Loss-of-function genomic variants highlight potential therapeutic targets for cardiovascular disease

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Jonas B. Nielsen
  • Oren Rom
  • Ida Surakka
  • Sarah E. Graham
  • Wei Zhou
  • Tanmoy Roychowdhury
  • Lars G. Fritsche
  • Sarah A. Gagliano Taliun
  • Carlo Sidore
  • Yuhao Liu
  • Maiken E. Gabrielsen
  • Anne Heidi Skogholt
  • Brooke Wolford
  • William Overton
  • Ying Zhao
  • Jin Chen
  • He Zhang
  • Whitney E. Hornsby
  • Akua Acheampong
  • Austen Grooms
  • Amanda Schaefer
  • Gregory J. M. Zajac
  • Luis Villacorta
  • Jifeng Zhang
  • Ben Brumpton
  • Mari Loset
  • Vivek Rai
  • Kent D. Taylor
  • Nicholette D. Palmer
  • Yii-Der Chen
  • Seung H. Choi
  • Steven A. Lubitz
  • Patrick T. Ellinor
  • Kathleen C. Barnes
  • Michelle Daya
  • Nicholas Rafaels
  • Scott T. Weiss
  • Jessica Lasky-Su
  • Russell P. Tracy
  • Ramachandran S. Vasan
  • L. Adrienne Cupples
  • Rasika A. Mathias
  • Lisa R. Yanek
  • Lewis C. Becker
  • Patricia A. Peyser
  • Lawrence F. Bielak
  • Jennifer A. Smith
  • Stella Aslibekyan

Pharmaceutical drugs targeting dyslipidemia and cardiovascular disease (CVD) may increase the risk of fatty liver disease and other metabolic disorders. To identify potential novel CVD drug targets without these adverse effects, we perform genome-wide analyses of participants in the HUNT Study in Norway (n=69,479) to search for protein-altering variants with beneficial impact on quantitative blood traits related to cardiovascular disease, but without detrimental impact on liver function. We identify 76 (11 previously unreported) presumed causal protein-altering variants associated with one or more CVD- or liver-related blood traits. Nine of the variants are predicted to result in loss-of-function of the protein. This includes ZNF529:p.K405X, which is associated with decreased low-density-lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (P=1.3x10(-8)) without being associated with liver enzymes or non-fasting blood glucose. Silencing of ZNF529 in human hepatoma cells results in upregulation of LDL receptor and increased LDL uptake in the cells. This suggests that inhibition of ZNF529 or its gene product should be prioritized as a novel candidate drug target for treating dyslipidemia and associated CVD. Drugs targeting cardiovascular disease (CVD) can have negative consequences for liver function. Here, the authors combine genome wide analyses on 69,479 individuals to identify loss-of-function variants with beneficial effects on CVD-related traits without negative impacts on liver function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6417
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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