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Genome-wide association studies of human personality have been carried out, but transcription of the whole genome has not been studied in relation to personality in humans. We collected genome-wide expression profiles of adults to characterize the regulation of expression and function in genes related to human personality. We devised an innovative multi-omic approach to network analysis to identify the key control elements and interactions in multi-modular networks. We identified sets of transcribed genes that were co-expressed in specific brain regions with genes known to be associated with personality. Then we identified the minimum networks for the co-localized genes using bioinformatic resources. Subjects were 459 adults from the Young Finns Study who completed the Temperament and Character Inventory and provided peripheral blood for genomic and transcriptomic analysis. We identified an extrinsic network of 45 regulatory genes from seed genes in brain regions involved in self-regulation of emotional reactivity to extracellular stimuli (e.g., self-regulation of anxiety) and an intrinsic network of 43 regulatory genes from seed genes in brain regions involved in self-regulation of interpretations of meaning (e.g., production of concepts and language). We discovered that interactions between the two networks were coordinated by a control hub of 3 miRNAs and 3 protein-coding genes shared by both. Interactions of the control hub with proteins and ncRNAs identified more than 100 genes that overlap directly with known personality-related genes and more than another 4000 genes that interact indirectly. We conclude that the six-gene hub is the crux of an integrative network that orchestrates information-transfer throughout a multi-modular system of over 4000 genes enriched in liquid-liquid-phase-separation (LLPS)-related RNAs, diverse transcription factors, and hominid-specific miRNAs and lncRNAs. Gene expression networks associated with human personality regulate neuronal plasticity, epigenesis, and adaptive functioning by the interactions of salience and meaning in self-awareness.


Copyright the Authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publication Title

Molecular Psychiatry



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Mentor/PI Department




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