Common sequence variants affect molecular function more than rare variants?

TitleCommon sequence variants affect molecular function more than rare variants?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsMahlich, Y, Reeb, J, Hecht, M, Schelling, M, De Beer, TAndries Pe, Bromberg, Y, Rost, B
JournalSci Rep
Date Published2017 May 09

Any two unrelated individuals differ by about 10,000 single amino acid variants (SAVs). Do these impact molecular function? Experimental answers cannot answer comprehensively, while state-of-the-art prediction methods can. We predicted the functional impacts of SAVs within human and for variants between human and other species. Several surprising results stood out. Firstly, four methods (CADD, PolyPhen-2, SIFT, and SNAP2) agreed within 10 percentage points on the percentage of rare SAVs predicted with effect. However, they differed substantially for the common SAVs: SNAP2 predicted, on average, more effect for common than for rare SAVs. Given the large ExAC data sets sampling 60,706 individuals, the differences were extremely significant (p-value < 2.2e-16). We provided evidence that SNAP2 might be closer to reality for common SAVs than the other methods, due to its different focus in development. Secondly, we predicted significantly higher fractions of SAVs with effect between healthy individuals than between species; the difference increased for more distantly related species. The same trends were maintained for subsets of only housekeeping proteins and when moving from exomes of 1,000 to 60,000 individuals. SAVs frozen at speciation might maintain protein function, while many variants within a species might bring about crucial changes, for better or worse.

Alternate JournalSci Rep
PubMed ID28487536
PubMed Central IDPMC5431670
Grant ListU01 GM115486 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States