Segregation and linkage analysis of serum angiotensin I-converting enzyme levels: evidence for two quantitative-trait loci.
McKenzie CA., Julier C., Forrester T., McFarlane-Anderson N., Keavney B., Lathrop GM., Ratcliffe PJ., Farrall M.
Human serum angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) levels vary substantially between individuals and are highly heritable. Segregation analysis in European families has shown that more than half of the total variability in ACE levels is influenced by quantitative-trait loci (QTL). One of these QTLs is located within or close to the ACE locus itself. Combined segregation/linkage analysis in a series of African Caribbean families from Jamaica shows that the ACE insertion-deletion polymorphism is in moderate linkage disequilibrium with an ACE-linked QTL. Linkage analysis with a highly informative polymorphism at the neighboring growth-hormone gene (GH) shows surprisingly little support for linkage (LOD score [Z] = 0.12). An extended analysis with a two-QTL model, where an ACE-linked QTL interacts additively with an unlinked QTL, significantly improves both the fit of the model (P = .002) and the support for linkage between the ACe-linked QTL interacts additively with an unlinked QTL, significantly improves both the fit of the model (P = .002) and the support for linkage between the ACe-linked QTL and GH polymorphism (Z = 5.0). We conclude that two QTLs jointly influence serum ACE levels in this population. One QTL is located within or close to the ACE locus and explains 27% of the total variability; the second QTL is unlinked to the ACE locus and explains 52% of the variability. The identification of the molecular mechanisms underlying both QTLs is necessary in order to interpret the role of ACE in cardiovascular disease.