DNA methylation patterns at sweet taste transducing genes are associated with BMI and carbohydrate intake in an adult population
Individual differences in taste perception may influence appetite, dietary intakes, and subsequently, disease risk. Correlations of DNA methylation patterns at taste transducing genes with BMI and dietary intakes were studied. A nutriepigenomic analysis within the Methyl Epigenome Network Association (MENA) project was conducted in 474 adults. DNA methylation in peripheral white blood cells was analyzed by a microarray approach. KEGG pathway analyses were performed concerning the characterization and discrimination of genes involved in the taste transduction pathway. Adjusted FDR values (p < 0.0001) were used to select those CpGs that showed best correlation with BMI. A total of 29 CpGs at taste transducing genes met the FDR criteria. However, only 12 CpGs remained statistically significant after linear regression analyses adjusted for age and sex. These included cg15743657 (TAS1R2), cg02743674 (TRPM5), cg01790523 (SCN9A), cg15947487 (CALHM1), cg11658986 (ADCY6), cg04149773 (ADCY6), cg02841941 (P2RY1), cg02315111 (P2RX2), cg08273233 (HTR1E), cg14523238 (GABBR2), cg12315353 (GABBR1) and cg05579652 (CACNA1C). Interestingly, most of them were implicated in the sweet taste signaling pathway, except CACNA1C (sour taste). In addition, TAS1R2 methylation at cg15743657 was strongly correlated with total energy (p < 0.0001) and carbohydrate intakes (p < 0.0001). This study suggests that methylation in genes related to sweet taste could be an epigenetic mechanism associated with obesity.