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Nucleic Acids Res. 2006 May 5;34(8):e61.

Rapid quantification of DNA methylation through dNMP analysis following bisulfite-PCR.

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  • 1Organic and Bio-analysis group, Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science, Daejeon 305-340, Korea.


We report a novel method for rapid quantification of the degree of DNA methylation of a specific gene. Our method combined bisulfite-mediated PCR and quantification of deoxyribonucleoside monophosphate (dNMP) contents in the PCR product through capillary electrophoresis. A specific bisulfite-PCR product was enzymatically hydrolyzed to dNMP monomers which were quantitatively analyzed through subsequent capillary electrophoresis. PCR following bisulfite treatment converts unmethylated cytosines to thymines while leaving methyl-cytosines unchanged. Then the ratio of cytosine to thymine determined by capillary electrophoresis represents the ratio of methyl-cytosine to cytosine in genomic locus of interest. Pure oligonucleotides with known sequences were processed in parallel as standards for normalization of dNMP peaks in capillary electrophoresis. Sources of quantification uncertainty such as carryovers of dNTPs or primers and incomplete hydrolysis were examined and ruled out. When the method was applied to samples with known methylation levels (by bisulfite-mediated sequencing) as a validation, deviations were within +/-5%. After bisulfite-PCR, the analytical procedure can be completed within 1.5 h.

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