SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.39 issue3Fast detection of deletion breakpoints using quantitative PCRInterferon lambda 4 (IFNL4) gene polymorphism is associated with spontaneous clearance of HCV in HIV-1 positive patients author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand




Related links


Genetics and Molecular Biology

Print version ISSN 1415-4757On-line version ISSN 1678-4685

Genet. Mol. Biol. vol.39 no.3 Ribeirão Preto July/Sept. 2016  Epub June 16, 2016 

Human and Medical Genetics

Lack of functional KL-VS polymorphism of the KLOTHO gene in the Korean population

Hee-Kwon Kim1  2 

Byung-Hoon Jeong1  3 

1Korea Zoonosis Research Institute, Chonbuk National University, Iksan, Jeonbuk, Republic of Korea

2Department of Nuclear Medicine, Molecular Imaging & Therapeutic Medicine Research Center, Biomedical Research Institute, Chonbuk National University Medical School and Hospital, Jeonju, Republic of Korea

3Department of Bioactive Material Sciences, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju, Jeonbuk Republic of Korea


The functional variant of the Klotho "KL-VS" stretch, which includes six polymorphisms in linkage disequilibrium, is reportedly associated with healthy aging and longevity in European and American populations. Among Asian populations, this variant has been observed in the Indian population but not in the Iranian population. An association between KL-VS polymorphism and aging has not been reported in Koreans. To investigate whether the KL-VS polymorphism could be associated with healthy aging and longevity in a Korean population, we analyzed genotype and allele frequencies of the KL-VS variant in a large Korean population sample. The KL-VS variant was not found in 874 Korean individuals. Thus, it is not possible to test its association to aging in the East Asian populations.

Keywords Aging; KLOTHO gene; KL-VS polymorphism; population genetics

Klotho is a member of the glycosidase family 1 and a single-pass type-I transmembrane protein. It contains a signal sequence at the N-terminus and an extracellular domain, which is composed of two internal repeats, KL1 and KL2. These repeats exhibit 20-40% sequence homology to β-glycosidases (Kuro-o et al., 1997). The protein translated from the Klotho gene exists in both secreted and membrane-bound forms (Matsumura et al., 1998). The Klotho gene is expressed primarily in the prostate, placenta, and kidney (Shiraki-Iida et al., 1998) and may play an important role in the regulation of calcium homeostasis (Nabeshima 2002), suppression of insulin and Wnt signaling (Liu et al., 2007), amelioration of vascular endothelial dysfunction, increase of nitric oxide production, and reduction of elevated blood pressure (Saito et al., 2000).

Klotho is an age-regulating protein. KLOTHO-deficient mice exhibit phenotypes resembling premature human aging (Kuro-o et al., 1997). Deletion of the KLOTHO gene in mice leads to premature aging phenotypes including arteriosclerosis, osteopenia, and shortened life span. On the other hand, over-expression of this gene extends the lifespan of transgenic mice by 20-30% (Kurosu et al., 2005).

The human KLOTHO gene is located on chromosome 13q12 and contains five exons. The expression "KL-VS polymorphism or variant" is used to describe a specific haplotype in a block of six SNPs, in perfect linkage disequilibrium. Of these six SNPs, rs9536314 (F352V) and rs9527025 (C370S) result in amino acid substitutions (Arking et al., 2002). KL-VS refers to the V352 and S370 alleles of these SNPs and corresponds to a variant that shows reduced activity. The KL-VS polymorphism may alter the level of secreted Klotho form and the catalytic activities of Klotho protein (Arking et al., 2002; Dubal et al., 2014). The KL-VS variant spans exon 2 and its flanking sequence, and is common in Caucasians (Low et al., 2005; Freathy et al., 2006; Riancho et al., 2007; Novelli et al., 2008; Tsezou et al., 2008; Invidia et al., 2010; Nzietchueng et al., 2011; Tavakkoly-Bazzaz et al., 2011). KL-VS can influence KLOTHO gene expression in vitro, and it has been inconsistently associated with human longevity in European and American populations (Majumdar et al., 2010). An association between KL-VS polymorphism and human longevity in Asian populations is unexplored and unknown. Here, we analyzed the genomic DNA of 874 healthy Koreans to investigate the frequency of the KL-VS variant of the KLOTHO gene and its possible association with human longevity in Koreans.

Participants were 874 healthy Korean controls (418 males and 456 females) consisting of 101 individuals ≤ 40 years of age, 671 individuals 41-79 years of age, and 102 individuals ≥ 80 years of age. The subjects were recruited during routine checkups at the Chuncheon Sacred Heart Hospital. Informed consent was obtained from all individuals. The study was approved by the Ethical Committee of Chonbuk National University. Genomic DNA was extracted from 200 μL whole blood using QIAamp® DNA blood Mini Kit (QIAGEN, Valencia, CA, USA). Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed with sense primer (5'-AGGCTCATGCCAAAGTCTGG-3') and antisense primer (5'-GTTTCCATGATGAACTTTTTGAGG-3'). After purification by using QIAquick® Gel Extraction Kit (QIAGEN), the PCR products were directly sequenced with a model 3730 capillary electrophoresis sequencer (Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA, USA). Statistical analyses were carried out using Statistical Analysis Software (SAS) version 9.3 (SAS Institute, Cary, NC, USA). The genotypes and allele frequencies of the KL-VS polymorphism were compared using the chi-square or Fisher's exact test.

The KL-VS polymorphism was not found in the Korean population sample (Table 1). The genotype and allele frequencies of the KL-VS polymorphism in the Korean population were significantly different from those previously reported in European and American populations. The present data are similar to data from Iranians but significantly different from data from Indian subjects (Table 1).

Table 1 Genotype and allele frequencies of the Klotho KL-VS variant sequence in various populations. 

Population Age, yr Total Genotype, n (%) P-value Allele, % P-value Reference
UK Caucasian 29-35 1619 1158 (71.5) 409 (25.3) 52 (3.2) - 84.2 15.8 - Freathy et al., 2006
Bohemian Czech New Born 390 307 (78.7) 73 (18.7) 10 (2.6) 0.016 88.1 11.9 0.006 Arking et al., 2003
Elderly ≥ 75 415 308 (74.2) 103 (24.8) 4 (0.1) 0.040 86.6 13.4 0.078
Baltimore Caucasian New Born 420 309 (73.6) 100 (23.8) 11 (2.6) 0.652 85.5 14.5 0.347
Elderly ≥ 65 723 530 (73.3) 185 (25.6) 8 (1.1) 0.012 86.1 13.9 0.088
Baltimore African American New Born 226 156 (69.0) 58 (25.7) 12 (5.3) 0.259 81.9 18.1 0.213
Elderly ≥ 65 242 169 (69.8) 68 (28.1) 5 (2.1) 0.439 83.9 16.1 0.878
American Mean 54.3 143 95 (66.4) 44 (30.8) 4 (2.8) 0.350 81.8 18.2 0.302 Low et al., 2005
US Caucasian <35 332 241 (72.6) 85 (25.6) 6 (1.8) 0.390 85.4 14.6 0.425 Novelli et al., 2008
93-105 708 517 (73.0) 170 (24.0) 21 (3.0) 0.757 85.0 15.0 0.451
Spanish 18-86 (mean 48.0) 438 330 (75.3) 104 (23.8) 4 (0.9) 0.021 87.2 12.8 0.025 Riancho et al., 2007
Greek Men (mean 61.5), Women (mean 65.8) 383 309 (80.7) 71 (18.4) 3 (0.8) <0.001 90.0 10.0 <0.001 Tsezou et al., 2008
Italian Men <66, Women <73 463 348 (75.2) 103 (22.2) 12 (2.6) 0.300 86.3 13.7 0.113 Invidia et al., 2010
Men 66-88, Women 73-91 300 203 (67.7) 94 (31.3) 3 (1.0) 0.140 83.3 16.7 0.613
Men >88, Women >91 326 236 (72.4) 80 (24.5) 10 (3.1) 0.950 84.7 15.3 0.746
French 25-88 (mean 57.5) 629 436 (69.3) 172 (27.4) 21 (3.3) 0.579 83.0 17.0 0.340 Nzietchueng et al., 2011
Iranian Mean 55 53 53 (100) 0 (0) 0 (0) <0.001 100 0 <0.001 Tavakkoly-Bazzaz et al., 2011
Indian ≤ 40 375 270 (72.0) 99 (26.4) 6 (1.6) 0.237 85.2 14.8 0.479 Majumdar et al., 2010
>40 199 140 (70.4) 53 (26.6) 6 (3.0) 0.911 83.7 16.3 0.801
Korean ≤ 40 (mean 27.0) 101 101 (100) 0 (0) 0 (0) <0.001 100 0 <0.001 This study
40-79 (mean 62.9) 671 671 (100) 0 (0) 0 (0) <0.001 100 0 <0.001
≥ 80 (mean 85.8) 102 102 (100) 0 (0) 0 (0) <0.001 100 0 <0.001

The KL-VS polymorphism was absent in a large Korean population sample. The KL-VS polymorphism is present in Caucasians, Americans, and Indians, but apparently not in Iranian, Korean, and Japanese populations (Majumdar et al., 2010). The differences in the distribution of genotype and allele frequencies of this polymorphism suggest the possibility that the evolutionary distances are closer between Europeans and Americans than between Europeans and East Asians. The results obtained from SNP markers in human populations showed that European populations were closer to the Amerian populations than East Asians (Shriver et al., 2004; Fazeli and Vallian, 2012). In our previous studies, we reported that the genotype frequencies of polymorphisms of certain genes are remarkably different between Koreans and Europeans (Jeong et al., 2011, 2014).

Various polymorphisms of the KLOTHO gene including the KL-VS polymorphism and G-395A, G1110C, C1818T, and C2298T SNPs have been reported (Kawano et al., 2002). Genetic association studies of the KLOTHO gene have been reported in sickle cell anemia, coronary artery disease (CAD), ischemic stroke, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and hemodialysis (Arking et al., 2003; Friedman et al., 2009; Wang et al., 2010). Among these KLOTHO polymorphisms, genetic association studies have been carried out to demonstrate an association between functional polymorphism of KLOTHO KL-VS and human aging and cognition, because the functional polymorphism of KLOTHO KL-VS was associated with modulation of its activity and trafficking of the protein (Dubal et al., 2014). Some studies reported a positive correlation with longevity, but other studies did not report such an association (Di Bona et al., 2014).

In conclusion, the KL-VS polymorphism of the KLOTHO gene was not found in our large Korean population sample, and hence it does not appear to be an effector of aging and human longevity in Koreans.


This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (2014R1A1A2057943) and the Basic Science Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2012R1A1A2003686) and research funds of Chonbuk National University in 2013.


Arking DE, Becker DM, Yanek LR, Fallin D, Judge DP, Moy TF, Becker LC and Dietz HC (2003) KLOTHO allele status and the risk of early-onset occult coronary artery disease. Am J Hum Genet 72:1154-1161. [ Links ]

Arking DE, Krebsova A, Macek Sr M, Macek Jr M, Arking A, Mian IS, Fried L, Hamosh A, Dey S, McIntosh I, et al. (2002) Association of human aging with a functional variant of klotho. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 99:856-861. [ Links ]

Di Bona D, Accardi G, Virruso C, Candore G and Caruso C (2014) Association of Klotho polymorphisms with healthy aging: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Rejuvenation Res 17:212-216. [ Links ]

Dubal DB, Yokoyama JS, Zhu L, Broestl L, Worden K, Wang D, Sturm VE, Kim D, Klein E, Yu GQ, et al. (2014) Life extension factor klotho enhances cognition. Cell Rep 7:1065-1076. [ Links ]

Fazeli Z and Vallian S (2012) Phylogenetic relationship analysis of Iranians and other world populations using allele frequencies at 12 polymorphic markers. Mol Biol Rep 39:11187-11199. [ Links ]

Freathy RM, Weedon MN, Melzer D, Shields B, Hitman GA, Walker M, McCarthy MI, Hattersley AT and Frayling TM (2006) The functional "KL-VS" variant of KLOTHO is not associated with type 2 diabetes in 5028 UK Caucasians. BMC Med Genet 7:e51. [ Links ]

Friedman DJ, Afkarian M, Tamez H, Bhan I, Isakova T, Wolf M, Ankers E, Ye J, Tonelli M, Zoccali C, et al. (2009) Klotho variants and chronic hemodialysis mortality. J Bone Miner Res 24:1847-1855. [ Links ]

Invidia L, Salvioli S, Altilia S, Pierini M, Panourgia MP, Monti D, De Rango F, Passarino G and Franceschi C (2010) The frequency of Klotho KL-VS polymorphism in a large Italian population, from young subjects to centenarians, suggests the presence of specific time windows for its effect. Biogerontology 11:67-73. [ Links ]

Jeong BH, Lee KH, Lee YJ, Yun J, Park YJ, Cho HJ, Kim YH, Cho YS, Choi EK, Carp RI, et al. (2011) Absence of association between two HECTD2 polymorphisms and sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 31:146-151. [ Links ]

Jeong BH, Kim HJ, Lee KH, Carp RI and Kim YS (2014) RARB and STMN2 polymorphisms are not associated with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in the Korean population. Mol Biol Rep 41:2389-2395. [ Links ]

Kawano K, Ogata N, Chiano M, Molloy H, Kleyn P, Spector TD, Uchida M, Hosoi T, Suzuki T, Orimo H, et al. (2002) Klotho gene polymorphisms associated with bone density of aged postmenopausal women. J Bone Miner Res 17:1744-1751. [ Links ]

Kuro-o M, Matsumura Y, Aizawa H, Kawaguchi H, Suga T, Utsugi T, Ohyama Y, Kurabayashi M, Kaname T, Kume E, et al. (1997) Mutation of the mouse klotho gene leads to a syndrome resembling ageing. Nature 390:45-51. [ Links ]

Kurosu H, Yamamoto M, Clark JD, Pastor JV, Nandi A, Gurnani P, McGuinness OP, Chikuda H, Yamaguchi M, Kawaguchi H, et al. (2005) Suppression of aging in mice by the hormone Klotho. Science 309:1829-1833. [ Links ]

Liu H, Fergusson MM, Castilho RM, Liu J, Cao L, Chen J, Malide D, Rovira II, Schimel D, Kuo CJ, et al. (2007) Augmented Wnt signaling in a mammalian model of accelerated aging. Science 317:803-806. [ Links ]

Low AF, O'Donnell CJ, Kathiresan S, Everett B, Chae CU, Shaw SY, Ellinor PT and MacRae CA (2005) Aging syndrome genes and premature coronary artery disease. BMC Med Genet 6:e38. [ Links ]

Majumdar V, Nagaraja D and Christopher R (2010) Association of the functional KL-VS variant of Klotho gene with early-onset ischemic stroke. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 403:412-416. [ Links ]

Matsumura Y, Aizawa H, Shiraki-Iida T, Nagai R, Kuro-o M and Nabeshima Y (1998) Identification of the human klotho gene and its two transcripts encoding membrane and secreted klotho protein. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 242:626-630. [ Links ]

Nabeshima Y (2002) Klotho: A fundamental regulator of aging. Ageing Res Rev 1:627-638. [ Links ]

Novelli V, Viviani Anselmi C, Roncarati R, Guffanti G, Malovini A, Piluso G and Puca AA (2008) Lack of replication of genetic associations with human longevity. Biogerontology 9:85-92. [ Links ]

Nzietchueng RE, Shamieh S, Benachour H, Labat C, Herbeth B, Ndiaye NC, Masson C, Visvikis-Siest S and Benetos A (2011) Klotho KL-VS genotype is involved in blood pressure regulation. Clin Chim Acta 412:1773-1777. [ Links ]

Riancho JA, Valero C, Hernández JL, Ortiz F, Zarrabeitia A, Alonso MA, Peña N, Pascual MA, González-Macías J and Zarrabeitia MT (2007) Association of the F352V variant of the Klotho gene with bone mineral density. Biogerontology 8:121-127. [ Links ]

Saito Y, Nakamura T, Ohyama Y, Suzuki T, Iida A, Shiraki-Iida T, Kuro-o M, Nabeshima Y, Kurabayashi M and Nagai R (2000) In vivo klotho gene delivery protects against endothelial dysfunction in multiple risk factor syndrome. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 276:767-772. [ Links ]

Shriver MD, Kennedy GC, Parra EJ, Lawson HA, Sonpar V, Huang J, Akey JM and Jones KW (2004) The genomic distribution of population substructure in four populations using 8,525 autosomal SNPs. Hum Genomics 1:274-286. [ Links ]

Shiraki-Iida T, Aizawa H, Matsumura Y, Sekine S, Iida A, Anazawa H, Nagai R, Kuro-o M and Nabeshima Y (1998) Structure of the mouse klotho gene and its two transcripts encoding membrane and secreted protein. FEBS Lett 424:6-10. [ Links ]

Tavakkoly-Bazzaz J, Tabatabaei-Malazy O, Tajmir-Riahi M, Javidi D, Izadi M, Shahrabi-Farahani M, Amiri P and Amoli MM (2011) Absence of kl-vs variant of klotho gene in Iranian cardiac patients (comparison to the world populations). Dis Markers 31:211-214. [ Links ]

Tsezou A, Furuichi T, Satra M, Makrythanasis P, Ikegawa S and Malizos KN (2008) Association of KLOTHO gene polymorphisms with knee osteoarthritis in Greek population. J Orthop Res 26:1466-1670. [ Links ]

Wang HL, Xu Q, Wang Z, Zhang YH, Si LY, Li XJ, Yang QH and Xiao H (2010) A potential regulatory single nucleotide polymorphism in the promoter of the Klotho gene may be associated with essential hypertension in the Chinese Han population. Clin Chim Acta 411:386-390. [ Links ]

Associate Editor: Mara H. Hutz

Received: July 07, 2015; Accepted: December 04, 2015

Send correspondence to Byung-Hoon Jeong, Korea Zoonosis Research Institute, Chonbuk National University, 820-120 Hana-ro, Iksan, Jeonbuk 570-390, Republic of Korea. E-mail:

Creative Commons License License information: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (type CC-BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original article is properly cited.