Supplementary Material for: Impaired Regulation of ALDH2 Protein Expression Revealing a Yet Unknown Epigenetic Impact of rs886205 on Specific Methylation of a Negative Regulatory Promoter Region in Alcohol-Dependent Patients

Acetaldehyde, the carcinogenic metabolite of ethanol known to provoke aversive symptoms of alcohol consumption, is predominantly eliminated by aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2). Reduced ALDH2 activity correlates with low alcohol tolerance and low risk for alcohol dependence. The ALDH2 promoter polymorphism rs886205 (A>G) is associated with decreased promoter activity, but a molecular mechanism and allele-dependent ALDH2 protein expression has not been described yet. On the basis of allele-dependent epigenetic effects, we analyzed the rs886205 genotype, methylation rates of cytosine-phosphatidyl-guanine (CpG)-sites within a regulatory promoter region and ALDH2 protein levels in 82 alcohol-dependent patients during a 2-week withdrawal and compared them to 34 matched controls. Patients without the G-allele of rs886205 showed higher methylation of the promoter region than controls and readily adapted epigenetically as well as on protein level during withdrawal, while patients with the G-allele displayed retarded methylation readjustment and no change in ALDH2 protein levels. Our data provide novel insights into an unknown genetic-epigenetic interaction, revealing impaired ALDH2 protein expression in patients with the G-allele of rs886205. Additionally, we checked for an association between rs886205 and protection against alcohol dependence and found a trend association between the G-allele and protection against alcohol dependence that needs replication in a larger Caucasian cohort.