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The intersection of genome-wide association analyses with physiological and functional data indicates that variants regulating islet gene transcription influence type 2 diabetes (T2D) predisposition and glucose homeostasis. However, the specific genes through which these regulatory variants act remain poorly characterized. We generated expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) data in 118 human islet samples using RNA-sequencing and high-density genotyping. We identified fourteen loci at which cis-exon-eQTL signals overlapped active islet chromatin signatures and were coincident with established T2D and/or glycemic trait associations. ‎At some, these data provide an experimental link between GWAS signals and biological candidates, such as DGKB and ADCY5. At others, the cis-signals implicate genes with no prior connection to islet biology, including WARS and ZMIZ1. At the ZMIZ1 locus, we show that perturbation of ZMIZ1 expression in human islets and beta-cells influences exocytosis and insulin secretion, highlighting a novel role for ZMIZ1 in the maintenance of glucose homeostasis. Together, these findings provide a significant advance in the mechanistic insights of T2D and glycemic trait association loci.

Original publication

DOI

10.1371/journal.pgen.1005694

Type

Journal article

Journal

PLoS Genet

Publication Date

12/2015

Volume

11

Keywords

Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Exons, Gene Expression Regulation, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Genome-Wide Association Study, Glucose, Humans, Insulin, Insulin-Secreting Cells, Quantitative Trait Loci, Signal Transduction, Transcription Factors