Characterisation of the SULT1A1 polymorphism in a South African Tswana population group
Mbongwa, Hlengiwe Prosperity
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This dissertation brings to the fore the “Characterization of the SULT1A1 polymorphism in a South Africa Tswana population group.” The primary experimental group studied came from South African homogeneous Tswana individuals who participated voluntarily in an ongoing large-scale epidemiological Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus) participates in, as one of the 16 low- middleand high-income countries across the world. The primary aspect investigated was the comprehensive profile of the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and copy number variation (CNP) of the SULT1A1 gene. Using the PCRbased RFLP method, SULT1A1 genotypes, and allele frequency distributions in an experimental group of 1 867 individuals were determined. According to the literature this is by far the largest and most homogeneous group from which such information has been acquired to date. The SULT1A1*1, SULT1A1*1/*2 and SULT1A1*2 genotypes were found to be present at a percentage of 43.76, 47.12 and 9.11 respectively. In comparison to similar studies in other population groups, results from this study indicate that there are ethnic differences in the SULT1A1 genotypes incidence. Asian group differs from Caucasian and Tswana groups because of its exceptionally high prevalence of individuals with the SULT1A1*1 genotype and a very low incidence of the SULT1A1*2 genotype. The SULT1A1*1 genotype profiles of Caucasian and Tswana groups were comparable, but notable differences were observed for the SULT1A1*2 genotype. Using a quantitative multiplex PCR method for the CNV study, the numbers of copies of the SULT1A1 gene in the Tswana population were determined, and the results showed 1 to ~5 copies: only 0.65% of the subjects had a single copy, whereas 59.69% of the subjects had 3 or more copies. This result shows a significant discrepancy between the Caucasian-American samples, which showed that only 26% from that group had more than three copies. However, there is a significant relationship with the African-American population, which presented 63% with 3 or more copies. This finding confirms results from a much smaller African-American study, and suggests a possible genetic link between the African Tswana and the heritage of the African-Americans. These findings were submitted for publication to the South African Journal of Science, as that journal specializes in publication of new knowledge that has a regional focus on Africa. Simultaneous phenotypic consequences of the SNP and CNP of the SULT1A1 gene, as well as the thermo-stable and thermo-labile forms of the sulfotransferases were determined. For this, the formation of [35S]-4-nitrophenyl sulphate from 4-nitrophenol and [35S]-3’-phosphoadenosine- 5’-phosphosulfate ([35S]-PAPS) in platelet homogenates were measured, with the data normalized to a common platelet count. This investigation required fresh blood for enzyme activity. These samples came from 98 Caucasian subjects who voluntarily participated in this part of the study. The experimental data presented a unique challenge to develop a statistical model to accommodate the complexity of the distribution of the data in the phenotype and genotype components, which could be achieved by the development of a mixed model. The model indicated that product formation increased through increasing copy number, but did not differ for SULT1A1*1 and SULT1A1*1/*2. However, the rate of increase in product for the thermo-stable forms of the SULTs was greater than that of thermo-labile forms. In contrast, copy number effect for SULT1A1*2 differed considerably from that of the other two genotypes. Since genotype is also a significant factor, it was concluded from Tukey post-hoc tests that the population group means for product formation differ significantly (for all levels). These results are presently being prepared for publication in an accredited international journal. Finally, perturbations in 23 biochemical parameters measured in the PURE study were analyzed as a function of the SULT1A1 SNP and CNP were evaluated. No group separation in this regard could be found. It could be shown however, that sulfonation of the iodothyronines, which are endogenous substrates for the SULTs, was influenced by the SULT1A1 genotype. The relative concentrations in plasma of the sulphonated iodothyronines may be expressed as T2S > T3S >> T4S, which coincides with the substrate preference of the SULT1A1 enzymes. This observation may, however, only be qualitatively interpreted as (1) the targeted metabolomics mass spectrometric method used for the quantitative analysis of these substances needs further development, and (2) the influence of deiodonation was not taken into account in these studies. In conclusion, three perspectives are given at the end of the thesis which might be considered for further investigations.