic traits were uncovered, some potentially a result of common genetic sources of variation. [less ▲]

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See detailSystems genetics of metabolism: the use of the BXD murine reference panel for multiscalar integration of traits.
Andreux, Penelope A.; Williams, Evan UL; Koutnikova, Hana et al

in Cell (2012), 150(6), 1287-99

Metabolic homeostasis is achieved by complex molecular and cellular networks that differ significantly among individuals and are difficult to model with genetically engineered lines of mice optimized to ... [more ▼]

Metabolic homeostasis is achieved by complex molecular and cellular networks that differ significantly among individuals and are difficult to model with genetically engineered lines of mice optimized to study single gene function. Here, we systematically acquired metabolic phenotypes by using the EUMODIC EMPReSS protocols across a large panel of isogenic but diverse strains of mice (BXD type) to study the genetic control of metabolism. We generated and analyzed 140 classical phenotypes and deposited these in an open-access web service for systems genetics (www.genenetwork.org). Heritability, influence of sex, and genetic modifiers of traits were examined singly and jointly by using quantitative-trait locus (QTL) and expression QTL-mapping methods. Traits and networks were linked to loci encompassing both known variants and novel candidate genes, including alkaline phosphatase (ALPL), here linked to hypophosphatasia. The assembled and curated phenotypes provide key resources and exemplars that can be used to dissect complex metabolic traits and disorders. [less ▲]

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