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A stage-scanning laser confocal microscope and protocol for DNA methylation sequencing

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DOI: 10.4236/jbise.2010.35069    4,165 Downloads   7,893 Views Citations


Recent understanding of the role of epigenetic regulation in health and disease has necessitated the development of newer and efficient methods to map the methylation pattern of target gene. In this article we report construction of a stage-scanning laser confocal microscope (SLCM) and associated protocol that determines the methylation status of target gene. We have adapted restricted Sanger’s sequencing where fluorescine labeled primers and dideoxy guanine fraction alone are used for target amplification and termination at cytosine positions. Amplified ssDNA bands are separated in 6% denaturing PAGE and scanned using SLCM to sequence the positions of methylated cytosines. We demonstrate that our me- thodology can detect < 100 femtomoles of DNA, and resolve the position of cytosine within ± 2 nucleotide. In a calibration run using a designer DNA of 99 bases, our methodology had resolved all the 11 cytosine positions of the DNA. We have further demonstrated the utility of apparatus by mapping methylation status in the Exon-1 region of a gene, E-Cadherin, in the plasma DNA sample of a healthy subject. We believe our approach constitute a low cost alternative to conventional DNA sequencers and can help develop methylation based DNA biomarkers for the diagnosis of disease and in therapeutics.

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Vaishnavi, V. , Varghese, L. and Ali, B. (2010) A stage-scanning laser confocal microscope and protocol for DNA methylation sequencing. Journal of Biomedical Science and Engineering, 3, 496-500. doi: 10.4236/jbise.2010.35069.

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