Navigation Links
Genomes of identical twins reveal epigenetic changes that may play role in lupus
Date:12/21/2009

Identical twins look the same and are nearly genetically identical, but environmental factors and the resulting cellular changes could cause disease in one sibling and not the other. In a study published online in Genome Research (www.genome.org), scientists have studied twins discordant for the autoimmune disease lupus, mapping DNA modifications across the genome and shedding light on epigenetic changes that may play a role in the disease.

Because the genetic makeup of monozygotic twins (commonly known as identical twins) is nearly identical, phenotypic traits and heritable diseases are often concordant, manifesting in both siblings. However, some phenotypes and diseases such as autoimmune disease can arise in only one sibling, suggesting other factors such as environment likely play a role in determining phenotypic differences.

Epigenetic modifications, cellular changes that can influence expression of genes, are now widely recognized to influence phenotype and frequently occur in disease. Furthermore, environmental factors such as diet and chemical exposure can change the epigenetic status of genes. Recent research has identified epigenetic modifications at several aberrantly regulated genes in autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and other studies have suggested that epigenetic differences are associated with phenotypic discordance between identical twins.

In this work, researchers from Spain and the United States performed the first genome-wide high-throughput analysis of a specific epigenetic modification, DNA methylation, in the context of autoimmune disease. Taking advantage of the identical genetic background in monozygotic twins, the group directly compared DNA methylation in healthy twins and twins discordant for autoimmune diseases, including SLE, looking for changes that could be related to pathogenesis in one sibling and not the other.

In the case of SLE, the group found widespread changes in DNA methylation status at a significant number of genes. Dr. Esteban Ballestar, senior author of the study, noted that this is the largest number of genes exhibiting DNA methylation changes observed in an autoimmune disease to date, and includes genes previously implicated in SLE pathogenesis. Importantly, Ballestar's team found that a significant number of the novel differentially methylated genes are related to multiple immune system functions and are potentially linked to SLE.

"Our study suggests that the effect of the environment or differences in lifestyle may leave a molecular mark in key genes for immune function that contributes to the differential onset of the disease in twins," Ballestar said. Most studies of DNA methylation and human disease have been in the context of cancer research, Ballestar noted, and he hopes that this work will attract more researchers to also investigate DNA methylation alterations in autoimmune disease and other disorders for the development of therapies.


'/>"/>

Contact: Peggy Calicchia
calicchi@cshl.edu
516-422-4012
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. International team compares 12 fruit fly genomes
2. Scientists decode genomes of diverse TB isolates
3. Latest Integrated Microbial Genomes data management system update release
4. Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features methods to screen genomes and analyze evolution
5. Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features methods for analyzing genomes and plant cells
6. New computational technique allows comparison of whole genomes as easily as whole books
7. After dinosaurs, mammals rise but their genomes get smaller
8. Genomes reveal bacterial lifestyles: Research
9. Genomes of 2 popular research strains of E. coli sequenced
10. Singapore scientists join international study of 10,000 vertebrates genomes
11. Identical twins not as identical as believed
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/2/2016)... , Feb. 2, 2016 Technology Enhancements Accelerate ... an analysis of the digital and computed radiography markets ... , and Indonesia (TIM). ... and market size, as well as regional market drivers ... and discusses market penetration and market attractiveness, both for ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2, 2016  Based on its recent analysis ... recognizes US-based Intelligent Retinal Imaging Systems (IRIS) with ... for New Product Innovation. IRIS, a prominent cloud-based ... America , is poised to set the ... retinopathy market. The IRIS technology presents superior price-performance ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... 2016  Today, the first day of American Heart ... develop a first of its kind workplace health solution ... In the first application of Watson ... ), and Welltok will create a new offering that ... analytics, delivered on Welltok,s health optimization platform. The effort ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... JUNCTION, N.J. , Feb. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... care immunotherapy leader commercializing its flagship CytoSorb® blood ... cardiac surgery patients around the world, announced that ... will present at the Source Capital Group,s 2016 ... and update on the company.  ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... , Feb. 4, 2016 Sinovac Biotech ... a leading provider of biopharmaceutical products in ... of its board of directors received on February 4, ... 2016, from a consortium comprised of PKU V-Ming ( ... Biomedicine Co., Ltd., CICC Qianhai Development ( Shenzhen ...
(Date:2/3/2016)...  Discovery Laboratories, Inc. (NASDAQ: DSCO ), ... surfactant therapies for respiratory diseases, today announced that ... award as a component of employment compensation for ... and Chief Executive Officer.  The award was approved ... 2016 and granted as an inducement material to ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... ... February 03, 2016 , ... Aerocom, a world-leading ... to the North American healthcare market. , Aerocom Healthcare, LLC will be based ... company will provide new pneumatic tube systems or expand existing systems within the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: