High-throughput platforms allow the characterization of thousands of previously known methylation sites. These platforms have great potential for investigating the epigenetic effects that are partially responsible for gene expression control. Methylation sites provide a bridge for the investigation of real-time environmental contributions on genomic events by the alteration of methylation status of those sites. Using the data provided by GAW20’s organization committee, we calculated the heritability estimates of each cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) island before and after the use of fenofibrate, a lipid-control drug. Surprisingly, we detected substantially high heritability estimates before drug usage. This somewhat unexpected high sample correlation was corrected by the use of principal components and the distributions of heritability estimates before and after fenofibrate treatment, which made the distributions comparable. The methylation sites located near a gene were collected and a genetic relationship matrix estimated to represent the overall correlation between samples. We implemented a randomeffect association test to screen genes whose methylation patterns partially explain the observable high-density lipoprotein (HDL) heritability. Our leading association was observed for the TMEM52 gene that encodes a transmembrane protein, and is largely expressed in the liver, had not been previously associated with HDL until this manuscript. Using a variance component decomposition framework with the linear mixed model allows the integration of data from different sources, such as methylation, gene expression, metabolomics, and proteomics. The decomposition of the genetic variance component decomposition provides a flexible analytical approach for the challenges of this new omics era.
Almeida, M., Peralta, J. M., Garcia, J., Diego, V. P., Goring, H. H. H., Williams-Blangero, S., & Blangero, J. (2018). Modeling methylation data as an additional genetic variance component. BMC Proceedings, 12(9), 29. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12919-018-0128-7
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