Systems Biology


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1 Q&A 2062 Views May 5, 2022

DNA methylation is a conserved chemical modification, by which methyl groups are added to the cytosine of DNA molecules. Methylation can influence gene expression without changing the sequence of a particular gene. This epigenetic effect is an intriguing phenomenon that has puzzled biologists for years. By probing the temporal and spatial patterns of DNA methylation in genomes, it is possible to learn about the biological role of cytosine methylation, as well as its involvement in gene regulation and transposon silencing. Advances in whole-genome sequencing have led to the widespread adoption of methods that examine genome-wide patterns of DNA methylation. Achieving sufficient sequencing depth in these types of experiments is costly, particularly for pilot studies in organisms with large genome sizes, or incomplete reference genomes. To overcome this issue, assays to determine site-specific DNA methylation can be used. Although often used, these assays are rarely described in detail. Here, we describe a pipeline that applies traditional TA cloning, Sanger sequencing, and online tools to examine DNA methylation. We provide an example of how to use this protocol to examine the pattern of DNA methylation at a specific transposable element in maize.

0 Q&A 5761 Views Mar 5, 2022

In recent years, DNA methylation research has been accelerated by the advent of nanopore sequencers. However, read length has been limited by the constraints of base conversion using the bisulfite method, making analysis of chromatin content difficult. The read length of the previous method combining bisulfite conversion and long-read sequencing was ~1.5 kb, even using targeted PCR. In this study, we have improved read length (~5 kb), by converting unmethylated cytosines to uracils with APOBEC enzymes, to reduce DNA fragmentation. The converted DNA was then sequenced using a PromethION nanopore sequencer. We have also developed a new analysis pipeline that accounts for base conversions, which are not present in conventional nanopore sequencing, as well as errors produced by nanopore sequencing.

0 Q&A 2853 Views Jun 5, 2021

DNA methylation in gene promoters plays a major role in gene expression regulation, and alterations in methylation patterns have been associated with several diseases. In this context, different software suites and statistical methods have been proposed to analyze differentially methylated positions and regions. Among them, the novel statistical method implemented in the mCSEA R package proposed a new framework to detect subtle, but consistent, methylation differences. Here, we provide an easy-to-use pipeline covering all the necessary steps to detect differentially methylated promoters with mCSEA from Illumina 450K and EPIC methylation BeadChips data. This protocol covers the download of data from public repositories, quality control, data filtering and normalization, estimation of cell type proportions, and statistical analysis. In addition, we show the procedure to compare disease vs. normal phenotypes, obtaining differentially methylated regions including promoters or CpG Islands. The entire protocol is based on R programming language, which can be used in any operating system and does not require advanced programming skills.

0 Q&A 7280 Views Mar 20, 2018
DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that regulates plant development (Law and Jacobsen, 2010). Whole genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) is a state-of-the-art method for profiling genome-wide methylation patterns with single-base resolution (Cokus et al., 2008). However, for an organism with a large genome, e.g., the 2.1 Gb genome of maize, WGBS may be very expensive. Reduced representation bisulfite sequencing (RRBS) has been developed in mammalian studies (Smith et al., 2009). By digesting the genome with MspI with a size selection range of approximately 40-220 bp, CG-rich regions covering only ~1% of the human genome can be specifically sequenced. However, unlike mammalian genomes, plant genomes do not exhibit clear CpG islands. Therefore the original RRBS protocol is not suitable for plants. Accordingly, we developed an in silico pipeline to select specific enzymes to generate a region of interest (ROI)-enriched, e.g., promoter-enriched, reduced representation genome in plants (Hsu et al., 2017). By digesting the maize genome with MseI and selecting 40-300 bp segments, we sequenced about one-fourth of the maize genome while preserving 84.3% of the promoter information. The protocol has been successfully established in maize and can be broadly used in any genome. Our in silico pipeline is combined with the RRBS library preparation protocol, allowing for the computational analysis and experimental validation.
0 Q&A 19598 Views Feb 20, 2015
This protocol describes whole genome bisulfite-sequencing library preparation from plant tissue and subsequent data analysis. Allele-specific methylation analysis and genome-wide identification of differentially methylated regions are additional features of the analysis procedure.
0 Q&A 13847 Views Dec 20, 2013
DNA methylation is the most studied epigenetic modification, which involves the addition of a methyl group to the carbon-5 position of cytosine residues in DNA. DNA methylation is important for the regulation of gene expression. Bisulfite sequencing is the gold standard technique for determining genome-wide DNA methylation profiles in eukaryotes. This protocol describes how to prepare libraries of genomic DNA for whole-genome bisulfite sequencing in Arabidopsis, which could be adapted for use in other plant species.
0 Q&A 33660 Views Aug 20, 2013
Detection of low copies of methylated DNA targets in clinical specimens is challenging. The quantitative Methylation-Specific PCR (qMSP) assays were designed to specifically amplify bisulphite-converted methylated DNA target sequences in the presence of an excess of unmethylated counterpart sequences. These qMSP assays are real-time PCR assays utilizing, sequence-specific primers and an intervening, also sequence specific, Taqman probe to cover an amplicon of approximately 100 bp in length. The use of Taqman probes bearing a minor groove binding (MGB) allow for the use of shorter probes and therefore facilitate design and significantly increases the analytical specificity of the reaction. In the context of the biomarker discovery program of the Liverpool Lung Project (LLP), ten gene promoters were selected. qMSP assays were developed, validated and used to screen 655 bronchial washings from patients with lung cancer and age/sex matched controls with non malignant lung disease (Nikolaidis et al., 2012).
0 Q&A 10673 Views Jun 5, 2013
Transposable elements (TEs) are a major component of all genomes, thus the epigenetic mechanisms controlling their activity is an important field of study. Cytosine methylation is one of the factors regulating the transcription and transposition of TEs, alongside Histone modifications and small RNAs. Adapter PCR-based methods [such as Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP)] have been successfully used as high-throughput methods to genotype un-sequenced genomes. Here we use methylation-sensitive restriction enzymes, in combination with PCR on adaptor-ligated restriction fragments, to evaluate epigenetic changes in TEs between genomic DNA samples.
0 Q&A 14646 Views May 20, 2013
The Infinium Human Methylation 450 BeadChip technology allows the rapid quantitative DNA methylation analysis of more than 485,000 CpG dinucleotides located across the genome. The method utilizes sodium bisulfite treatment of genomic DNA to convert unmethylated cytosine residues into uracils whereas methylated cytosines remain unchanged. Modified DNA is then whole genome amplified, fragmented and hybridized to locus-specific oligomer probes linked to individual beads on a BeadChip. Hybridization is followed by single-base extension of the oligomer with a labeled nucleotide. The BeadChip is subsequently fluorescently stained and scanned to measure the intensities of the beads corresponding to the unmethylated and methylated CpG sites.

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