Article

Enrichment of cis-regulatory gene expression SNPs and methylation quantitative trait loci among bipolar disorder susceptibility variants.

Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.
Molecular Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 15.15). 01/2012; DOI: 10.1038/mp.2011.174
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We conducted a systematic study of top susceptibility variants from a genome-wide association (GWA) study of bipolar disorder to gain insight into the functional consequences of genetic variation influencing disease risk. We report here the results of experiments to explore the effects of these susceptibility variants on DNA methylation and mRNA expression in human cerebellum samples. Among the top susceptibility variants, we identified an enrichment of cis regulatory loci on mRNA expression (eQTLs), and a significant excess of quantitative trait loci for DNA CpG methylation, hereafter referred to as methylation quantitative trait loci (mQTLs). Bipolar disorder susceptibility variants that cis regulate both cerebellar expression and methylation of the same gene are a very small proportion of bipolar disorder susceptibility variants. This finding suggests that mQTLs and eQTLs provide orthogonal ways of functionally annotating genetic variation within the context of studies of pathophysiology in brain. No lymphocyte mQTL enrichment was found, suggesting that mQTL enrichment was specific to the cerebellum, in contrast to eQTLs. Separately, we found that using mQTL information to restrict the number of single-nucleotide polymorphisms studied enhances our ability to detect a significant association. With this restriction a priori informed by the observed functional enrichment, we identified a significant association (rs12618769, P(bonferroni)<0.05) from two other GWA studies (TGen+GAIN; 2191 cases and 1434 controls) of bipolar disorder, which we replicated in an independent GWA study (WTCCC). Collectively, our findings highlight the importance of integrating functional annotation of genetic variants for gene expression and DNA methylation to advance the biological understanding of bipolar disorder.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 3 January 2012; doi:10.1038/mp.2011.174.

1 Bookmark
 · 
298 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: DNA methylation is an important epigenetic regulator of gene expression. Recent studies have revealed widespread associations between genetic variation and methylation levels. However, the mechanistic links between genetic variation and methylation remain unclear. To begin addressing this gap, we collected methylation data at ∼300,000 loci in lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) from 64 HapMap Yoruba individuals, and genome-wide bisulfite sequence data in ten of these individuals. We identified (at an FDR of 10%) 13,915 cis methylation QTLs (meQTLs)-i.e., CpG sites in which changes in DNA methylation are associated with genetic variation at proximal loci. We found that meQTLs are frequently associated with changes in methylation at multiple CpGs across regions of up to 3 kb. Interestingly, meQTLs are also frequently associated with variation in other properties of gene regulation, including histone modifications, DNase I accessibility, chromatin accessibility, and expression levels of nearby genes. These observations suggest that genetic variants may lead to coordinated molecular changes in all of these regulatory phenotypes. One plausible driver of coordinated changes in different regulatory mechanisms is variation in transcription factor (TF) binding. Indeed, we found that SNPs that change predicted TF binding affinities are significantly enriched for associations with DNA methylation at nearby CpGs.
    PLoS Genetics 09/2014; 10(9):e1004663. · 8.17 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: It is now well established that noncoding regulatory variants play a central role in the genetics of common diseases and in evolution. However, until recently, we have known little about the mechanisms by which most regulatory variants act. For instance, what types of functional elements in DNA, RNA, or proteins are most often affected by regulatory variants? Which stages of gene regulation are typically altered? How can we predict which variants are most likely to impact regulation in a given cell type? Recent studies, in many cases using quantitative trait loci (QTL)-mapping approaches in cell lines or tissue samples, have provided us with considerable insight into the properties of genetic loci that have regulatory roles. Such studies have uncovered novel biochemical regulatory interactions and led to the identification of previously unrecognized regulatory mechanisms. We have learned that genetic variation is often directly associated with variation in regulatory activities (namely, we can map regulatory QTLs, not just expression QTLs [eQTLs]), and we have taken the first steps towards understanding the causal order of regulatory events (for example, the role of pioneer transcription factors). Yet, in most cases, we still do not know how to interpret overlapping combinations of regulatory interactions, and we are still far from being able to predict how variation in regulatory mechanisms is propagated through a chain of interactions to eventually result in changes in gene expression profiles.
    PLoS Genetics 01/2015; 11(1):e1004857. · 8.17 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that plays an important role during mammalian development. Around birth in humans, the main site of red blood cell production moves from the fetal liver to the bone marrow. DNA methylation changes at the β-globin locus and a switch from fetal to adult hemoglobin production characterize this transition. Understanding this globin switch may improve the treatment of patients with sickle cell disease and β-thalassemia, two of the most common Mendelian diseases in the world. The goal of our study was to describe and compare the genome-wide patterns of DNA methylation in fetal and adult human erythroblasts. We used the Illumina HumanMethylation 450 k BeadChip to measure DNA methylation at 402,819 CpGs in ex vivo-differentiated erythroblasts from 12 fetal liver and 12 bone marrow CD34+ donors. We identified 5,937 differentially methylated CpGs that overlap with erythroid enhancers and binding sites for erythropoiesis-related transcription factors. Combining this information with genome-wide association study results, we show that erythroid enhancers define particularly promising genomic regions to identify new genetic variants associated with fetal hemoglobin (HbF) levels in humans. Many differentially methylated CpGs are located near genes with unanticipated roles in red blood cell differentiation and proliferation. For some of these new candidate genes, we confirm the correlation between DNA methylation and gene expression levels in red blood cell progenitors. We also provide evidence that DNA methylation and genetic variation at the β-globin locus independently control globin gene expression in adult erythroblasts. Our DNA methylome maps confirm the widespread dynamic changes in DNA methylation that occur during human erythropoiesis. These changes tend to happen near erythroid enhancers, further highlighting their importance in erythroid regulation and HbF production. Finally, DNA methylation may act independently of the transcription factor BCL11A to repress fetal hemoglobin production. This provides cues on strategies to more efficiently re-activate HbF production in sickle cell disease and β-thalassemia patients.
    Genome Medicine 01/2015; 7(1):1. · 4.94 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Download
18 Downloads
Available from
Jun 1, 2014