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1.  Microplate-based platform for combined chromatin and DNA methylation immunoprecipitation assays 
BMC Molecular Biology  2011;12:49.
The processes that compose expression of a given gene are far more complex than previously thought presenting unprecedented conceptual and mechanistic challenges that require development of new tools. Chromatin structure, which is regulated by DNA methylation and histone modification, is at the center of gene regulation. Immunoprecipitations of chromatin (ChIP) and methylated DNA (MeDIP) represent a major achievement in this area that allow researchers to probe chromatin modifications as well as specific protein-DNA interactions in vivo and to estimate the density of proteins at specific sites genome-wide. Although a critical component of chromatin structure, DNA methylation has often been studied independently of other chromatin events and transcription.
To allow simultaneous measurements of DNA methylation with other genomic processes, we developed and validated a simple and easy-to-use high throughput microplate-based platform for analysis of DNA methylation. Compared to the traditional beads-based MeDIP the microplate MeDIP was more sensitive and had lower non-specific binding. We integrated the MeDIP method with a microplate ChIP assay which allows measurements of both DNA methylation and histone marks at the same time, Matrix ChIP-MeDIP platform. We illustrated several applications of this platform to relate DNA methylation, with chromatin and transcription events at selected genes in cultured cells, human cancer and in a model of diabetic kidney disease.
The high throughput capacity of Matrix ChIP-MeDIP to profile tens and potentially hundreds of different genomic events at the same time as DNA methylation represents a powerful platform to explore complex genomic mechanism at selected genes in cultured cells and in whole tissues. In this regard, Matrix ChIP-MeDIP should be useful to complement genome-wide studies where the rich chromatin and transcription database resources provide fruitful foundation to pursue mechanistic, functional and diagnostic information at genes of interest in health and disease.
PMCID: PMC3247195  PMID: 22098709
2.  Resources for methylome analysis suitable for gene knockout studies of potential epigenome modifiers 
GigaScience  2012;1:3.
Methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) is a popular enrichment based method and can be combined with sequencing (termed MeDIP-seq) to interrogate the methylation status of cytosines across entire genomes. However, quality control and analysis of MeDIP-seq data have remained to be a challenge.
We report genome-wide DNA methylation profiles of wild type (wt) and mutant mouse cells, comprising 3 biological replicates of Thymine DNA glycosylase (Tdg) knockout (KO) embryonic stem cells (ESCs), in vitro differentiated neural precursor cells (NPCs) and embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). The resulting 18 methylomes were analysed with MeDUSA (Methylated DNA Utility for Sequence Analysis), a novel MeDIP-seq computational analysis pipeline for the identification of differentially methylated regions (DMRs). The observed increase of hypermethylation in MEF promoter-associated CpG islands supports a previously proposed role for Tdg in the protection of regulatory regions from epigenetic silencing. Further analysis of genes and regions associated with the DMRs by gene ontology, pathway, and ChIP analyses revealed further insights into Tdg function, including an association of TDG with low-methylated distal regulatory regions.
We demonstrate that MeDUSA is able to detect both large-scale changes between cells from different stages of differentiation and also small but significant changes between the methylomes of cells that only differ in the KO of a single gene. These changes were validated utilising publicly available datasets and confirm TDG's function in the protection of regulatory regions from epigenetic silencing.
PMCID: PMC3617451  PMID: 23587164
Methylome; MeDIP-seq; Epigenetics; Epigenomics; DNA methylation; Computational pipeline; MeDUSA
3.  A Comparison of the Whole Genome Approach of MeDIP-Seq to the Targeted Approach of the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip® for Methylome Profiling 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50233.
DNA methylation is one of the most studied epigenetic marks in the human genome, with the result that the desire to map the human methylome has driven the development of several methods to map DNA methylation on a genomic scale. Our study presents the first comparison of two of these techniques - the targeted approach of the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip® with the immunoprecipitation and sequencing-based method, MeDIP-seq. Both methods were initially validated with respect to bisulfite sequencing as the gold standard and then assessed in terms of coverage, resolution and accuracy. The regions of the methylome that can be assayed by both methods and those that can only be assayed by one method were determined and the discovery of differentially methylated regions (DMRs) by both techniques was examined. Our results show that the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChip® and MeDIP-seq show a good positive correlation (Spearman correlation of 0.68) on a genome-wide scale and can both be used successfully to determine differentially methylated loci in RefSeq genes, CpG islands, shores and shelves. MeDIP-seq however, allows a wider interrogation of methylated regions of the human genome, including thousands of non-RefSeq genes and repetitive elements, all of which may be of importance in disease. In our study MeDIP-seq allowed the detection of 15,709 differentially methylated regions, nearly twice as many as the array-based method (8070), which may result in a more comprehensive study of the methylome.
PMCID: PMC3510246  PMID: 23209683
4.  Genome-wide analysis of aberrant methylation in human breast cancer cells using methyl-DNA immunoprecipitation combined with high-throughput sequencing 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:137.
Cancer cells undergo massive alterations to their DNA methylation patterns that result in aberrant gene expression and malignant phenotypes. However, the mechanisms that underlie methylome changes are not well understood nor is the genomic distribution of DNA methylation changes well characterized.
Here, we performed methylated DNA immunoprecipitation combined with high-throughput sequencing (MeDIP-seq) to obtain whole-genome DNA methylation profiles for eight human breast cancer cell (BCC) lines and for normal human mammary epithelial cells (HMEC). The MeDIP-seq analysis generated non-biased DNA methylation maps by covering almost the entire genome with sufficient depth and resolution. The most prominent feature of the BCC lines compared to HMEC was a massively reduced methylation level particularly in CpG-poor regions. While hypomethylation did not appear to be associated with particular genomic features, hypermethylation preferentially occurred at CpG-rich gene-related regions independently of the distance from transcription start sites. We also investigated methylome alterations during epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in MCF7 cells. EMT induction was associated with specific alterations to the methylation patterns of gene-related CpG-rich regions, although overall methylation levels were not significantly altered. Moreover, approximately 40% of the epithelial cell-specific methylation patterns in gene-related regions were altered to those typical of mesenchymal cells, suggesting a cell-type specific regulation of DNA methylation.
This study provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the methylome of human mammary cell lines and has produced novel insights into the mechanisms of methylome alteration during tumorigenesis and the interdependence between DNA methylome alterations and morphological changes.
PMCID: PMC2838848  PMID: 20181289
5.  Assessing the efficiency and significance of Methylated DNA Immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) assays in using in vitro methylated genomic DNA 
BMC Research Notes  2010;3:240.
DNA methylation contributes to the regulation of gene expression during development and cellular differentiation. The recently developed Methylated DNA ImmunoPrecipitation (MeDIP) assay allows a comprehensive analysis of this epigenetic mark at the genomic level in normal and disease-derived cells. However, estimating the efficiency of the MeDIP technique is difficult without previous knowledge of the methylation status of a given cell population. Attempts to circumvent this problem have involved the use of in vitro methylated DNA in parallel to the investigated samples. Taking advantage of this stratagem, we sought to improve the sensitivity of the approach and to assess potential biases resulting from DNA amplification and hybridization procedures using MeDIP samples.
We performed MeDIP assays using in vitro methylated DNA, with or without previous DNA amplification, and hybridization to a human promoter array. We observed that CpG content at gene promoters indeed correlates strongly with the MeDIP signal obtained using in vitro methylated DNA, even when lowering significantly the amount of starting material. In analyzing MeDIP products that were subjected to whole genome amplification (WGA), we also revealed a strong bias against CpG-rich promoters during this amplification procedure, which may potentially affect the significance of the resulting data.
We illustrate the use of in vitro methylated DNA to assess the efficiency and accuracy of MeDIP procedures. We report that efficient and reproducible genome-wide data can be obtained via MeDIP experiments using relatively low amount of starting genomic DNA; and emphasize for the precaution that must be taken in data analysis when an additional DNA amplification step is required.
PMCID: PMC2949662  PMID: 20846371
6.  Systematic evaluation of genome-wide methylated DNA enrichment using a CpG island array 
BMC Genomics  2011;12:10.
Recent progress in high-throughput technologies has greatly contributed to the development of DNA methylation profiling. Although there are several reports that describe methylome detection of whole genome bisulfite sequencing, the high cost and heavy demand on bioinformatics analysis prevents its extensive application. Thus, current strategies for the study of mammalian DNA methylomes is still based primarily on genome-wide methylated DNA enrichment combined with DNA microarray detection or sequencing. Methylated DNA enrichment is a key step in a microarray based genome-wide methylation profiling study, and even for future high-throughput sequencing based methylome analysis.
In order to evaluate the sensitivity and accuracy of methylated DNA enrichment, we investigated and optimized a number of important parameters to improve the performance of several enrichment assays, including differential methylation hybridization (DMH), microarray-based methylation assessment of single samples (MMASS), and methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP). With advantages and disadvantages unique to each approach, we found that assays based on methylation-sensitive enzyme digestion and those based on immunoprecipitation detected different methylated DNA fragments, indicating that they are complementary in their relative ability to detect methylation differences.
Our study provides the first comprehensive evaluation for widely used methodologies for methylated DNA enrichment, and could be helpful for developing a cost effective approach for DNA methylation profiling.
PMCID: PMC3023747  PMID: 21211017
7.  AutoMeDIP-seq: A high-throughput, whole genome, DNA methylation assay 
Methods (San Diego, Calif.)  2010;52(3-13):223-231.
DNA methylation is an epigenetic mark linking DNA sequence and transcription regulation, and therefore plays an important role in phenotypic plasticity. The ideal whole genome methylation (methylome) assay should be accurate, affordable, high-throughput and agnostic with respect to genomic features. To this end, the methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) assay provides a good balance of these criteria. In this Methods paper, we present AutoMeDIP-seq, a technique that combines an automated MeDIP protocol with library preparation steps for subsequent second-generation sequencing. We assessed recovery of DNA sequences covering a range of CpG densities using in vitro methylated λ-DNA fragments (and their unmethylated counterparts) spiked-in against a background of human genomic DNA. We show that AutoMeDIP is more reliable than manual protocols, shows a linear recovery profile of fragments related to CpG density (R2 = 0.86), and that it is highly specific (>99%). AutoMeDIP-seq offers a competitive approach to high-throughput methylome analysis of medium to large cohorts.
PMCID: PMC2977854  PMID: 20385236
DNA methylation; Automation; Whole genome; High-throughput sequencing; MeDIP
8.  Methylated DNA Immunoprecipitation and Microarray-Based Analysis: Detection of DNA Methylation in Breast Cancer Cell Lines 
The methylated DNA immunoprecipitation microarray (MeDIP-chip) is a genome-wide, high-resolution approach to detect DNA methylation in whole genome or CpG (cytosine base followed by a guanine base) islands. The method utilizes anti-methylcytosine antibody to immunoprecipitate DNA that contains highly methylated CpG sites. Enriched methylated DNA can be interrogated using DNA microarrays or by massive parallel sequencing techniques. This combined approach allows researchers to rapidly identify methylated regions in a genome-wide manner, and compare DNA methylation patterns between two samples with diversely different DNA methylation status. MeDIP-chip has been applied successfully for analyses of methylated DNA in the different targets including animal and plant tissues (1, 2). Here we present a MeDIP-chip protocol that is routinely used in our laboratory, illustrated with specific examples from MeDIP-chip analysis of breast cancer cell lines. Potential technical pitfalls and solutions are also provided to serve as workflow guidelines.
PMCID: PMC2845920  PMID: 19763503
DNA methylation; epigenetics; MeDIP-chip; microarray; cancer
9.  Generation of a genomic tiling array of the human Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) and its application for DNA methylation analysis 
BMC Medical Genomics  2008;1:19.
The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is essential for human immunity and is highly associated with common diseases, including cancer. While the genetics of the MHC has been studied intensively for many decades, very little is known about the epigenetics of this most polymorphic and disease-associated region of the genome.
To facilitate comprehensive epigenetic analyses of this region, we have generated a genomic tiling array of 2 Kb resolution covering the entire 4 Mb MHC region. The array has been designed to be compatible with chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP), array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) and expression profiling, including of non-coding RNAs. The array comprises 7832 features, consisting of two replicates of both forward and reverse strands of MHC amplicons and appropriate controls.
Using MeDIP, we demonstrate the application of the MHC array for DNA methylation profiling and the identification of tissue-specific differentially methylated regions (tDMRs). Based on the analysis of two tissues and two cell types, we identified 90 tDMRs within the MHC and describe their characterisation.
A tiling array covering the MHC region was developed and validated. Its successful application for DNA methylation profiling indicates that this array represents a useful tool for molecular analyses of the MHC in the context of medical genomics.
PMCID: PMC2430202  PMID: 18513384
10.  Genome Wide Analysis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia Reveal Leukemia Specific Methylome and Subtype Specific Hypomethylation of Repeats 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33213.
Methylated DNA immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing (MeDIP-seq) has the potential to identify changes in DNA methylation important in cancer development. In order to understand the role of epigenetic modulation in the development of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) we have applied MeDIP-seq to the DNA of 12 AML patients and 4 normal bone marrows. This analysis revealed leukemia-associated differentially methylated regions that included gene promoters, gene bodies, CpG islands and CpG island shores. Two genes (SPHKAP and DPP6) with significantly methylated promoters were of interest and further analysis of their expression showed them to be repressed in AML. We also demonstrated considerable cytogenetic subtype specificity in the methylomes affecting different genomic features. Significantly distinct patterns of hypomethylation of certain interspersed repeat elements were associated with cytogenetic subtypes. The methylation patterns of members of the SINE family tightly clustered all leukemic patients with an enrichment of Alu repeats with a high CpG density (P<0.0001). We were able to demonstrate significant inverse correlation between intragenic interspersed repeat sequence methylation and gene expression with SINEs showing the strongest inverse correlation (R2 = 0.7). We conclude that the alterations in DNA methylation that accompany the development of AML affect not only the promoters, but also the non-promoter genomic features, with significant demethylation of certain interspersed repeat DNA elements being associated with AML cytogenetic subtypes. MeDIP-seq data were validated using bisulfite pyrosequencing and the Infinium array.
PMCID: PMC3315563  PMID: 22479372
11.  Alcohol exposure alters DNA methylation profiles in mouse embryos at early neurulation 
Alcohol exposure during development can cause variable neurofacial deficit and growth retardation known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). The mechanism underlying FASD is not fully understood. However, alcohol, which is known to affect methyl donor metabolism, may induce aberrant epigenetic changes contributing to FASD. Using a tightly controlled whole-embryo culture, we investigated the effect of alcohol exposure (88 mM) at early embryonic neurulation on genome-wide DNA methylation and gene expression in the C57BL/6 mouse. The DNA methylation landscape around promoter CpG islands at early mouse development was analyzed using MeDIP (methylated DNA immunoprecipitation) coupled with microarray (MeDIP-chip). At early neurulation, genes associated with high CpG promoters (HCP) had a lower ratio of methylation but a greater ratio of expression. Alcohol-induced alterations in DNA methylation were observed, particularly in genes on chromosomes 7, 10 and X; remarkably, a >10 fold increase in the number of genes with increased methylation on chromosomes 10 and X was observed in alcohol-exposed embryos with a neural tube defect phenotype compared to embryos without a neural tube defect. Significant changes in methylation were seen in imprinted genes, genes known to play roles in cell cycle, growth, apoptosis, cancer, and in a large number of genes associated with olfaction. Altered methylation was associated with significant (p < 0.01) changes in expression for 84 genes. Sequenom EpiTYPER DNA methylation analysis was used for validation of the MeDIP-chip data. Increased methylation of genes known to play a role in metabolism (Cyp4f13) and decreased methylation of genes associated with development (Nlgn3, Elavl2, Sox21 and Sim1), imprinting (Igf2r) and chromatin (Hist1h3d) was confirmed. In a mouse model for FASD, we show for the first time that alcohol exposure during early neurulation can induce aberrant changes in DNA methylation patterns with associated changes in gene expression, which together may contribute to the observed abnormal fetal development.
PMCID: PMC2805036  PMID: 20009564
fetal alcohol syndrome; epigenetics; MeDIP-chip; sequenom mass array; microarray; neural tube defect
12.  Methylated DNA Immunoprecipitation 
The identification of DNA methylation patterns is a common procedure in the study of epigenetics, as methylation is known to have significant effects on gene expression, and is involved with normal development as well as disease 1-4. Thus, the ability to discriminate between methylated DNA and non-methylated DNA is essential for generating methylation profiles for such studies. Methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) is an efficient technique for the extraction of methylated DNA from a sample of interest 5-7. A sample of as little as 200 ng of DNA is sufficient for the antibody, or immunoprecipitation (IP), reaction. DNA is sonicated into fragments ranging in size from 300-1000 bp, and is divided into immunoprecipitated (IP) and input (IN) portions. IP DNA is subsequently heat denatured and then incubated with anti-5'mC, allowing the monoclonal antibody to bind methylated DNA. After this, magnetic beads containing a secondary antibody with affinity for the primary antibody are added, and incubated. These bead-linked antibodies will bind the monoclonal antibody used in the first step. DNA bound to the antibody complex (methylated DNA) is separated from the rest of the DNA by using a magnet to pull the complexes out of solution. Several washes using IP buffer are then performed to remove the unbound, non-methylated DNA. The methylated DNA/antibody complexes are then digested with Proteinase K to digest the antibodies leaving only the methylated DNA intact. The enriched DNA is purified by phenol:chloroform extraction to remove the protein matter and then precipitated and resuspended in water for later use. PCR techniques can be used to validate the efficiency of the MeDIP procedure by analyzing the amplification products of IP and IN DNA for regions known to lack and known to contain methylated sequences. The purified methylated DNA can then be used for locus-specific (PCR) or genome-wide (microarray and sequencing) methylation studies, and is particularly useful when applied in conjunction with other research tools such as gene expression profiling and array comparative genome hybridization (CGH) 8. Further investigation into DNA methylation will lead to the discovery of new epigenetic targets, which in turn, may be useful in developing new therapeutic or prognostic research tools for diseases such as cancer that are characterized by aberrantly methylated DNA 2, 4, 9-11.
PMCID: PMC2763296  PMID: 19241501
13.  Identification and functional validation of HPV-mediated hypermethylation in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma 
Genome Medicine  2013;5(2):15.
Human papillomavirus-positive (HPV+) head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) represents a distinct clinical and epidemiological condition compared with HPV-negative (HPV-) HNSCC. To test the possible involvement of epigenetic modulation by HPV in HNSCC, we conducted a genome-wide DNA-methylation analysis.
Using laser-capture microdissection of 42 formalin-fixed paraffin wax-embedded (FFPE) HNSCCs, we generated DNA-methylation profiles of 18 HPV+ and 14 HPV- samples, using Infinium 450 k BeadArray technology. Methylation data were validated in two sets of independent HPV+/HPV- HNSCC samples (fresh-frozen samples and cell lines) using two independent methods (Infinium 450 k and whole-genome methylated DNA immunoprecipitation sequencing (MeDIP-seq)). For the functional analysis, an HPV- HNSCC cell line was transduced with lentiviral constructs containing the two HPV oncogenes (E6 and E7), and effects on methylation were assayed using the Infinium 450 k technology.
Results and discussion
Unsupervised clustering over the methylation variable positions (MVPs) with greatest variation showed that samples segregated in accordance with HPV status, but also that HPV+ tumors are heterogeneous. MVPs were significantly enriched at transcriptional start sites, leading to the identification of a candidate CpG island methylator phenotype in a sub-group of the HPV+ tumors. Supervised analysis identified a strong preponderance (87%) of MVPs towards hypermethylation in HPV+ HNSCC. Meta-analysis of our HNSCC and publicly available methylation data in cervical and lung cancers confirmed the observed DNA-methylation signature to be HPV-specific and tissue-independent. Grouping of MVPs into functionally more significant differentially methylated regions identified 43 hypermethylated promoter DMRs, including for three cadherins of the Polycomb group target genes. Integration with independent expression data showed strong negative correlation, especially for the cadherin gene-family members. Combinatorial ectopic expression of the two HPV oncogenes (E6 and E7) in an HPV- HNSCC cell line partially phenocopied the hypermethylation signature seen in HPV+ HNSCC tumors, and established E6 as the main viral effector gene.
Our data establish that archival FFPE tissue is very suitable for this type of methylome analysis, and suggest that HPV modulates the HNSCC epigenome through hypermethylation of Polycomb repressive complex 2 target genes such as cadherins, which are implicated in tumor progression and metastasis.
PMCID: PMC3706778  PMID: 23419152
14.  Integrated Genetic and Epigenetic Analysis Identifies Haplotype-Specific Methylation in the FTO Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity Susceptibility Locus 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e14040.
Recent multi-dimensional approaches to the study of complex disease have revealed powerful insights into how genetic and epigenetic factors may underlie their aetiopathogenesis. We examined genotype-epigenotype interactions in the context of Type 2 Diabetes (T2D), focussing on known regions of genomic susceptibility. We assayed DNA methylation in 60 females, stratified according to disease susceptibility haplotype using previously identified association loci. CpG methylation was assessed using methylated DNA immunoprecipitation on a targeted array (MeDIP-chip) and absolute methylation values were estimated using a Bayesian algorithm (BATMAN). Absolute methylation levels were quantified across LD blocks, and we identified increased DNA methylation on the FTO obesity susceptibility haplotype, tagged by the rs8050136 risk allele A (p = 9.40×10−4, permutation p = 1.0×10−3). Further analysis across the 46 kb LD block using sliding windows localised the most significant difference to be within a 7.7 kb region (p = 1.13×10−7). Sequence level analysis, followed by pyrosequencing validation, revealed that the methylation difference was driven by the co-ordinated phase of CpG-creating SNPs across the risk haplotype. This 7.7 kb region of haplotype-specific methylation (HSM), encapsulates a Highly Conserved Non-Coding Element (HCNE) that has previously been validated as a long-range enhancer, supported by the histone H3K4me1 enhancer signature. This study demonstrates that integration of Genome-Wide Association (GWA) SNP and epigenomic DNA methylation data can identify potential novel genotype-epigenotype interactions within disease-associated loci, thus providing a novel route to aid unravelling common complex diseases.
PMCID: PMC2987816  PMID: 21124985
15.  MBRidge: an accurate and cost-effective method for profiling DNA methylome at single-base resolution 
Organisms and cells, in response to environmental influences or during development, undergo considerable changes in DNA methylation on a genome-wide scale, which are linked to a variety of biological processes. Using MethylC-seq to decipher DNA methylome at single-base resolution is prohibitively costly. In this study, we develop a novel approach, named MBRidge, to detect the methylation levels of repertoire CpGs, by innovatively introducing C-hydroxylmethylated adapters and bisulfate treatment into the MeDIP-seq protocol and employing ridge regression in data analysis. A systematic evaluation of DNA methylome in a human ovarian cell line T29 showed that MBRidge achieved high correlation (R > 0.90) with much less cost (∼10%) in comparison with MethylC-seq. We further applied MBRidge to profiling DNA methylome in T29H, an oncogenic counterpart of T29's. By comparing methylomes of T29H and T29, we identified 131790 differential methylation regions (DMRs), which are mainly enriched in carcinogenesis-related pathways. These are substantially different from 7567 DMRs that were obtained by RRBS and related with cell development or differentiation. The integrated analysis of DMRs in the promoter and expression of DMR-corresponding genes revealed that DNA methylation enforced reverse regulation of gene expression, depending on the distance from the proximal DMR to transcription starting sites in both mRNA and lncRNA. Taken together, our results demonstrate that MBRidge is an efficient and cost-effective method that can be widely applied to profiling DNA methylomes.
PMCID: PMC4542811  PMID: 26078362
DNA methylome; MB-seq; ridge regression; single-base resolution
16.  Association of aberrant DNA methylation in Apcmin/+ mice with the epithelial-mesenchymal transition and Wnt/β-catenin pathways: genome-wide analysis using MeDIP-seq 
Cell & Bioscience  2015;5:24.
Aberrant DNA methylation at the 5-carbon on cytosine residues (5mC) in CpG dinucleotides is probably the most extensively characterized epigenetic modification in colon cancer. It has been suggested that the loss of adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) function initiates tumorigenesis and that additional genetic and epigenetic events are involved in colon cancer progression. We aimed to study the genome-wide DNA methylation profiles of intestinal tumorigenesis in Apcmin/+ mice.
Methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) followed by next-generation sequencing was used to determine the global profile of DNA methylation changes in Apcmin/+ mice. DNA was extracted from adenomatous polyps from Apcmin/+ mice and from normal intestinal tissue from age-matched Apc+/+ littermates, and the MeDIP-seq assay was performed. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) software was used to analyze the data for gene interactions. A total of 17,265 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) displayed a ≥ 2-fold change (log2) in methylation in Apcmin/+ mice; among these DMRs, 9,078 (52.6 %) and 8,187 (47.4 %) exhibited increased and decreased methylation, respectively. Genes with altered methylation patterns were mainly mapped to networks and biological functions associated with cancer and gastrointestinal diseases. Among these networks, several canonical pathways, such as the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and Wnt/β-catenin pathways, were significantly associated with genome-wide methylation changes in polyps from Apcmin/+ mice. The identification of certain differentially methylated molecules in the EMT and Wnt/β-catenin pathways, such as APC2 (adenomatosis polyposis coli 2), SFRP2 (secreted frizzled-related protein 2), and DKK3 (dickkopf-related protein 3), was consistent with previous publications.
Our findings indicated that Apcmin/+ mice exhibited extensive aberrant DNA methylation that affected certain signaling pathways, such as the EMT and Wnt/β-catenin pathways. The genome-wide DNA methylation profile of Apcmin/+ mice is informative for future studies investigating epigenetic gene regulation in colon tumorigenesis and the prevention of colon cancer.
PMCID: PMC4476183  PMID: 26101583
DNA methylation; Epigenetic; MeDIP-seq; Wnt/β-catenin pathway; Epithelial-mesenchymal transition pathway
17.  Comparison of the Genome-Wide DNA Methylation Profiles between Fast-Growing and Slow-Growing Broilers 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56411.
Growth traits are important in poultry production, however, little is known for its regulatory mechanism at epigenetic level. Therefore, in this study, we aim to compare DNA methylation profiles between fast- and slow-growing broilers in order to identify candidate genes for chicken growth. Methylated DNA immunoprecipitation-sequencing (MeDIP-seq) was used to investigate the genome-wide DNA methylation pattern in high and low tails of Recessive White Rock (WRRh; WRRl) and that of Xinhua Chickens (XHh; XHl) at 7 weeks of age. The results showed that the average methylation density was the lowest in CGIs followed by promoters. Within the gene body, the methylation density of introns was higher than that of UTRs and exons. Moreover, different methylation levels were observed in different repeat types with the highest in LINE/CR1. Methylated CGIs were prominently distributed in the intergenic regions and were enriched in the size ranging 200–300 bp. In total 13,294 methylated genes were found in four samples, including 4,085 differentially methylated genes of WRRh Vs. WRRl, 5,599 of XHh Vs. XHl, 4,204 of WRRh Vs. XHh, as well as 7,301 of WRRl Vs. XHl. Moreover, 132 differentially methylated genes related to growth and metabolism were observed in both inner contrasts (WRRh Vs. WRRl and XHh Vs. XHl), whereas 129 differentially methylated genes related to growth and metabolism were found in both across-breed contrasts (WRRh Vs. XHh and WRRl Vs. XHl). Further analysis showed that overall 75 genes exhibited altered DNA methylation in all four contrasts, which included some well-known growth factors of IGF1R, FGF12, FGF14, FGF18, FGFR2, and FGFR3. In addition, we validate the MeDIP-seq results by bisulfite sequencing in some regions.
This study revealed the global DNA methylation pattern of chicken muscle, and identified candidate genes that potentially regulate muscle development at 7 weeks of age at methylation level.
PMCID: PMC3575439  PMID: 23441189
18.  Methylation Profiling Using Methylated DNA Immunoprecipitation and Tiling Array Hybridization 
DNA methylation is an important epigenetic modification that regulates development and plays a role in the pathophysiology of many diseases. It is dynamically changed during germline development. Methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) is an efficient, cost-effective method for locus-specific and genome-wide analysis. Methylated DNA fragments are enriched by a 5-methylcytidine-recognizing antibody, therefore allowing the analysis of both CpG and non-CpG methylation. The enriched DNA fragments can be amplified and hybridized to tiling arrays covering CpG islands, promoters, or the entire genome. Comparison of different methylomes permits the discovery of differentially methylated regions that might be important in disease- or tissue-specific expression. Here, we describe an established MeDIP protocol and tiling array hybridization method for profiling methylation of testicular germ cells.
PMCID: PMC3652283  PMID: 22144241
MeDIP; DNA methylation; Tiling arrays
19.  Arterial endothelial methylome: differential DNA methylation in athero-susceptible disturbed flow regions in vivo 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(1):506.
Atherosclerosis is a heterogeneously distributed disease of arteries in which the endothelium plays an important central role. Spatial transcriptome profiling of endothelium in pre-lesional arteries has demonstrated differential phenotypes primed for athero-susceptibility at hemodynamic sites associated with disturbed blood flow. DNA methylation is a powerful epigenetic regulator of endothelial transcription recently associated with flow characteristics. We investigated differential DNA methylation in flow region-specific aortic endothelial cells in vivo in adult domestic male and female swine.
Genome-wide DNA methylation was profiled in endothelial cells (EC) isolated from two robust locations of differing patho-susceptibility: − an athero-susceptible site located at the inner curvature of the aortic arch (AA) and an athero-protected region in the descending thoracic (DT) aorta. Complete methylated DNA immunoprecipitation sequencing (MeDIP-seq) identified over 5500 endothelial differentially methylated regions (DMRs). DMR density was significantly enriched in exons and 5’UTR sequences of annotated genes, 60 of which are linked to cardiovascular disease. The set of DMR-associated genes was enriched in transcriptional regulation, pattern specification HOX loci, oxidative stress and the ER stress adaptive pathway, all categories linked to athero-susceptible endothelium. Examination of the relationship between DMR and mRNA in HOXA genes demonstrated a significant inverse relationship between CpG island promoter methylation and gene expression. Methylation-specific PCR (MSP) confirmed differential CpG methylation of HOXA genes, the ER stress gene ATF4, inflammatory regulator microRNA-10a and ARHGAP25 that encodes a negative regulator of Rho GTPases involved in cytoskeleton remodeling. Gender-specific DMRs associated with ciliogenesis that may be linked to defects in cilia development were also identified in AA DMRs.
An endothelial methylome analysis identifies epigenetic DMR characteristics associated with transcriptional regulation in regions of atherosusceptibility in swine aorta in vivo. The data represent the first methylome blueprint for spatio-temporal analyses of lesion susceptibility predisposing to endothelial dysfunction in complex flow environments in vivo.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1656-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4492093  PMID: 26148682
Endothelium; DNA Methylation; Epigenetics; Hemodynamics; Disturbed Flow; HOX Genes; Atherosclerosis; Endothelial Gene Transcription
20.  Comparative DNA methylome analysis of endometrial carcinoma reveals complex and distinct deregulation of cancer promoters and enhancers 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):868.
Aberrant DNA methylation is a hallmark of many cancers. Classically there are two types of endometrial cancer, endometrioid adenocarcinoma (EAC), or Type I, and uterine papillary serous carcinoma (UPSC), or Type II. However, the whole genome DNA methylation changes in these two classical types of endometrial cancer is still unknown.
Here we described complete genome-wide DNA methylome maps of EAC, UPSC, and normal endometrium by applying a combined strategy of methylated DNA immunoprecipitation sequencing (MeDIP-seq) and methylation-sensitive restriction enzyme digestion sequencing (MRE-seq). We discovered distinct genome-wide DNA methylation patterns in EAC and UPSC: 27,009 and 15,676 recurrent differentially methylated regions (DMRs) were identified respectively, compared with normal endometrium. Over 80% of DMRs were in intergenic and intronic regions. The majority of these DMRs were not interrogated on the commonly used Infinium 450K array platform. Large-scale demethylation of chromosome X was detected in UPSC, accompanied by decreased XIST expression. Importantly, we discovered that the majority of the DMRs harbored promoter or enhancer functions and are specifically associated with genes related to uterine development and disease. Among these, abnormal methylation of transposable elements (TEs) may provide a novel mechanism to deregulate normal endometrium-specific enhancers derived from specific TEs.
DNA methylation changes are an important signature of endometrial cancer and regulate gene expression by affecting not only proximal promoters but also distal enhancers.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-868) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4198682  PMID: 25286960
21.  High Resolution Methylome Map of Rat Indicates Role of Intragenic DNA Methylation in Identification of Coding Region 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e31621.
DNA methylation is crucial for gene regulation and maintenance of genomic stability. Rat has been a key model system in understanding mammalian systemic physiology, however detailed rat methylome remains uncharacterized till date. Here, we present the first high resolution methylome of rat liver generated using Methylated DNA immunoprecipitation and high throughput sequencing (MeDIP-Seq) approach. We observed that within the DNA/RNA repeat elements, simple repeats harbor the highest degree of methylation. Promoter hypomethylation and exon hypermethylation were common features in both RefSeq genes and expressed genes (as evaluated by proteomic approach). We also found that although CpG islands were generally hypomethylated, about 6% of them were methylated and a large proportion (37%) of methylated islands fell within the exons. Notably, we obeserved significant differences in methylation of terminal exons (UTRs); methylation being more pronounced in coding/partially coding exons compared to the non-coding exons. Further, events like alternate exon splicing (cassette exon) and intron retentions were marked by DNA methylation and these regions are retained in the final transcript. Thus, we suggest that DNA methylation could play a crucial role in marking coding regions thereby regulating alternative splicing. Apart from generating the first high resolution methylome map of rat liver tissue, the present study provides several critical insights into methylome organization and extends our understanding of interplay between epigenome, gene expression and genome stability.
PMCID: PMC3280313  PMID: 22355382
22.  QDMR: a quantitative method for identification of differentially methylated regions by entropy 
Nucleic Acids Research  2011;39(9):e58.
DNA methylation plays critical roles in transcriptional regulation and chromatin remodeling. Differentially methylated regions (DMRs) have important implications for development, aging and diseases. Therefore, genome-wide mapping of DMRs across various temporal and spatial methylomes is important in revealing the impact of epigenetic modifications on heritable phenotypic variation. We present a quantitative approach, quantitative differentially methylated regions (QDMRs), to quantify methylation difference and identify DMRs from genome-wide methylation profiles by adapting Shannon entropy. QDMR was applied to synthetic methylation patterns and methylation profiles detected by methylated DNA immunoprecipitation microarray (MeDIP-chip) in human tissues/cells. This approach can give a reasonable quantitative measure of methylation difference across multiple samples. Then DMR threshold was determined from methylation probability model. Using this threshold, QDMR identified 10 651 tissue DMRs which are related to the genes enriched for cell differentiation, including 4740 DMRs not identified by the method developed by Rakyan et al. QDMR can also measure the sample specificity of each DMR. Finally, the application to methylation profiles detected by reduced representation bisulphite sequencing (RRBS) in mouse showed the platform-free and species-free nature of QDMR. This approach provides an effective tool for the high-throughput identification of potential functional regions involved in epigenetic regulation.
PMCID: PMC3089487  PMID: 21306990
23.  Clinical and public health research using methylated DNA Immunoprecipitation (MeDIP): A comparison of commercially available kits to examine differential DNA methylation across the genome 
Epigenetics  2012;7(1):106-112.
The methylated DNA immunoprecipitation method (MeDIP) is a genome-wide, high-resolution approach that detects DNA methylation with oligonucleotide tiling arrays or high throughput sequencing platforms. A simplified high-throughput MeDIP assay will enable translational research studies in clinics and populations, which will greatly enhance our understanding of the human methylome. We compared three commercial kits, MagMeDIP Kit TM (Diagenode), Methylated-DNA IP Kit (Zymo Research) and Methylamp™ Methylated DNA Capture Kit (Epigentek), in order to identify which one has better reliability and sensitivity for genomic DNA enrichment. Each kit was used to enrich two samples, one from fresh tissue and one from a cell line, with two different DNA amounts. The enrichment efficiency of each kit was evaluated by agarose gel band intensity after Nco I digestion and by reaction yield of methylated DNA. A successful enrichment is expected to have a 1:4 to 10:1 conversion ratio and a yield of 80% or higher. We also evaluated the hybridization efficiency to genome-wide methylation arrays in a separate cohort of tissue samples. We observed that the MagMeDIP kit had the highest yield for the two DNA amounts and for both the tissue and cell line samples, as well as for the positive control. In addition, the DNA was successfully enriched from a 1:4 to 10:1 ratio. Therefore, the MagMeDIP kit is a useful research tool that will enable clinical and public health genome-wide DNA methylation studies.
PMCID: PMC3337832  PMID: 22207357
differential methylation; Methylated DNA Immunoprecipitation (MeDIP); translational research genome-wide promoter methylation
24.  Genome-wide high-resolution mapping of DNA methylation identifies epigenetic variation across embryo and endosperm in Maize (Zea may) 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(1):21.
Epigenetic modifications play important roles in plant and animal development. DNA methylation impacts the transposable element (TE) silencing, gene imprinting and expression regulation.
Through a genome-wide analysis, DNA methylation peaks were characterized and mapped in maize embryo and endosperm genome, respectively. Distinct methylation level was observed across maize embryo and endosperm. The maize embryo genome contained more DNA methylation than endosperm. Totally, 985,478 CG islands (CGIs) were identified and most of them were unmethylated. More CGI shores were methylated than CGIs in maize suggested that DNA methylation level was not positively correlated with CpG density. The promoter sequence and transcriptional termination region (TTR) were more methylated than the gene body (intron and exon) region based on peak number and methylated depth. Result showed that 99% TEs were methylated in maize embryo, but a large portion of them (34.8%) were not methylated in endosperm. Maize embryo and endosperm exhibit distinct pattern/level of methylation. The most differentially methylated region between embryo and endosperm are CGI shores. Our results indicated that DNA methylation is associated with both gene silencing and gene activation in maize. Many genes involved in embryogenesis and seed development were found differentially methylated in embryo and endosperm. We found 41.5% imprinting genes were similarly methylated and 58.5% imprinting genes were differentially methylated between embryo and endosperm. Methylation level was associated with allelic silencing of only a small number of imprinting genes. The expression of maize DEMETER-like (DME-like) gene and MBD101 gene (MBD4 homolog) were higher in endosperm than in embryo. These two genes may be associated with distinct methylation levels across maize embryo and endosperm.
Through MeDIP-seq we systematically analyzed the methylomes of maize embryo and endosperm and results indicated that the global methylation status of embryo was more than that of the endosperm. Differences could be observed at the total number of methylation peaks, DMRs and specific methylated genes which were tightly associated with development of embryo and endosperm. Our results also revealed that many DNA methylation regions didn’t affect transcription of the corresponding genes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-014-1204-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4316406  PMID: 25612809
DNA methylation; Maize; Embryo; Endosperm; Transposable element; Imprinting gene; MeDIP-seq
25.  Analysis of the leaf methylomes of parents and their hybrids provides new insight into hybrid vigor in Populus deltoides 
BMC Genetics  2014;15(Suppl 1):S8.
Plants with heterosis/hybrid vigor perform better than their parents in many traits. However, the biological mechanisms underlying heterosis remain unclear. To investigate the significance of DNA methylation to heterosis, a comprehensive analysis of whole-genome DNA methylome profiles of Populus deltoides cl.'55/65' and '10/17' parental lines and their intraspecific F1 hybrids lines was performed using methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) and high-throughput sequencing.
Here, a total of 486.27 million reads were mapped to the reference genome of Populus trichocarpa, with an average unique mapping rate of 57.8%. The parents with similar genetic background had distinct DNA methylation levels. F1 hybrids with hybrid vigor possessed non-additive DNA methylation level (their levels were higher than mid-parent values). The DNA methylation levels in promoter and repetitive sequences and transposable element of better-parent F1 hybrids and parents and lower-parent F1 hybrids were different. Compared with the maternal parent, better-parent F1 hybrids had fewer hypermethylated genes and more hypomethylated ones. Compared with the paternal parent and lower-parent L1, better-parent F1 hybrids had more hypermethylated genes and fewer hypomethylated ones. The differentially methylated genes between better-parent F1 hybrids, the parents and lower-parent F1 hybrids were enriched in the categories metabolic processes, response to stress, binding, and catalytic activity, development, and involved in hormone biosynthesis, signaling pathway.
The methylation patterns of the parents both partially and dynamically passed onto their hybrids, and F1 hybrids has a non-additive mathylation level. A multidimensional process is involved in the formation of heterosis.
PMCID: PMC4118634  PMID: 25080097
Populus deltoides; DNA methylation; methylome; hybrid vigor; MeDIP-Seq; non-additive

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