A Genetic Study of Cerebral Atherosclerosis Reveals Novel Associations with NTNG1 and CNOT3

Genes (Basel). 2021 May 26;12(6):815. doi: 10.3390/genes12060815.


Cerebral atherosclerosis is a leading cause of stroke and an important contributor to dementia. Yet little is known about its genetic basis. To examine the association of common single nucleotide polymorphisms with cerebral atherosclerosis severity, we conducted a genomewide association study (GWAS) using data collected as part of two community-based cohort studies in the United States, the Religious Orders Study (ROS) and Rush Memory and Aging Project (MAP). Both studies enroll older individuals and exclude participants with signs of dementia at baseline. From our analysis of 1325 participants of European ancestry who had genotype and neuropathologically assessed cerebral atherosclerosis measures available, we found a novel locus for cerebral atherosclerosis in NTNG1. The locus comprises eight SNPs, including two independent significant SNPs: rs6664221 (β = -0.27, 95% CI = (-0.35, -0.19), p = 1.29 × 10-10) and rs10881463 (β = -0.20, 95% CI = (-0.27, -0.13), p = 3.40 × 10-8). We further found that the SNPs may influence cerebral atherosclerosis by regulating brain protein expression of CNOT3. CNOT3 is a subunit of CCR4-NOT, which has been shown to be a master regulator of mRNA stability and translation and an important complex for cholesterol homeostasis. In summary, we identify a novel genetic locus for cerebral atherosclerosis and a potential mechanism linking this variation to cerebral atherosclerosis progression. These findings offer insights into the genetic effects on cerebral atherosclerosis.

Keywords: cerebral atherosclerosis; genome-wide association; mediation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • GPI-Linked Proteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Arteriosclerosis / genetics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netrins / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • CNOT3 protein, human
  • GPI-Linked Proteins
  • NTNG1 protein, human
  • Netrins
  • Transcription Factors

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