Dysregulated DNA methylation in the pathogenesis of Fabry disease

Jin Song Shen, Uthra Balaji, Kunitoshi Shigeyasu, Yoshinaga Okugawa, Siamak Jabbarzadeh-Tabrizi, Taniqua S. Day, Erland Arning, John Marshall, Seng H. Cheng, Jinghua Gu, Raphael Schiffmann, Teodoro Bottiglieri, Ajay Goel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fabry disease is an X-linked lysosomal storage disorder caused by a deficiency of α-galactosidase A and subsequent accumulation of glycosphingolipids with terminal α-D-galactosyl residues. The molecular process through which this abnormal metabolism of glycosphingolipids causes multisystem dysfunction in Fabry disease is not fully understood. We sought to determine whether dysregulated DNA methylation plays a role in the development of this disease. In the present study, using isogenic cellular models derived from Fabry patient endothelial cells, we tested whether manipulation of α-galactosidase A activity and glycosphingolipid metabolism affects DNA methylation. Bisulfite pyrosequencing revealed that changes in α-galactosidase A activity were associated with significantly altered DNA methylation in the androgen receptor promoter, and this effect was highly CpG loci-specific. Methylation array studies showed that α-galactosidase A activity and glycosphingolipid levels were associated with differential methylation of numerous CpG sites throughout the genome. We identified 15 signaling pathways that may be susceptible to methylation alterations in Fabry disease. By incorporating RNA sequencing data, we identified 21 genes that have both differential mRNA expression and methylation. Upregulated expression of collagen type IV alpha 1 and alpha 2 genes correlated with decreased methylation of these two genes. Methionine levels were elevated in Fabry patient cells and Fabry mouse tissues, suggesting that a perturbed methionine cycle contributes to the observed dysregulated methylation patterns. In conclusion, this study provides evidence that α-galactosidase A deficiency and glycosphingolipid storage may affect DNA methylation homeostasis and highlights the importance of epigenetics in the pathogenesis of Fabry disease and, possibly, of other lysosomal storage disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100919
JournalMolecular Genetics and Metabolism Reports
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Deoxygalactonojirimycin
  • DNA methylation
  • Fabry disease
  • Globotriaosylceramide
  • Substrate reduction therapy
  • α-Galactosidase A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology


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