Assessing combined methylation-sensitive high resolution melting and pyrosequencing for the analysis of heterogeneous DNA methylation


Heterogeneous DNA methylation leads to difficulties in accurate detection and quantification of methylation. Methylation-sensitive high resolution melting (MS-HRM) is unique among regularly used methods for DNA methylation analysis in that heterogeneous methylation can be readily identified, although not quantified, by inspection of the melting curves. Bisulfite pyrosequencing has been used to estimate the level of heterogeneous methylation by quantifying methylation levels present at individual CpG dinucleotides. Sequentially combining the two methodologies using MS-HRM to screen the amplification products prior to bisulfite pyrosequencing would be advantageous. This would not only replace the quality control step using agarose gel analysis prior to the pyrosequencing step but would also provide important qualitative information in its own right. We chose to analyze DAPK1 as it is an important tumor suppressor gene frequently heterogeneously methylated in a number of malignancies, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). A region of the DAPK1 promoter was analyzed in ten CLL samples by MS-HRM. By using a biotinylated primer, bisulfite pyrosequencing could be used to directly analyze the samples. MS-HRM revealed the presence of various extents of heterogeneous DAPK1 methylation in all CLL samples. Further analysis of the biotinylated MS-HRM products by bisulfite pyrosequencing provided quantitative information for each CpG dinucleotide analyzed, and confirmed the presence of heterogeneous DNA methylation. Whereas each method could be used individually, MS-HRM and bisulfite pyrosequencing provided complementary information for the assessment of heterogeneous methylation

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