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BACKGROUND: Several genome-wide association studies have recently linked a group of single nucleotide polymorphisms in the 9p21 region with cardiovascular disease. The molecular mechanisms of this link are not fully understood. We investigated five different expression microarray datasets in order to determine if the genotype had effect on expression of any gene transcript in aorta, mammary artery, carotid plaque and lymphoblastoid cells. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: After multiple testing correction, no genes were found to have relation to the rs2891168 risk genotype, either on a genome-wide scale or on a regional (8 MB) scale. The neighbouring ANRIL gene was found to have eight novel transcript variants not previously known from literature and these varied by tissue type. We therefore performed a detailed probe-level analysis and found small stretches of significant relation to genotype but no consistent associations. In all investigated tissues we found an inverse correlation between ANRIL and the MTAP gene and a positive correlation between ANRIL and CDKN2A and CDKN2B. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Investigation of relation of the risk genotype to gene expression is complicated by the transcript complexity of the locus. With our investigation of a range of relevant tissue we wish to underscore the need for careful attention to the complexity of the alternative splicing issues in the region and its implications to the design of future gene expression studies.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Alternative Splicing, Aorta, Chromosomes, Human, Pair 9, Coronary Artery Disease, Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p15, Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Genetic Variation, Genotype, Humans, Lymphocytes, Microtubule-Associated Proteins, Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis, Risk