Analysis of the MTHFD1 promoter and risk of neural tube defects
Carroll, Nicola and Pangilinan, Faith and Molloy, Anne M. and Troendle, James and Mills, James L. and Kirke, Peadar N. and Brody, Lawrence C. and Scott, John M. and Parle-McDermott, Anne (2009) Analysis of the MTHFD1 promoter and risk of neural tube defects. Human Genetics, 125 (3). pp. 247-256. ISSN 1913-0090
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Genetic variants in MTHFD1 (5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase/5,10-methenyltetrahydrofolate cyclohydrolase/ 10-formyltetrahydrofolate synthetase), an important folate metabolic enzyme, are associated with a number of common diseases, including neural tube defects (NTDs). This study investigates the promoter of the human MTHFD1 gene in a bid to understand how this gene is controlled and regulated. Following a combination of in silico and molecular approaches, we report that MTHFD1 expression is controlled by a TATA-less, Initiator-less promoter and transcription is initiated at multiple start sites over a 126 bp region. We confirmed the presence of three database polymorphisms (dbSNP) by direct sequencing of the upstream region (rs1076991 C > T, rs8010584 G > A, rs4243628 G > T), with a fourth (dbSNP rs746488 A > T) not found to be polymorphic in our population and no novel polymorphisms identified. We demonstrate that a common SNP rs1076991 C > T within the window of transcriptional initiation exerts a significant effect on promoter activity in vitro. We investigated this SNP as a potential risk factor for NTDs in a large homogenous Irish population and determined that it is not an independent risk factor, but, it does increase both case (χ 2 = 11.06, P = 0.001) and maternal (χ 2 = 6.68, P = 0.01) risk when allele frequencies were analysed in combination with the previously identified disease-associated p.R653Q (c.1958 G > A; dbSNP rs2236225) polymorphism. These results provide the first insight into how MTHFD1 is regulated and further emphasise its importance during embryonic development.
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