Weight loss in response to energy restriction is highly variable, and identification of genetic contributors can provide insights into underlying biology. Leveraging 1000 Genomes imputed genotypes, we carried out genome-wide association study (GWAS) analysis in 551 unrelated obese subjects of European ancestry who participated in an intensively supervised weight loss program with replication of promising signals in an independent sample of 1,331 obese subjects who completed the program at a later date. By single nucleotide polymorphism-based and sib-pair analysis, we show that that weight loss is a heritable trait, with estimated heritability (h 2 = 0.49) within the range reported for obesity. We find rs679482, intronic to SGCG (sarcoglycan γ), highly expressed in skeletal muscle, to concordantly associate with weight loss in discovery and replication samples reaching GWAS significance in the combined meta-analysis (β = -0.35, P = 1.7 × 10-12). Located in a region of open chromatin, rs679482 is predicted to bind DMRT2, and allele-specific transcription factor binding analysis indicates preferential binding of DMRT2 to rs679482-A. Concordantly, rs679482-A impairs native repressor activity and increases basal and DMRT2-mediated enhancer activity. These findings confirm that weight loss is a heritable trait and provide evidence by which a novel variant in SGCG, rs679482, leads to impaired diet response.
© 2020 by the American Diabetes Association.