Allele-specific methylation occurs at genetic variants associated with complex disease.
ABSTRACT: We hypothesize that the phenomenon of allele-specific methylation (ASM) may underlie the phenotypic effects of multiple variants identified by Genome-Wide Association studies (GWAS). We evaluate ASM in a human population and document its genome-wide patterns in an initial screen at up to 380,678 sites within the genome, or up to 5% of the total genomic CpGs. We show that while substantial inter-individual variation exists, 5% of assessed sites show evidence of ASM in at least six samples; the majority of these events (81%) are under genetic influence. Many of these cis-regulated ASM variants are also eQTLs in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and monocytes and/or in high linkage-disequilibrium with variants linked to complex disease. Finally, focusing on autoimmune phenotypes, we extend this initial screen to confirm the association of cis-regulated ASM with multiple complex disease-associated variants in an independent population using next-generation bisulfite sequencing. These four variants are implicated in complex phenotypes such as ulcerative colitis and AIDS progression disease (rs10491434), Celiac disease (rs2762051), Crohn's disease, IgA nephropathy and early-onset inflammatory bowel disease (rs713875) and height (rs6569648). Our results suggest cis-regulated ASM may provide a mechanistic link between the non-coding genetic changes and phenotypic variation observed in these diseases and further suggests a route to integrating DNA methylation status with GWAS results.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has an unknown etiology; however, accumulating evidence suggests that IBD is a multifactorial disease influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The influence of genetic variants on DNA methylation in cis and cis effects on expression have been demonstrated. We hypothesized that IBD susceptibility single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) regulate susceptibility gene expressions in cis by regulating DNA methylation around SNPs. For this, we determined cis-regulated allele-specific DNA methylation (ASM) around IBD susceptibility genes in CD4+ effector/memory T cells (Tem) in lamina propria mononuclear cells (LPMCs) in patients with IBD and examined the association between the ASM SNP genotype and neighboring susceptibility gene expressions. METHODS:CD4+ effector/memory T cells (Tem) were isolated from LPMCs in 15 Japanese IBD patients (ten Crohn's disease [CD] and five ulcerative colitis [UC] patients). ASM analysis was performed by methylation-sensitive SNP array analysis. We defined ASM as a changing average relative allele score ([Formula: see text]) >0.1 after digestion by methylation-sensitive restriction enzymes. Among SNPs showing [Formula: see text] >0.1, we extracted the probes located on tag-SNPs of 200 IBD susceptibility loci and around IBD susceptibility genes as candidate ASM SNPs. To validate ASM, bisulfite-pyrosequencing was performed. Transcriptome analysis was examined in 11 IBD patients (seven CD and four UC patients). The relation between rs36221701 genotype and neighboring gene expressions were analyzed. RESULTS:We extracted six candidate ASM SNPs around IBD susceptibility genes. The top of [Formula: see text] (0.23) was rs1130368 located on HLA-DQB1. ASM around rs36221701 ([Formula: see text] = 0.14) located near SMAD3 was validated using bisulfite pyrosequencing. The SMAD3 expression was significantly associated with the rs36221701 genotype (p = 0.016). CONCLUSIONS:We confirmed the existence of cis-regulated ASM around IBD susceptibility genes and the association between ASM SNP (rs36221701) genotype and SMAD3 expression, a susceptibility gene for IBD. These results give us supporting evidence that DNA methylation mediates genetic effects on disease susceptibility.
Project description:Studies on genetic-epigenetic interactions, including the mapping of methylation quantitative trait loci (mQTLs) and haplotype-dependent allele-specific DNA methylation (hap-ASM), have become a major focus in the post-genome-wide-association-study (GWAS) era. Such maps can nominate regulatory sequence variants that underlie GWAS signals for common diseases, ranging from neuropsychiatric disorders to cancers. Conversely, mQTLs need to be filtered out when searching for non-genetic effects in epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS). Sequence variants in CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) and transcription factor binding sites have been mechanistically linked to mQTLs and hap-ASM. Identifying these sites can point to disease-associated transcriptional pathways, with implications for targeted treatment and prevention.
Project description:Genetic polymorphisms can shape the global landscape of DNA methylation, by either changing substrates for DNA methyltransferases or altering the DNA binding affinity of cis-regulatory proteins. The interactions between CpG methylation and genetic polymorphisms have been previously investigated by methylation quantitative trait loci (mQTL) and allele-specific methylation (ASM) analysis. However, it remains unclear whether these approaches can effectively and comprehensively identify all genetic variants that contribute to the inter-individual variation of DNA methylation levels. Here we used three independent approaches to systematically investigate the influence of genetic polymorphisms on variability in DNA methylation by characterizing the methylation state of 96 whole blood samples in 52 parent-child trios from 22 nuclear pedigrees. We performed targeted bisulfite sequencing with padlock probes to quantify the absolute DNA methylation levels at a set of 411,800 CpG sites in the human genome. With mid-parent offspring analysis (MPO), we identified 10,593 CpG sites that exhibited heritable methylation patterns, among which 70.1% were SNPs directly present in methylated CpG dinucleotides. We determined the mQTL analysis identified 49.9% of heritable CpG sites for which regulation occurred in a distal cis-regulatory manner, and that ASM analysis was only able to identify 5%. Finally, we identified hundreds of clusters in the human genome for which the degree of variation of CpG methylation, as opposed to whether or not CpG sites were methylated, was associated with genetic polymorphisms, supporting a recent hypothesis on the genetic influence of phenotypic plasticity. These results show that cis-regulatory SNPs identified by mQTL do not comprise the full extent of heritable CpG methylation, and that ASM appears overall unreliable. Overall, the extent of genome-methylome interactions is well beyond what is detectible with the commonly used mQTL and ASM approaches, and is likely to include effects on plasticity.
Project description:Over the past decades, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified thousands of phenotype-associated DNA sequence variants for potential explanations of inter-individual phenotypic differences and disease susceptibility. However, it remains a challenge for translating the associations into causative mechanisms for complex diseases, partially due to the involved variants in the noncoding regions and the inconvenience of functional studies in human population samples. So far, accumulating evidence has suggested a complex crosstalk among genetic variants, allele-specific binding of transcription factors (ABTF), and allele-specific DNA methylation patterns (ASM), as well as environmental factors for disease risk. This review aims to summarize the current studies regarding the interactions of the aforementioned factors with a focus on epigenetic insights. We present two scenarios of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in coding regions and non-coding regions for disease risk, via potentially impacting epigenetic patterns. While a SNP in a coding region may confer disease risk via altering protein functions, a SNP in non-coding region may cause diseases, via SNP-altering ABTF, ASM, and allele-specific gene expression (ASE). The allelic increases or decreases of gene expression are key for disease risk during development. Such ASE can be achieved via either a "SNP-introduced ABTF to ASM" or a "SNP-introduced ASM to ABTF." Together with our additional in-depth review on insulator CTCF, we are convinced to propose a working model that the small effect of a SNP acts through altered ABTF and/or ASM, for ASE and eventual disease outcome (named as a "SNP intensifier" model). In summary, the significance of complex crosstalk among genetic factors, epigenetic patterns, and environmental factors requires further investigations for disease susceptibility.
Project description:DNA methylation is assumed to be complementary on both alleles across the genome, although there are exceptions, notably in regions subject to genomic imprinting. We present a genome-wide survey of the degree of allelic skewing of DNA methylation with the aim of identifying previously unreported differentially methylated regions (DMRs) associated primarily with genomic imprinting or DNA sequence variation acting in cis. We used SNP microarrays to quantitatively assess allele-specific DNA methylation (ASM) in amplicons covering 7.6% of the human genome following cleavage with a cocktail of methylation-sensitive restriction enzymes (MSREs). Selected findings were verified using bisulfite-mapping and gene-expression analyses, subsequently tested in a second tissue from the same individuals, and replicated in DNA obtained from 30 parent-child trios. Our approach detected clear examples of ASM in the vicinity of known imprinted loci, highlighting the validity of the method. In total, 2,704 (1.5%) of our 183,605 informative and stringently filtered SNPs demonstrate an average relative allele score (RAS) change > or =0.10 following MSRE digestion. In agreement with previous reports, the majority of ASM ( approximately 90%) appears to be cis in nature, and several examples of tissue-specific ASM were identified. Our data show that ASM is a widespread phenomenon, with >35,000 such sites potentially occurring across the genome, and that a spectrum of ASM is likely, with heterogeneity between individuals and across tissues. These findings impact our understanding about the origin of individual phenotypic differences and have implications for genetic studies of complex disease.
Project description:Allele-specific DNA methylation (ASM) and allele-specific gene expression (ASE) have long been studied in genomic imprinting and X chromosome inactivation. But these types of allelic asymmetries, along with allele-specific transcription factor binding (ASTF), have turned out to be far more pervasive-affecting many non-imprinted autosomal genes in normal human tissues. ASM, ASE and ASTF have now been mapped genome-wide by microarray-based methods and NextGen sequencing. Multiple studies agree that all three types of allelic asymmetries, as well as the related phenomena of expression and methylation quantitative trait loci, are mostly accounted for by cis-acting regulatory polymorphisms. The precise mechanisms by which this occurs are not yet understood, but there are some testable hypotheses and already a few direct clues. Future challenges include achieving higher resolution maps to locate the epicenters of cis-regulated ASM, using this information to test mechanistic models, and applying genome-wide maps of ASE/ASM/ASTF to pinpoint functional regulatory polymorphisms influencing disease susceptibility.
Project description:We use targeted bisulfite PCR and next-generation 454 sequencing of multiple amplicons to analyze the association of cis-regulated allele-specific methylation (ASM) with multiple complex disease-associated variants in a population of 82 individuals. We detect ASM at four variants implicated in complex phenotypes such as ulcerative colitis and AIDS progression disease (rs10491434), Celiac disease (rs2762051), Crohn’s disease, IgA nephropathy and early-onset inflammatory bowel disease (rs713875) and height (rs6569648). 82 samples analysed
Project description:We use targeted bisulfite PCR and next-generation 454 sequencing of multiple amplicons to analyze the association of cis-regulated allele-specific methylation (ASM) with multiple complex disease-associated variants in a population of 82 individuals. We detect ASM at four variants implicated in complex phenotypes such as ulcerative colitis and AIDS progression disease (rs10491434), Celiac disease (rs2762051), Crohn’s disease, IgA nephropathy and early-onset inflammatory bowel disease (rs713875) and height (rs6569648). Overall design: 82 samples analysed
Project description:Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by an interplay of genetic and environmental factors. Epigenetics is crucial to lasting changes in gene expression in the brain. Recent studies suggest a role for DNA methylation in ADHD. We explored the contribution to ADHD of allele-specific methylation (ASM), an epigenetic mechanism that involves SNPs correlating with differential levels of DNA methylation at CpG sites. We selected 3896 tagSNPs reported to influence methylation in human brain regions and performed a case-control association study using the summary statistics from the largest GWAS meta-analysis of ADHD, comprising 20,183 cases and 35,191 controls. We observed that genetic risk variants for ADHD are enriched in ASM SNPs and identified associations with eight tagSNPs that were significant at a 5% false discovery rate (FDR). These SNPs correlated with methylation of CpG sites lying in the promoter regions of six genes. Since methylation may affect gene expression, we inspected these ASM SNPs together with 52 ASM SNPs in high LD with them for eQTLs in brain tissues and observed that the expression of three of those genes was affected by them. ADHD risk alleles correlated with increased expression (and decreased methylation) of ARTN and PIDD1 and with a decreased expression (and increased methylation) of C2orf82. Furthermore, these three genes were predicted to have altered expression in ADHD, and genetic variants in C2orf82 correlated with brain volumes. In summary, we followed a systematic approach to identify risk variants for ADHD that correlated with differential cis-methylation, identifying three novel genes contributing to the disorder.
Project description:Numerous recent studies have suggested that phenotypic effects of DNA sequence variants can be mediated or modulated by their epigenetic marks, such as allele-skewed DNA modification (ASM). Using Affymetrix SNP microarrays, we performed a comprehensive search of ASM effects in human post-mortem brain and sperm samples (total n = 256) from individuals with major psychosis and control individuals. Depending on the phenotypic category of the brain samples, 1.4%-7.5% of interrogated SNPs exhibited ASM effects. Next, we investigated ASM in the context of genetic studies of schizophrenia and detected that brain ASM SNPs were significantly overrepresented among sub-threshold SNPs from a schizophrenia genome-wide association study (GWAS). Brain ASM SNPs showed a much stronger enrichment in a schizophrenia GWAS than in 17 large GWASs of non-psychiatric diseases and traits, arguing that ASM effects are at least partially tissue specific. Studies of germline and control brain ASM SNPs supported a causal association between ASM and schizophrenia. Finally, significantly higher proportions of ASM SNPs than of non-ASM SNPs were detected at loci exhibiting epigenetic signatures of enhancers and promoters, and they were overrepresented within transcription factor binding regions and DNase I hypersensitive sites. All of these findings collectively indicate that ASM SNPs should be prioritized in follow-up GWASs.