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A personalized, multiomics approach identifies genes involved in cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure.


A traditional approach to investigate the genetic basis of complex diseases is to identify genes with a global change in expression between diseased and healthy individuals. However, population heterogeneity may undermine the effort to uncover genes with significant but individual contribution to the spectrum of disease phenotypes within a population. Here we investigate individual changes of gene expression when inducing hypertrophy and heart failure in 100 + strains of genetically distinct mice from the Hybrid Mouse Diversity Panel (HMDP). We find that genes whose expression fold-change correlates in a statistically significant way with the severity of the disease are either up or down-regulated across strains, and therefore missed by a traditional population-wide analysis of differential gene expression. Furthermore, those "fold-change" genes are enriched in human cardiac disease genes and form a dense co-regulated module strongly interacting with the cardiac hypertrophic signaling network in the human interactome. We validate our approach by showing that the knockdown of Hes1, predicted as a strong candidate, induces a dramatic reduction of hypertrophy by 80-90% in neonatal rat ventricular myocytes. Our results demonstrate that individualized approaches are crucial to identify genes underlying complex diseases as well as to develop personalized therapies.

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