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The acid β-glucocerebrosidase (GCase) enzyme cleaves glucosylceramide into glucose and ceramide. Loss of function variants in the gene encoding for GCase can lead to Gaucher disease and Parkinson's disease. Therapeutic strategies aimed at increasing GCase activity by targeting a modulating factor are attractive and poorly explored. To identify genetic modifiers, we measured hepatic GCase activity in 27 inbred mouse strains. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) using GCase activity as a trait identified several candidate modifier genes, including Dmrtc2 and Arhgef1 (p=2.1x10-7), and Grik5 (p=2.1x10-7). Bayesian integration of the gene mapping with transcriptomics was used to build integrative networks. The analysis uncovered additional candidate GCase regulators, highlighting modules of the acute phase response (p=1.01x10-8), acute inflammatory response (p=1.01x10-8), fatty acid beta-oxidation (p=7.43x10-5), among others. Our study revealed previously unknown candidate modulators of GCase activity, which may facilitate the design of therapies for diseases with GCase dysfunction.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochem Biophys Rep

Publication Date





Gaucher disease, Inbred strains, Modifier genes, Parkinson's disease, Systems genetics, β-glucocerebrosidase