DNA methylation is a key regulator of gene transcription. Alterations in DNA methylation patterns are common in most cancers, occur early in carcinogenesis and can be detected in body fluids. Reliable and sensitive quantitative assays are required to improve the diagnostic role of methylation in the management of cancer patients. Here we present an optimized procedure, based on differential-high resolution melting analysis (D-HRMA), for the rapid and accurate quantification of methylated DNA. Two sets of primers are used in a single tube for the simultaneous amplification of the methylated (M) and unmethylated (Um) DNA sequences in D-HRMA. After HRM, differential fluorescence was calculated at the specific melting temperature after automatic subtraction of UM-DNA fluorescence. Quantification was calculated by interpolation on an external standard curve generated by serial dilutions of M-DNA. To optimize the protocol, nine primer sets were accurately selected on the basis of the number of CpG on promoters of hTERT and Bcl2 genes. The use of optimized D-HRMA allowed us to detect up to 0.025% M-DNA. D-HRMA results of DNA from 85 bladder cancers were comparable to those obtained with real time quantitative methylation specific PCR. In addition, D-HRMA appears suitable for rapid and efficient measurements in ‘in vitro’ experiments on methylation patterns after treatment with demethylating drugs.
The development of targeted therapies has created a pressing clinical need for molecular characterisation of cancers. In this retrospective study, high-resolution melting analysis (HRMA) was validated and implemented for screening of 164 colorectal cancer (CRC) patients to detect KRAS hot-spot mutations and to evaluate its prognostic value. Direct sequencing was used to confirm and characterise HRMA results.
After establishing its sensitivity, HRMA was validated on seven cell lines and inter- and intra-variation were analysed. The prognostic value of KRAS mutations in CRC was evaluated using survival analysis.
HRMA revealed abnormal melting patterns in 34.1% CRC samples. Kaplan–Meier survival curves revealed a significantly shorter overall (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) for CRC patients harbouring a KRAS mutation. In the Cox regression analysis, only when colon and rectal cancer were analysed separately, KRAS mutation was a negative predictor for OS in patients with rectal cancer and DFS in those with stage II colon cancer.
HRMA was found to be a valid screening method for KRAS mutation detection. The KRAS mutation came forward as a negative predictive factor for OS in patients with rectal cancer and for DFS in stage II colon cancer patients.
colorectal cancer; high-resolution melting analysis; prognosis; KRAS; survival analysis
DNA methylation plays an important role in carcinogenesis through epigenetic silencing of tumor suppressor genes. Aberrant methylation usually results from changes in the activity of DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs). Some studies show that the overexpression of the DNMTs may lead to aberrant methylation of tumor suppressor genes. Also the overexpression of DNMTs may be related to methylation status of their genes. Due to limited number of studies on DNMT3B promoter methylation, this study was performed to quantitatively measure the methylation level of DNMT3B gene in archival formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissues from breast cancer patients. Using differential high resolution melting analysis (D-HRMA) technology, the methylation level of DNMT3B gene promoter was quantified in 98 breast cancer FFPE tissues and also 10 fresh frozen normal tissue samples. Statistical analyses used for analyzing the correlation between the methylation and clinical variables. All the normal samples were found to be methylated at the DNMT3B promoter (the average methylation level 3.34%). Patients were identified as hypo-methylated (mean methylation level 0.8%), methylated (mean methylation level 2.48%) and hyper-methylated (mean methylation level 10.5%). Statistical analysis showed a significant correlation between the methylation status and the sample type, cancer type and tumor size. Also the methylation level was significantly associated with histologic grade. It is concluded that quantification of DNMT3B promoter methylation might be used as a reliable and sensitive diagnostic and prognostic tool in breast cancer. Also D-HRMA is demonstrated as a rapid and cost effective method for quantitative evaluation of promoter methylation.
DNA methylation; DNMT3B; Breast cancer; High resolution melting analysis; FFPE
Purpose. DLC-1 is a tumor suppressor gene frequently silenced in human cancers. However, the pathogenicity of DLC-1 epigenetic silencing in the mucosa-adenoma-carcinoma transformation process of colorectal cancer (CRC) has not been studied. Methods. Promoter methylation status of DLC-1 was evaluated in 4 human CRC cell lines, 48 normal mucosa, 57 adenomas, and 80 CRC tissues with methylation-sensitive high-resolution melting analysis (MS-HRMA), while the mRNA expression was examined by qPCR. HRMA was utilized to detect the KRAS codon 12, 13 and BRAF V600Emutations. Results. Partial (1%–10%) and extensive (10%–100%) DLC-1 promoter methylations were observed in 10% and 0% of normal mucosa, 46% and 14% of adenomas, and 60% and 36% of CRCs, respectively. The promoter methylation of DLC-1 was related with the reduction of gene expression and the advanced Duke's stages (Stage C and D). DLC-1 promoter methylation and KRAS mutations are common concurrent pathological alternations. Conclusions. Epigenetic alternation plays a key role in the transcriptional silencing of DLC-1. It is also an independent risk factor related to the carcinogenesis of colorectal tumors and spans over its pathogenesis process. Therefore, DLC-1 promoter methylation quantitation may have a promising significance in the evaluation and management of CRC patients.
We present here the first high resolution melt (HRM) assay to quantitatively analyze differences in murine DNA methylation levels utilizing CpG methylation of Long Interspersed Elements-1 (LINE1 or L1). By calculating the integral difference in melt temperature between samples and a methylated control, and biasing PCR primers for unmethylated CpGs, the assay demonstrates enhanced sensitivity to detect changes in methylation in a cell line treated with low doses of 5-aza-2’-deoxycytidine (5-aza). The L1 assay was confirmed to be a good marker of changes in DNA methylation of L1 elements at multiple regions across the genome when compared with total 5-methyl-cytosine content, measured by Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS). The assay design was also used to detect changes in methylation at other murine repeat elements (B1 and Intracisternal-A-particle Long-terminal Repeat elements). Pyrosequencing analysis revealed that L1 methylation changes were non-uniform across the CpGs within the L1-HRM target region, demonstrating that the L1 assay can detect small changes in CpG methylation among a large pool of heterogeneously methylated DNA templates. Application of the assay to various tissues from Balb/c and CBA mice, including previously unreported peripheral blood (PB), revealed a tissue hierarchy (from hypermethylated to hypomethylated) of PB > kidney > liver > prostate > spleen. CBA mice demonstrated overall greater methylation than Balb/c mice, and male mice demonstrated higher tissue methylation compared with female mice in both strains. Changes in DNA methylation have been reported to be an early and fundamental event in the pathogenesis of many human diseases, including cancer. Mouse studies designed to identify modulators of DNA methylation, the critical doses, relevant time points and the tissues affected are limited by the low throughput nature and exorbitant cost of many DNA methylation assays. The L1 assay provides a high throughput, inexpensive and sensitive screening tool for identifying and characterizing DNA methylation changes to L1 elements at multiple regions across the genome.
DNA Methylation; heterogeneous methylation; high resolution melt analysis; LINE1; mouse tissue methylation
There is increasing interest in the development of cost-effective techniques for the quantification of DNA methylation biomarkers. We analyzed 90 samples of surgically resected colorectal cancer tissues for APC and CDKN2A promoter methylation using methylation sensitive-high resolution melting (MS-HRM) and pyrosequencing. MS-HRM is a less expensive technique compared with pyrosequencing but is usually more limited because it gives a range of methylation estimates rather than a single value. Here, we developed a method for deriving single estimates, rather than a range, of methylation using MS-HRM and compared the values obtained in this way with those obtained using the gold standard quantitative method of pyrosequencing. We derived an interpolation curve using standards of known methylated/unmethylated ratio (0%, 12.5%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of methylation) to obtain the best estimate of the extent of methylation for each of our samples. We observed similar profiles of methylation and a high correlation coefficient between the two techniques. Overall, our new approach allows MS-HRM to be used as a quantitative assay which provides results which are comparable with those obtained by pyrosequencing.
In this article, we show that high resolution melting analysis (HRM) is a sensitive and specific method for the detection of methylation. Methylated DNA and unmethylated DNA acquire different sequences after bisulphite treatment resulting in PCR products with markedly different melting profiles. We used PCR to amplify both methylated and unmethylated sequences and assessed HRM for the determination of the methylation status of the MGMT promoter region. Reconstruction experiments showed that MGMT methylation could be detected at levels as low as 0.1%. Moreover, MS-HRM allows for estimation of the methylation level by comparing the melting profiles of unknown PCR products to the melting profiles of PCR products derived from standards with a known unmethylated to methylated template ratio. We used MS-HRM for the analysis of eight cell lines of known methylation status and a panel of colorectal cancer specimens. The simplicity and high reproducibility of the MS-HRM protocol makes MS-HRM the method of choice for methylation assessment in many diagnostic and research applications.
CST6 is a breast tumor suppressor gene that is expressed in normal breast epithelium, but is epigenetically silenced as a consequence of promoter hypermethylation in metastatic breast cancer cell lines. In the current study, we investigated the expression and methylation status of CST6 in primary breast tumors and lymph node metastases. 25/45 (56%) primary tumors and 17/20 (85%) lymph node metastases expressed significantly lower levels of cystatin M compared to normal breast tissue. Bisulfite sequencing demonstrated CST6 promoter hypermethylation in 11/23 (48%) neoplastic lesions analyzed, including 3/11 (27%) primary tumors and 8/12 (67%) lymph node metastases. In most cases (12/23, 52%), the expression of cystatin M directly reflected CST6 promoter methylation status. In remaining lesions (8/23, 35%) loss of cystatin M was not associated with CST6 promoter hypermethylation, indicating that other mechanisms can account for loss of CST6 expression. These results show that methylation-dependent silencing of CST6 occurs in a subset of primary breast cancers, but more frequently in metastatic lesions, possibly reflecting progression-related genomic events. To examine this possibility, primary breast tumors and matched lymph node metastases were analyzed. In 2/3 (67%) patients, primary tumors were positive for cystatin M and negative for CST6 promoter methylation, and matched metastatic lesions lacked cystatin M expression and CST6 was hypermethylated. This observation suggests that progression-related epigenetic alterations in CST6 gene expression can accompany metastatic spread from a primary tumor site. Overall, the results of the current investigation suggest that methylation-dependent epigenetic silencing of CST6 represents an important mechanism for loss of CST6 during breast tumorigenesis and/or progression to metastasis.
breast cancer; cystatin M; methylation; metastasis
MUTYH-associated polyposis (MAP) is an autosomal recessive form of intestinal polyposis predisposing to colorectal carcinoma. High resolution melting analysis (HRMA) is a mutation scanning method that allows detection of heterozygous sequence changes with high sensitivity, whereas homozygosity for a nucleotide change may not lead to significant curve shape or melting temperature changes compared to homozygous wild-type samples. Therefore, HRMA has been mainly applied to the detection of mutations associated with autosomal dominant or X-linked disorders, while applications to autosomal recessive conditions are less common.
MUTYH coding sequence and UTRs were analyzed by both HRMA and sequencing on 88 leukocyte genomic DNA samples. Twenty-six samples were also examined by SSCP. Experiments were performed both with and without mixing the test samples with wild-type DNA.
The results show that all MUTYH sequence variations, including G > C and A > T homozygous changes, can be reliably identified by HRMA when a condition of artificial heterozygosity is created by mixing test and reference DNA. HRMA had a sensitivity comparable to sequencing and higher than SSCP.
The availability of a rapid and inexpensive method for the identification of MUTYH sequence variants is relevant for the diagnosis of colorectal cancer susceptibility, since the MAP phenotype is highly variable.
HRMA; MUTYH; colorectal cancer; polyposis; mutation
A high-resolution melting analysis (HRMA) assay was developed to detect isoniazid, rifampin, and ofloxacin resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis by targeting resistance-associated mutations in the katG, mabA-inhA promoter, rpoB, and gyrA genes. A set of 28 (17 drug-resistant and 11 fully susceptible) clinical M. tuberculosis isolates was selected for development and evaluation of HRMA. PCR amplicons from the katG, mabA-inhA promoter, rpoB, and gyrA genes of all 28 isolates were sequenced. HRMA results matched well with 18 mutations, identified by sequencing, in 17 drug-resistant isolates and the absence of mutations in 11 susceptible isolates. Among 87 additional isolates with known resistance phenotypes, HRMA identified katG and/or mabA-inhA promoter mutations in 66 of 69 (95.7%) isoniazid-resistant isolates, rpoB mutations in 51 of 54 (94.4%) rifampin-resistant isolates, and gyrA mutations in all of 41 (100%) ofloxacin-resistant isolates. All mutations within the HRMA primer target regions were detected as variant HRMA profiles. The corresponding specificities were 97.8%, 100%, and 98.6%, respectively. Most false-positive results were due to synonymous mutations, which did not affect susceptibility. HRMA is a rapid, sensitive method for detection of drug resistance in M. tuberculosis which could be used routinely for screening isolates in countries with a high prevalence of tuberculosis and drug resistance or in individual isolates when drug resistance is suspected.
To setup a non-invasive genetic screening method for colorectal cancer, we evaluated the promoter methylation status of secreted frizzled-related protein1 (sfrp1) in stool samples of colorectal cancer with respect to a series of healthy individuals, using methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction.
Materials and Methods:
In stool samples from 25 patients with colorectal cancer and 25 healthy control subjects, isolated DNA was treated with sodium bisulfite and analyzed by methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction with primers specific for methylated or unmethylated promoter sequences of the SFRP1 gene.
Methylation of the SFRP1 promoter was present in the stool DNA of patients with colorectal cancer. A sensitivity of 52% and specificity of 92% were achieved in the detection of colorectal neoplasia. The difference in methylation status of the SFRP1 promoter between the patients with colorectal neoplasia and the control group was statistically highly significant (P = 0.006).
The results indicate that this DNA stool test of methylation of the SFRP1 promoter is a sensitive and specific method. It is assumed that the test is potentially useful for the early detection of colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer; DNA methylation; secreted frizzled-related protein; stool DNA test
Background: There is increasing interest in DNA methylation and in its implication in transcriptional gene silencing, a phenomenon commonly seen in human cancer.
Aims: To develop a new method that would allow quantitative DNA methylation analysis in a large range of clinical samples, independently of the processing protocol.
Methods: A methylation sensitive dot blot assay (MS-DBA) was developed, which is quantitative and combines bisulfite modification, PCR amplification using primers without CpG sites, and dot blot analysis with two probes specific for methylated and unmethylated DNA.
Results: The established method was used to study methylation of the hTERT, APC, and p16 promoter regions in microdissected, formalin fixed and paraffin wax embedded tissues.
Conclusions: MS-DBA is a sensitive, specific, and quantitative approach to analyse DNA methylation in a variety of frozen or fixed tissues. Moreover, MS-DBA is rapid, easy to perform, and permits the screening of a large panel of samples in one experiment. Thus, MS-DBA can facilitate the routine analysis of DNA methylation in all types of clinical samples.
Epigenetic silencing by promoter methylation of genes associated with cancer initiation and progression is a hallmark of tumour cells. As a consequence, testing for DNA methylation biomarkers in plasma or other body fluids shows great promise for detection of malignancies at early stages and/or for monitoring response to treatment. However, DNA from normal leukocytes may contribute to the DNA in plasma and will affect biomarker specificity if there is any methylation in the leukocytes. DNA from 48 samples of normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells was evaluated for the presence of methylation of a panel of DNA methylation biomarkers that have been implicated in cancer. SMART-MSP, a methylation specific PCR (MSP) methodology based on real time PCR amplification, high-resolution melting and strategic primer design, enabled quantitative detection of low levels of methylated DNA. Methylation was observed in all tested mononuclear cell DNA samples for the CDH1 and HIC1 promoters and in the majority of DNA samples for the TWIST1 and DAPK1 promoters. APC and RARB promoter methylation, at a lower average level, was also detected in a substantial proportion of the DNA samples. We found no BRCA1, CDKN2A, GSTP1 and RASSF1A promoter methylation in this sample set. Several individuals had higher levels of methylation at several loci suggestive of a methylator phenotype. In conclusion, methylation of many potential DNA methylation biomarkers can be detected in normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and is likely to affect their specificity for detecting low level disease. However, we found no evidence of promoter methylation for other genes indicating that panels of analytically sensitive and specific methylation biomarkers in body fluids can be obtained.
DNA methylation; epigenetics; biomarkers; high-resolution melting (HRM); methylation-specific PCR (MSP); constitutional methylation
The High Resolution Melting (HRM) technology has recently been introduced as a rapid and robust analysis tool for the detection of DNA methylation. The methylation status of multiple tumor suppressor genes may serve as biomarkers for early cancer diagnostics, for prediction of prognosis and for prediction of response to treatment. Therefore, it is important that methodologies for detection of DNA methylation continue to evolve. Sensitive Melting Analysis after Real Time - Methylation Specific PCR (SMART-MSP) and Methylation Sensitive - High Resolution Melting (MS-HRM) are two methods for single locus DNA methylation detection based on HRM.
Here, we have assessed the quality of DNA extracted from up to 30 years old Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded (FFPE) tissue for DNA methylation analysis using SMART-MSP and MS-HRM. The quality assessment was performed on DNA extracted from 54 Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) samples derived from FFPE tissue, collected over 30 years and grouped into five years intervals. For each sample, the methylation levels of the CDKN2A (p16) and RARB promoters were estimated using SMART-MSP and MS-HRM assays designed to assess the methylation status of the same CpG positions. This allowed for a direct comparison of the methylation levels estimated by the two methods for each sample.
CDKN2A promoter methylation levels were successfully determined by SMART-MSP and MS-HRM in all 54 samples. Identical methylation estimates were obtained by the two methods in 46 of the samples. The methylation levels of the RARB promoter were successfully determined by SMART-MSP in all samples. When using MS-HRM to assess RARB methylation five samples failed to amplify and 15 samples showed a melting profile characteristic for heterogeneous methylation. Twenty-seven of the remaining 34 samples, for which the methylation level could be estimated, gave the same result as observed when using SMART-MSP.
MS-HRM and SMART-MSP can be successfully used for single locus methylation studies using DNA derived from up to 30 years old FFPE tissue. Furthermore, it can be expected that MS-HRM and SMART-MSP will provide similar methylation estimates when assays are designed to analyze the same CpG positions.
We present two melting curve analysis (MCA)-based semiquantitative real time PCR techniques to detect the promoter methylation status of genes. The first, MCA-MSP, follows the same principle as standard MSP but it is performed in a real time thermalcycler with results being visualized in a melting curve. The second, MCA-Meth, uses a single pair of primers designed with no CpGs in its sequence. These primers amplify both unmethylated and methylated sequences. In clinical applications the MSP technique has revolutionized methylation detection by simplifying the analysis to a PCR-based protocol. MCA-analysis based techniques may be able to further improve and simplify methylation analyses by reducing starting DNA amounts, by introducing an all-in-one tube reaction and by eliminating a final gel stage for visualization of the result. The current study aimed at investigating the feasibility of both MCA-MSP and MCA-Meth in the analysis of promoter methylation, and at defining potential advantages and shortcomings in comparison to currently implemented techniques, i.e. bisulfite sequencing and standard MSP.
The promoters of the RASSF1A (3p21.3), BLU (3p21.3) and MGMT (10q26) genes were analyzed by MCA-MSP and MCA-Meth in 13 astrocytoma samples, 6 high grade glioma cell lines and 4 neuroblastoma cell lines. The data were compared with standard MSP and validated by bisulfite sequencing.
Both, MCA-MSP and MCA-Meth, successfully determined promoter methylation. MCA-MSP provided information similar to standard MSP analyses. However the analysis was possible in a single tube and avoided the gel stage. MCA-Meth proved to be useful in samples with intermediate methylation status, reflected by a melting curve position shift in dependence on methylation extent.
We propose MCA-MSP and MCA-Meth as alternative or supplementary techniques to MSP or bisulfite sequencing.
The L1 gene of human papillomavirus-18 (HPV-18) is consistently hypermethylated in cervical carcinomas, but frequently hypo- or unmethylated in exfoliated cells from asymptomatic patients. In precancerous lesions, L1 is sporadically hypermethylated, correlating with the severity of the neoplasia. In order to explore the potential of using L1 methylation as a workable biomarker for carcinogenic progression of HPV-18 infections in routinely taken samples, our aim was to develop methylation-detection techniques that were sensitive and rapid without being overly complex technically. Therein, we developed a methylation-specific PCR (MSP) through the design of primer sets that specifically amplify either methylated or unmethylated HPV-18 L1 DNA within bisulfite-modified sample DNA. Amplification of unmethylated and in vitro methylated HPV-18 DNA by MSP resulted in 2500 copies of either of the two L1 DNA species being detected, a satisfactory sensitivity considering that bisulfite treatment leads to the fragmentation of about 99% of sample DNA. The primers proved specific and did not generate false positive results at concentrations exceeding the lowest limit of detection by a factor of 400. DNA from carcinomas yielded PCR signals only with the methylation specific primers, and not with primers specific for unmethylated L1 genes. The inverse result was obtained with DNA from precursor lesions that contained only hypomethylated DNA. High-grade precursor lesions and carcinomas that contained hyper- as well as hypomethylated L1 DNA yielded PCR signals with both primers. By developing a fluorescence based real-time PCR, we quantitatively analyzed samples with in vitro methylated and unmethylated L1 DNA, and could distinguish clinical samples with hyper- and hypomethylated DNA or mixtures of both DNAs. The methylation-specific and real-time PCR techniques permitted efficient HPV-18 L1 methylation analyses and open the door for larger-scale clinical studies where the utility of methylation status to predict the progression of HPV-18 infection and HPV-18 associated lesions is assessed.
Individuals with germline mutations in the BRCA1 gene have an elevated risk of developing breast cancer, and often display characteristic clinicopathological features. We hypothesised that inactivation of BRCA1 by promoter methylation could occur as a germline or an early somatic event that predisposes to breast cancer with the phenotype normally associated with BRCA1 germline mutation.
We examined seven cases from breast-ovarian cancer families with tumours that showed BRCA1-like pathology but did not have detectable BRCA1 or BRCA2 germline mutations present. Methylation levels were tested by several quantitative techniques including MethyLight, methylation-sensitive high resolution melting (MS-HRM) and a newly developed digital MS-HRM assay.
In one patient, methylation of 10% of the BRCA1 alleles was detected in the peripheral blood DNA, consistent with 20% of cells having one methylated allele. Buccal mucosa DNA from this individual displayed approximately 5% BRCA1 methylation. In two other patients, methylation of BRCA1 was detected in the peripheral blood at significantly lower but still readily detectable levels (approximately 1%). Tumour DNAs from these three patients were heavily methylated at BRCA1. The other patients had no detectable BRCA1 methylation in their peripheral blood. One of seven age-matched controls showed extremely low levels of methylation in their peripheral blood (approximately 0.1%).
These results demonstrate that in some cases of breast cancer, low-level promoter methylation of BRCA1 occurs in normal tissues of the body and is associated with the development of BRCA1-like breast cancer.
Breast cancer is one of the most common malignancies in women worldwide. It is caused by a number of genetic and epigenetic factors. Aberrant hypermethylation of the promoter regions in specific genes is a key event in the formation and progression of breast cancers as well as the DBC2 gene, as a tumor suppressor gene. Different studies show that the DBC2 gene is inactivated through epigenetic mechanisms such as methylation in its promoter region. In this study, authors have tried to analyze methylation status in the promoter region of DBC2 gene in affected women and healthy controls.
Materials and Methods:
In this experimental study, we evaluated the methylation status of DBC2 gene with nested methylation-specific PCR (MSPCR) using specific methylated and unmethylated primer sets, in three separate PCR reactions. We used 50 tissue and blood samples of patients with breast cancer, 5 normal tissues and also 30 normal blood samples. Results were evaluated by the Mann-Whitney test, SPSS 16.0 statistical software.
Nested MSPCR results demonstrated that the frequency of the DBC2 promoter region methylation status in tumor and blood samples of the affected patients was significantly higher than that of the corresponding normal controls.
DBC2 gene inactivation by methylation of CpG islands in the promoter region probably is a crucial step in the process of cell proliferation and susceptibility to different cancers, including breast cancer. Our study provides new evidence that aberrant methylation of the DBC2 gene is involved in the tumorigenesis of breast cancer. DNA methylation in this gene is proven to be a potential marker for tumor diagnosis and prognosis, as well as a novel therapeutic target.
Breast Neoplasm; DNA Methylation; DBC2; Iran
Spores of thermophilic Geobacillus species are a common contaminant of milk powder worldwide due to their ability to form biofilms within processing plants. Genotyping methods can provide information regarding the source and monitoring of contamination. A new genotyping method was developed based on multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat (VNTR) analysis (MLVA) in conjunction with high-resolution melt analysis (MLV-HRMA) and compared to the currently used method, randomized amplified polymorphic DNA PCR (RAPD-PCR). Four VNTR loci were identified and used to genotype 46 Geobacillus isolates obtained from retailed powder and samples from 2 different milk powder processing plants. These 46 isolates were differentiated into 16 different groups using MLV-HRMA (D = 0.89). In contrast, only 13 RAPD-PCR genotypes were identified among the 46 isolates (D = 0.79). This new method was then used to analyze 35 isolates obtained from powders with high spore counts (>104 spores · g−1) from a single processing plant together with 27 historical isolates obtained from powder samples processed in the same region of Australia 17 years ago. Results showed that three genotypes can coexist in a single processing run, while the same genotypes observed 17 years ago are present today. While certain genotypes could be responsible for powders with high spore counts, there was no correlation to specific genotypes being present in powder plants and retailed samples. In conclusion, the MLV-HRMA method is useful for genotyping Geobacillus spp. to provide insight into the prevalence and persistence of certain genotypes within milk powder processing plants.
Aberrant DNA methylation patterns might be used as a biomarker for diagnosis and management of cancer patients.
Methods and Findings
To achieve a gene panel for developing a breast cancer blood-based test we quantitatively assessed the DNA methylation proportion of 248 CpG sites per sample (total of 31,248 sites in all analyzed samples) on 10 candidate genes (APC, BIN1, BMP6, BRCA1, CST6, ESR-b, GSTP1, P16, P21 and TIMP3). The number of 126 samples consisting of two different cohorts was used (first cohort: plasma samples from breast cancer patients and normal controls; second cohort: triple matched samples including cancerous tissue, matched normal tissue and serum samples). In the first cohort, circulating cell free methylated DNA of the 8 tumor suppressor genes (TSGs) was significantly higher in patients with breast cancer compared to normal controls (P<0.01). In the second cohort containing triple matched samples, seven genes showed concordant hypermethylated profile in tumor tissue and serum samples compared to normal tissue (P<0.05). Using eight genes as a panel to develop a blood-based test for breast cancer, a sensitivity and specificity of more than 90% could be achieved in distinguishing between tumor and normal samples.
Our study suggests that the selected TSG panel combined with the high-throughput technology might be a useful tool to develop epigenetic based predictive and prognostic biomarker for breast cancer relying on pathologic methylation changes in tumor tissue, as well as in circulation.
Epigenetic modifications in eukaryotic genomes occur primarily in the form of 5-methylcytosine (5 mC). These modifications are heavily involved in transcriptional repression, gene regulation, development and the progression of diseases including cancer. We report a new single-molecule assay for the detection of DNA methylation using solid-state nanopores. Methylation is detected by selectively labeling methylation sites with MBD1 (MBD-1x) proteins, the complex inducing a 3 fold increase in ionic blockage current relative to unmethylated DNA. Furthermore, the discrimination of methylated and unmethylated DNA is demonstrated in the presence of only a single bound protein, thereby giving a resolution of a single methylated CpG dinucleotide. The extent of methylation of a target molecule could also be coarsely quantified using this novel approach. This nanopore-based methylation sensitive assay circumvents the need for bisulfite conversion, fluorescent labeling, and PCR and could therefore prove very useful in studying the role of epigenetics in human disease.
DNA methylation changes that are recurrent in cancer have generated great interest as potential biomarkers for the early detection and monitoring of cancer. In such situations, essential information is missed if the methylation detection is purely qualitative. We describe a new probe-free quantitative methylation-specific PCR (MSP) assay that incorporates evaluation of the amplicon by high-resolution melting (HRM) analysis. Depending on amplicon design, different types of information can be obtained from the HRM analysis. Much of this information cannot be obtained by electrophoretic analysis. In particular, identification of false positives due to incomplete bisulphite conversion or false priming is possible. Heterogeneous methylation can also be distinguished from homogeneous methylation. As proof of principle, we have developed assays for the promoter regions of the CDH1, DAPK1, CDKN2A (p16INK4a) and RARB genes. We show that highly accurate quantification is possible in the range from 100% to 0.1% methylated template when 25 ng of bisulphite-modified DNA is used as a template for PCR. We have named this new approach to quantitative methylation detection, Sensitive Melting Analysis after Real Time (SMART)-MSP.
The aim of this retrospective study was to analyse the MGMT (06-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase) promoter methylation status in long-term surviving (≥ 3 years) patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
The methylation status of the MGMT promoter was determined by bisulfite modification of the DNA and subsequent methylation-specific polymerase-chain-reaction (MSP). DNA was extracted from routinely formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tumour tissue samples.
MSP yielded interpretable results in only 14 of 33 (42%) long-term surviving patients with GBM. A methylated band was seen in 3 of 14, methylated as well as unmethylated bands in 8 of 14 and an only unmethylated band in 3 of 14 patients, thus, yielding MGMT promoter methylation in 11 of 14 patients. The two groups of patients with methylated and unmethylated MGMT promoter status were too small to draw any firm statistical conclusions.
Long-term surviving patients with GBM have very frequently intratumoural MGMT promoter methylation. This phenomenon discriminates long-term survivors from a non-selected group of patients with GBM. The standardization of the MSP for the determination of the MGMT promoter methylation status seems to be necessary in order to make this methodology a more reliable one.
glioblastoma multiforme (GBM); high grade glioma; MGMT promoter methylation; hypermethylation; long-term survival
Brain tumors are one of the leading causes of death in adults with cancer; however, molecular classification of these tumors with in vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is limited because of the small number of metabolites detected. In vitro MRS provides highly informative biomarker profiles at higher fields, but also consumes the sample so that it is unavailable for subsequent analysis. In contrast, ex vivo high-resolution magic angle spinning (HRMAS) MRS conserves the sample but requires large samples and can pose technical challenges for producing accurate data, depending on the sample testing temperature. We developed a novel approach that combines a two-dimensional (2D), solid-state, HRMAS proton (1H) NMR method, TOBSY (total through-bond spectroscopy), which maximizes the advantages of HRMAS and a robust classification strategy. We used 2 mg of tissue at -8°C from each of 55 brain biopsies, and reliably detected 16 different molecules. We compared two classification strategies, the support vector machine (SVM) classifier and a feed-forward neural network using the Levenberg-Marquardt back-propagation algorithm. We used the minimum redundancy/maximum relevance (MRMR) method as a powerful feature-selection scheme along with the SVM classifier. We also used the minimum redundancy/maximum relevance (MRMR) method as a powerful feature-selection scheme along with the SVM classifier.
brain/CNS cancers; tumor biomarkers; ex vivo high-resolution magic angle spinning magnetic resonance spectroscopy; support vector machines; neural networks
The methylation of DNA is recognized as a key mechanism in the regulation of genomic stability and evidence for its role in the development of cancer is accumulating. LINE-1 methylation status represents a surrogate measure of genome-wide methylation.
Using high resolution melt (HRM) curve analysis technology, we have established an in-tube assay that is linear (r > 0.9986) with a high amplification efficiency (90-105%), capable of discriminating between partcipant samples with small differences in methylation, and suitable for quantifying a wide range of LINE-1 methylation levels (0-100%)--including the biologically relevant range of 50-90% expected in human DNA. We have optimized this procedure to perform using 2 μg of starting DNA and 2 ng of bisulfite-converted DNA for each PCR reaction. Intra- and inter-assay coefficients of variation were 1.44% and 0.49%, respectively, supporting the high reproducibility and precision of this approach.
In summary, this is a completely linear, quantitative HRM PCR method developed for the measurement of LINE-1 methylation. This cost-efficient, refined and reproducible assay can be performed using minimal amounts of starting DNA. These features make our assay suitable for high throughput analysis of multiple samples from large population-based studies.