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Hypomethylation of the paternally inherited LRRTM1 promoter linked to schizophrenia

Brucato, N., DeLisi, L. E., Fisher, S. E., & Francks, C. (2014). Hypomethylation of the paternally inherited LRRTM1 promoter linked to schizophrenia. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 165(7), 555-563. doi:10.1002/ajmg.b.32258.
Epigenetic effects on psychiatric traits remain relatively under-studied, and it remains unclear what the sizes of individual epigenetic effects may be, or how they vary between different clinical populations. The gene LRRTM1 (chromosome 2p12) has previously been linked and associated with schizophrenia in a parent-of-origin manner in a set of affected siblings (LOD = 4.72), indirectly suggesting a disruption of paternal imprinting at this locus in these families. From the same set of siblings that originally showed strong linkage at this locus, we analyzed 99 individuals using 454-bisulfite sequencing, from whole blood DNA, to measure the level of DNA methylation in the promoter region of LRRTM1. We also assessed seven additional loci that would be informative to compare. Paternal identity-by-descent sharing at LRRTM1, within sibling pairs, was linked to their similarity of methylation at the gene's promoter. Reduced methylation at the promoter showed a significant association with schizophrenia. Sibling pairs concordant for schizophrenia showed more similar methylation levels at the LRRTM1 promoter than diagnostically discordant pairs. The alleles of common SNPs spanning the locus did not explain this epigenetic linkage, which can therefore be considered as largely independent of DNA sequence variation and would not be detected in standard genetic association analysis. Our data suggest that hypomethylation at the LRRTM1 promoter, particularly of the paternally inherited allele, was a risk factor for the development of schizophrenia in this set of siblings affected with familial schizophrenia, and that had previously showed linkage at this locus in an affected-sib-pair context.
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