Dissecting features of epigenetic variants underlying cardiometabolic risk using full-resolution epigenome profiling in regulatory elements.
Allum F., Hedman ÅK., Shao X., Cheung WA., Vijay J., Guénard F., Kwan T., Simon M-M., Ge B., Moura C., Boulier E., Rönnblom L., Bernatsky S., Lathrop M., McCarthy MI., Deloukas P., Tchernof A., Pastinen T., Vohl M-C., Grundberg E.
Sparse profiling of CpG methylation in blood by microarrays has identified epigenetic links to common diseases. Here we apply methylC-capture sequencing (MCC-Seq) in a clinical population of ~200 adipose tissue and matched blood samples (Ntotal~400), providing high-resolution methylation profiling (>1.3 M CpGs) at regulatory elements. We link methylation to cardiometabolic risk through associations to circulating plasma lipid levels and identify lipid-associated CpGs with unique localization patterns in regulatory elements. We show distinct features of tissue-specific versus tissue-independent lipid-linked regulatory regions by contrasting with parallel assessments in ~800 independent adipose tissue and blood samples from the general population. We follow-up on adipose-specific regulatory regions under (1) genetic and (2) epigenetic (environmental) regulation via integrational studies. Overall, the comprehensive sequencing of regulatory element methylomes reveals a rich landscape of functional variants linked genetically as well as epigenetically to plasma lipid traits.