In the course of life, aging processes, environmental influences and lifestyle factors such as smoking or diet induce biochemical alterations to the DNA. Frequently, these lead to DNA methylation, a process in which methyl groups are added to particular DNA segments, without changing the DNA sequence. Such processes can influence gene function and are known as epigenetics. Scientists of the Institute of Genetic Epidemiology (IGE) and the Research Unit Molecular Epidemiology (AME) at Helmholtz Zentrum München are seeking to determine what association exists between these epigenetic processes and the health consequences, in particular for the metabolism.
To this end, the team led by Christian Gieger (IGE) and Melanie Waldenberger (AME), in in collaboration with Karsten Suhre of Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar analyzed blood samples from more than 1800 participants of the KORA study *. In doing so, they analyzed more than 457,000 loci in the DNA as to biochemical alterations and compared them with the concentrations of 649 different metabolites. The analysis showed that the methylation of 28 DNA segments changed a number of important metabolic processes.
In the relevant DNA regions there were also already known disease-related genes: for example, the TXNIP gene that regulates glucose metabolism and is associated with the development of diabetes mellitus. Appropriately, with the methylated TXNIP there were altered concentrations of metabolites from the lipid and glucose metabolism. Also genes that are known to be biochemically altered due to smoking affect different metabolic activities, and specifically those with corresponding biological functions.
“This study gives us new insights into how lifestyle factors can influence metabolism via the resulting alterations in the DNA,” said Gieger, research group leader at the IGE. “We can now use these results to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes.”
Further information*KORA(Kooperative Gesundheitsforschung in der Region Augsburg)
Petersen, A.-K. et al. (2013). Epigenetics meets metabolomics: An epigenome-wide association study with blood serum metabolic traits, Human Molecular Genetics, doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddt430
Link to publication
As German Research Center for Environmental Health, Helmholtz Zentrum München pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes mellitus and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München has about 2,100 staff members and is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich. Helmholtz Zentrum München is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 18 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 34,000 staff members. www.helmholtz-muenchen.de
Research at the Institute of Genetic Epidemiology (IGE) is concerned with genetic statistics. This encompasses the planning, execution and analysis of gene mapping projects related to complex diseases as well as the development and implementation of new statistical methods. The activities extend to genome-wide association studies and linkage analyses (family studies) of a wide variety of diseases. A focus is on phenotypes that are studied within the framework of the population-based KORA cohort. The aim of the Institute is to contribute to the elucidation of the genetic causes of complex diseases.
TheResearch Unit of Molecular Epidemiology (AME) analyses population-based cohorts and case studies for specific diseases, using genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics and functional analyses. The aim of this research unit is to decipher the molecular mechanisms of complex diseases like type 2 diabetes or obesity. The unit administers the biological specimen repository of the Department of Epidemiology and stores the samples for national and international projects.
Dr. Christian Gieger, Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health (GmbH), Institute of Genetic Epidemiology, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg - Tel. +49-89-3187-4106
Dr. Christian Gieger | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > DNA > Environmental Health > Epidemiology > Genetic clues > Genetics > Helmholtz > Human vaccine > IgE > Influences > Lifestyle > Molecular Target > Neuherberg > biological function > blood sample > chronic disease > environmental factors > environmental risk > glucose metabolism > health care > health services > lifestyle factors > metabolic process > metabolism > methylation > molecular mechanism > statistical method
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy