Genome-wide association study identifies novel genetic variants contributing to variation in blood metabolite levels.
Draisma HHM., Pool R., Kobl M., Jansen R., Petersen AK., Vaarhorst AAM., Yet I., Haller T., Demirkan A., Esko T., Zhu G., Böhringer S., Beekman M., van Klinken JB., Römisch-Margl W., Prehn C., Adamski J., de Craen AJM., van Leeuwen EM., Amin N., Dharuri H., Westra HJ., Franke L., de Geus EJC., Hottenga JJ., Willemsen G., Henders AK., Montgomery GW., Nyholt DR., Whitfield JB., Penninx BW., Spector TD., Metspalu A., Slagboom PE., van Dijk KW., 't Hoen PAC., Strauch K., Martin NG., van Ommen GB., Illig T., Bell JT., Mangino M., Suhre K., McCarthy MI., Gieger C., Isaacs A., van Duijn CM., Boomsma DI.
Metabolites are small molecules involved in cellular metabolism, which can be detected in biological samples using metabolomic techniques. Here we present the results of genome-wide association and meta-analyses for variation in the blood serum levels of 129 metabolites as measured by the Biocrates metabolomic platform. In a discovery sample of 7,478 individuals of European descent, we find 4,068 genome- and metabolome-wide significant (Z-test, P < 1.09 × 10(-9)) associations between single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and metabolites, involving 59 independent SNPs and 85 metabolites. Five of the fifty-nine independent SNPs are new for serum metabolite levels, and were followed-up for replication in an independent sample (N = 1,182). The novel SNPs are located in or near genes encoding metabolite transporter proteins or enzymes (SLC22A16, ARG1, AGPS and ACSL1) that have demonstrated biomedical or pharmaceutical importance. The further characterization of genetic influences on metabolic phenotypes is important for progress in biological and medical research.