Validation of candidate causal genes for obesity that affect shared metabolic pathways and networks

Nat Genet. 2009 Apr;41(4):415-23. doi: 10.1038/ng.325. Epub 2009 Mar 8.


A principal task in dissecting the genetics of complex traits is to identify causal genes for disease phenotypes. We previously developed a method to infer causal relationships among genes through the integration of DNA variation, gene transcription and phenotypic information. Here we have validated our method through the characterization of transgenic and knockout mouse models of genes predicted to be causal for abdominal obesity. Perturbation of eight out of the nine genes, with Gas7, Me1 and Gpx3 being newly confirmed, resulted in significant changes in obesity-related traits. Liver expression signatures revealed alterations in common metabolic pathways and networks contributing to abdominal obesity and overlapped with a macrophage-enriched metabolic network module that is highly associated with metabolic traits in mice and humans. Integration of gene expression in the design and analysis of traditional F(2) intercross studies allows high-confidence prediction of causal genes and identification of pathways and networks involved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / anatomy & histology
  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genetic Variation
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / genetics*
  • Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Liver / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins


  • Carrier Proteins
  • GAS7 protein, human
  • Glycoproteins
  • NPC2 protein, human
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins
  • GPX3 protein, human
  • Glutathione Peroxidase

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE12000