Gene expression networks regulated by human personality

Coral del Val, Elisa Díaz de la Guardia-Bolívar, Igor Zwir, Pashupati P. Mishra, Alberto Mesa, Ramiro Salas, Guillermo F. Poblete, Gabriel de Erausquin, Emma Raitoharju, Mika Kähönen, Olli Raitakari, Liisa Keltikangas-Järvinen, Terho Lehtimäki, Claude Robert Cloninger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Genome-wide association studies of human personality have been carried out, but transcription of the whole genome has not been studied in relation to personality in humans. We collected genome-wide expression profiles of adults to characterize the regulation of expression and function in genes related to human personality. We devised an innovative multi-omic approach to network analysis to identify the key control elements and interactions in multi-modular networks. We identified sets of transcribed genes that were co-expressed in specific brain regions with genes known to be associated with personality. Then we identified the minimum networks for the co-localized genes using bioinformatic resources. Subjects were 459 adults from the Young Finns Study who completed the Temperament and Character Inventory and provided peripheral blood for genomic and transcriptomic analysis. We identified an extrinsic network of 45 regulatory genes from seed genes in brain regions involved in self-regulation of emotional reactivity to extracellular stimuli (e.g., self-regulation of anxiety) and an intrinsic network of 43 regulatory genes from seed genes in brain regions involved in self-regulation of interpretations of meaning (e.g., production of concepts and language). We discovered that interactions between the two networks were coordinated by a control hub of 3 miRNAs and 3 protein-coding genes shared by both. Interactions of the control hub with proteins and ncRNAs identified more than 100 genes that overlap directly with known personality-related genes and more than another 4000 genes that interact indirectly. We conclude that the six-gene hub is the crux of an integrative network that orchestrates information-transfer throughout a multi-modular system of over 4000 genes enriched in liquid-liquid-phase-separation (LLPS)-related RNAs, diverse transcription factors, and hominid-specific miRNAs and lncRNAs. Gene expression networks associated with human personality regulate neuronal plasticity, epigenesis, and adaptive functioning by the interactions of salience and meaning in self-awareness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMolecular psychiatry
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology


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