Genome-wide association study to identify genes related to renal mercury concentrations in mice

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Background: Following human mercury (Hg) exposure, the metal accumulates in considerable concentrations in kidney, liver, and brain. Although the toxicokinetics of Hg have been studied extensively, factors responsible for interindividual variation in humans are largely unknown. Differences in accumulation of renal Hg between inbred mouse strains suggest a genetic interstrain variation regulating retention or/and excretion of Hg. A.SW, DBA/2 and BALB/C mouse strains accumulate higher amounts of Hg than B10.S. Objectives: We aimed to find candidate genes associated with regulation of renal Hg concentrations. Methods: A.SW, B10.S and their F1 and F2 offspring were exposed for 6 weeks to 2.0 mg Hg/L drinking water. Genotyping with microsatellites was conducted on 84 F2 mice for genome-wide scanning with ion pair reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (IP RP HPLC). Quantitative trait loci (QTL) were established. Denaturing HPLC was used to detect single nucleotide polymorphisms for haplotyping and fine mapping in 184 and 32 F2 mice, respectively. Candidate genes (Pprc1, Btrc and Nfkb2) verified by fine mapping and QTL were further inves-tigated by real-time polymerase chain reaction. Genes enhanced by Pprc1 (Nrf1 and Nrf2) were included for gene expression analysis. results: Renal Hg concentrations differed significantly between A.SW and B10.S mice and between males and females within each strain. QTL analysis showed a peak logarithm of odds ratio score 5.78 on chromosome 19 (p = 0.002). Haplotype and fine mapping associated the Hg accumulation with Pprc1, which encodes PGC-1-related coactivator (PRC), a coactivator for proteins involved in detoxification. Pprc1 and two genes coactivated by Pprc1 (Nrf1 and Nrf2) had significantly lower gene expression in the A.SW strain than in the B10.S strain. conclusions: This study supports Pprc1 as a key regulator for renal Hg excretion.




Alkaissi, H., Ekstrand, J., Jawad, A., Nielsen, J. B., Havarinasab, S., Soderkvist, P., & Hultman, P. (2016). Genome-wide association study to identify genes related to renal mercury concentrations in mice. Environmental Health Perspectives, 124(7), 920–926.

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