Epigenetic profiling of human brain differential DNA methylation networks in schizophrenia.

Research paper by Sheng-An SA Lee, Kuo-Chuan KC Huang

Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 25 Jan '17Published in: BMC Medical Genomics


Epigenetics of schizophrenia provides important information on how the environmental factors affect the genetic architecture of the disease. DNA methylation plays a pivotal role in etiology for schizophrenia. Previous studies have focused mostly on the discovery of schizophrenia-associated SNPs or genetic variants. As postmortem brain samples became available, more and more recent studies surveyed transcriptomics of the diseases. In this study, we constructed protein-protein interaction (PPI) network using the disease associated SNP (or genetic variants), differentially expressed disease genes and differentially methylated disease genes (or promoters). By combining the different datasets and topological analyses of the PPI network, we established a more comprehensive understanding of the development and genetics of this devastating mental illness.We analyzed the previously published DNA methylation profiles of prefrontal cortex from 335 healthy controls and 191 schizophrenic patients. These datasets revealed 2014 CpGs identified as GWAS risk loci with the differential methylation profile in schizophrenia, and 1689 schizophrenic differential methylated genes (SDMGs) identified with predominant hypomethylation. These SDMGs, combined with the PPIs of these genes, were constructed into the schizophrenic differential methylation network (SDMN). On the SDMN, there are 10 hypermethylated SDMGs, including GNA13, CAPNS1, GABPB2, GIT2, LEFTY1, NDUFA10, MIOS, MPHOSPH6, PRDM14 and RFWD2. The hypermethylation to differential expression network (HyDEN) were constructed to determine how the hypermethylated promoters regulate gene expression. The enrichment analyses of biochemical pathways in HyDEN, including TNF alpha, PDGFR-beta signaling, TGF beta Receptor, VEGFR1 and VEGFR2 signaling, regulation of telomerase, hepatocyte growth factor receptor signaling, ErbB1 downstream signaling and mTOR signaling pathway, suggested that the malfunctioning of these pathways contribute to the symptoms of schizophrenia.The epigenetic profiles of DNA differential methylation from schizophrenic brain samples were investigated to understand the regulatory roles of SDMGs. The SDMGs interplays with SCZCGs in a coordinated fashion in the disease mechanism of schizophrenia. The protein complexes and pathways involved in SDMN may be responsible for the etiology and potential treatment targets. The SDMG promoters are predominantly hypomethylated. Increasing methylation on these promoters is proposed as a novel therapeutic approach for schizophrenia.