Systems Biology


Protocols in Current Issue
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2 Q&A 3268 Views Nov 5, 2021

Characterizing the molecular mechanisms regulating gene expression is crucial for understanding the regulatory processes underlying physiological responses to environmental and developmental signals in eukaryotes. The covalent modification of histones contributes to the compaction levels of chromatin, as well as the recruitment of the transcriptional machinery to specific loci, facilitating metastable changes in gene activity. ChIP-seq (Chromatin Immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing) has become the gold standard method for determining histone modification profiles among different organisms, tissues, and genotypes. In the current protocol, we describe a highly robust method for performing ChIP-seq of histone modifications in Arabidopsis thaliana plantlets. Besides its robustness, this method uses in-house-prepared buffers for chromatin extraction, immunoprecipitation, washing, and elusion, making it cost-effective in contrast to commercial kits.

0 Q&A 1823 Views Sep 20, 2021

In the field of chromatin biology, a major goal of understanding the roles of histone post-translational modifications is to identify the proteins and domains that recognize these modifications. Synthetic histone peptides containing one or more modifications are a key tool to probe these interactions in pull-down assays with recombinant proteins or cell lysates. Building on these approaches, the binding specificity of a protein of interest can be screened against many histone peptides in parallel using a peptide array. In this protocol, we describe the expression and purification of a recombinant protein of interest in bacteria, followed by an assay for binding to histone post-translational modifications using a commercially available histone peptide array. The purification uses a versatile dual-tagging and cleavage strategy and equipment commonly available in a molecular biology laboratory.

Graphic abstract:

Overview of protocol for purifying recombinant protein and hybridizing to a histone peptide array.

0 Q&A 4970 Views Jun 5, 2021

We previously introduced Cleavage Under Targets & Tagmentation (CUT&Tag), an epigenomic profiling method in which antibody tethering of the Tn5 transposase to a chromatin epitope of interest maps specific chromatin features in small samples and single cells. With CUT&Tag, intact cells or nuclei are permeabilized, followed by successive addition of a primary antibody, a secondary antibody, and a chimeric Protein A-Transposase fusion protein that binds to the antibody. Addition of Mg++ activates the transposase and inserts sequencing adapters into adjacent DNA in situ. We have since adapted CUT&Tag to also map chromatin accessibility by simply modifying the transposase activation conditions when using histone H3K4me2, H3K4me3, or Serine-5-phosphorylated RNA Polymerase II antibodies. Using these antibodies, we redirect the tagmentation of accessible DNA sites to produce chromatin accessibility maps with exceptionally high signal-to-noise and resolution. All steps from nuclei to amplified sequencing-ready libraries are performed in single PCR tubes using non-toxic reagents and inexpensive equipment, making our simplified strategy for simultaneous chromatin profiling and accessibility mapping suitable for the lab, home workbench, or classroom.

0 Q&A 10733 Views Feb 5, 2017
Chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by massively parallel sequencing (ChIP-seq) is a powerful technology to profile genome-wide chromatin modification patterns and is increasingly being used to study the molecular mechanisms of brain diseases such as drug addiction. This protocol discusses the typical procedures involved in ChIP-seq data generation, bioinformatic analysis, and interpretation of results, using a chronic cocaine treatment study as a template. We describe an experimental design that induces significant chromatin modifications in mouse brain, and the use of ChIP-seq to derive novel information about the chromatin regulatory mechanisms involved. We describe the bioinformatic methods used to preprocess the sequencing data, generate global enrichment profiles for specific histone modifications, identify enriched genomic loci, find differential modification sites, and perform functional analyses. These ChIP-seq analyses provide many details into the chromatin changes that are induced in brain by chronic exposure to cocaine, and generates an invaluable source of information to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying drug addiction. Our protocol provides a standardized procedure for data analysis and can serve as a starting point for any other ChIP-seq projects.

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