Image_2_m6A Regulators in Human Adipose Tissue - Depot-Specificity and Correlation With Obesity.jpg
N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is one of the most abundant post-transcriptional modifications on mRNA influencing mRNA metabolism. There is emerging evidence for its implication in metabolic disease. No comprehensive analyses on gene expression of m6A regulators in human adipose tissue, especially in paired adipose tissue depots, and its correlation with clinical variables were reported so far. We hypothesized that inter-depot specific gene expression of m6A regulators may differentially correlate with clinical variables related to obesity and fat distribution.Methods
We extracted intra-individually paired gene expression data (omental visceral adipose tissue (OVAT) N=48; subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) N=56) of m6A regulators from an existing microarray dataset. We also measured gene expression in another sample set of paired OVAT and SAT (N=46) using RT-qPCR. Finally, we extracted existing gene expression data from peripheral mononuclear blood cells (PBMCs) and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in METTL3 and YTHDF3 from genome wide data from the Sorbs population (N=1049). The data were analysed for differential gene expression between OVAT and SAT; and for association with obesity and clinical variables. We further tested for association of SNP markers with gene expression and clinical traits.Results
In adipose tissue we observed that several m6A regulators (WTAP, VIRMA, YTHDC1 and ALKBH5) correlate with obesity and clinical variables. Moreover, we found adipose tissue depot specific gene expression for METTL3, WTAP, VIRMA, FTO and YTHDC1. In PBMCs, we identified ALKBH5 and YTHDF3 correlated with obesity. Genetic markers in METTL3 associate with BMI whilst SNPs in YTHDF3 are associated with its gene expression.Conclusions
Our data show that expression of m6A regulators correlates with obesity, is adipose tissue depot-specific and related to clinical traits. Genetic variation in m6A regulators adds an additional layer of variability to the functional consequences.