Biological pathways leading from ANGPTL8 to Diabetes Mellitus: a co-expression network based analysis

Amnah Siddiqa, Elisa Cirillo, Samar H. K. Tareen, Amjad Ali, Martina Kutmon, Lars M. T. Eijssen, Jamil Ahmad*, Chris T. Evelo, Susan L. Coort

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Angiopoietin like protein 8 (ANGPTL8) is a newly identified hormone with unique nature due to its ability to regulate both glucose and lipid metabolic pathways. It is characterized as an important molecular player of insulin induced nutrient storage and utilization pathway during fasting to re-feeding metabolic transition. Several studies have contributed to increase our knowledge regarding its function and mechanism of action. Moreover, its altered expression levels have been observed in Insulin Resistance, Diabetes Mellitus (Types I & II) and Non Alcohlic Fatty Liver Disease emphasizing its assessment as a drug target. However, there is still a great deal of information that remains to be investigated including its associated biological processes, partner proteins in these processes, its regulators and its association with metabolic pathogenesis. In the current study, the analysis of a transcriptomic data set was performed for functional assessment of ANGPTL8 in liver. Weighted Gene Co-expression Network Analysis coupled with pathway analysis tools was performed to identify genes that are significantly co-expressed with ANGPTL8 in liver and investigate their presence in biological pathways. Gene ontology term enrichment analysis was performed to select the gene ontology classes that over-represent the hepatic ANGPTL8-co-expressed genes. Moreover, the presence of diabetes linked SNPs within the genes set co-expressed with ANGPTL8 was investigated. The co-expressed genes of ANGPTL8 identified in this study (n = 460) provides narrowed down list of molecular targets which are either co-regulated with it and/or might be regulation partners at different levels of interaction. These results are coherent with previously demonstrated roles and regulators of ANGPTL8. Specifically, thirteen co-expressed genes (MAPK8, CYP3A4, PIK3R2, PIK3R4,PRKAB2, G6PC, MAP3K11, FLOT1, PIK3C2G, SHC1, SLC16A2, and RAPGEF1) are also present in the literature curated pathway of ANGPTL8 VVP3915(1)). Moreover, the gene-SNP analysis of highly associated biological processes with ANGPTL8 revealed significant genetic signals associated to Diabetes Mellitus and similar phenotypic traits. It provides meaningful insights on the influencing genes involved and co-expressed in these pathways. Findings of this study have implications in functional characterization of ANGPTL8 with emphasis on the identified genes and pathways and their possible involvement in the pathogenesis of Diabetes Mellitus and Insulin Resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1841
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in physiology
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2018


  • Co-expression network analysis
  • transcriptomics data analysis
  • diabetes mellitus
  • wikiPathways
  • GENE

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