Epigenetic modifications of DNA are regarded as a crucial factor for understanding the molecular basis of complex phenotypes. This study aims to uncover insight into the epigenetic modifications for Kashin-Beck disease (KBD) by integrating genome-wide association studies (GWAS), methylation quantitative trait loci (meQTLs), and DNA methylation profiles data.
The knee articular cartilages of 5 KBD patients and 5 healthy controls were collected for DNA methylation profiling, using Illumina Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip. Mass spectrograph validation of identified differently methylated genes was conducted using independent samples of 4 KBD patients and 3 healthy controls, together with a previous sample of 2743 Han Chinese individuals of GWAS study for KBD and a study of 697 normal subjects for meQTLs annotation datasets. KBD GWAS single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and normal meQTLs SNPs were integrated with DNA methylation profiles of KBD articular cartilage to identify genetic control (GC) genes of DNA methylation for KBD. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) was performed to validate the mRNA expression of several identified candidate genes.
A total of 162 CpG sites, 253 SNPs, and 123 GC genes for KBD were identified. Enrichment analysis detected 642 marked GO terms and 19 KEGG pathways (P < 0.05). Six potential key GC genes were conducted for qPCR experiment (ERG, MN1, MITF, WISP1, TRIO, and NOSTRIN).
The results suggest that GC genes of DNA methylation may lead to the erosion of cartilage in KBD, which may help us in understanding the epigenetic alteration of KBD.