Mouse-human experimental epigenetic analysis unmasks dietary targets and genetic liability for diabetic phenotypes

Michael L. Multhaup, Marcus M. Seldin, Andrew E. Jaffe, Xia Lei, Henriette Kirchner, Prosenjit Mondal, Yuanyuan Li, Varenka Rodriguez, Alexander Drong, Mehboob Hussain, Cecilia Lindgren, Mark McCarthy, Erik Näslund, Juleen R. Zierath, G. William Wong, Andrew P. Feinberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Using a functional approach to investigate the epigenetics of type 2 diabetes (T2D), we combine three lines of evidence - diet-induced epigenetic dysregulation in mouse, epigenetic conservation in humans, and T2D clinical risk evidence - to identify genes implicated in T2D pathogenesis through epigenetic mechanisms related to obesity. Beginning with dietary manipulation of genetically homogeneous mice, we identify differentially DNA-methylated genomic regions. We then replicate these results in adipose samples from lean and obese patients pre- and post-Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, identifying regions where both the location and direction of methylation change are conserved. These regions overlap with 27 genetic T2D risk loci, only one of which was deemed significant by GWAS alone. Functional analysis of genes associated with these regions revealed four genes with roles in insulin resistance, demonstrating the potential general utility of this approach for complementing conventional human genetic studies by integrating cross-species epigenomics and clinical genetic risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-149
Number of pages12
JournalCell Metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 6 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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