In our futuristic world, personalization is a standard. While your watch, phone, and laptop, may be accentuated by personalizations that keep tabs on you, your methylome may not be so lucky. Thankfully, the research group of Michael Snyder has broadcast some insight of the most personal nature from their lab in the city of the future (Stanford, California). By applying a continuous barrage of personal epigenomics to Synder himself, the Snyderome revealed that blood DNA methylation anticipates a chronic condition, while the transcriptome exposes acute conditions.
In this sequel to their previous longitudinal multiple omics study, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from frequent blood draws were subjected to a combination of whole genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) and RNA-seq. Over a three-year period, the team generated 28 methylomes and 57 transcriptomes. During this time, Snyder’s blood glucose rose to diabetic levels twice over a period of months and he also caught six separate viral infections (cold or flu) over the course of several days each.
Here’s what happened when the team got personal:
- Longitudinally and relative to each other, the methylome appears stable and modest, while the transcriptome is dynamic and dramatic, a situation exemplified during disease:
- Differentially methylated regions (DMRs) related to periods of chronic diabetic glucose elevation can be detected between 90 to 80 days before the glucose elevation itself
- Differentially expressed genes with immune profiles appear during acute viral infections
- From the basic science perspective, they identified 11-fold more allelic differentially methylated regions (aDMRs) than previous studies, where they noted that aDMRs tend to be stable over time and co-located with genes
Snyder shares, “We’re thinking that the regulatory sequence of these metabolic genes are being perturbed, and that’s causing dysregulation in my glucose, contributing to my diabetes. So because it’s occurring a little bit before, it’s a sign that the methyl changes might actually be somewhat responsible for, or contribute to the dysregulation of glucose.”
Despite this level of personalization, personal methylomics isn’t just for one person and the Snyder lab is now analyzing data from cohort of 100 people, although in less “extreme detail”.
Learn how to get personal with your methylome over at Nature Medicine, November 2018