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Nat Protoc. 2017 Mar;12(3):534-547. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2016.187. Epub 2017 Feb 9.

Genome-wide base-resolution mapping of DNA methylation in single cells using single-cell bisulfite sequencing (scBS-seq).

Author information

1
Epigenetics Programme, Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK.
2
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge, UK.
3
Bioinformatics Group, Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK.
4
Centre for Trophoblast Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
5
Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Abstract

DNA methylation (DNAme) is an important epigenetic mark in diverse species. Our current understanding of DNAme is based on measurements from bulk cell samples, which obscures intercellular differences and prevents analyses of rare cell types. Thus, the ability to measure DNAme in single cells has the potential to make important contributions to the understanding of several key biological processes, such as embryonic development, disease progression and aging. We have recently reported a method for generating genome-wide DNAme maps from single cells, using single-cell bisulfite sequencing (scBS-seq), allowing the quantitative measurement of DNAme at up to 50% of CpG dinucleotides throughout the mouse genome. Here we present a detailed protocol for scBS-seq that includes our most recent developments to optimize recovery of CpGs, mapping efficiency and success rate; reduce hands-on time; and increase sample throughput with the option of using an automated liquid handler. We provide step-by-step instructions for each stage of the method, comprising cell lysis and bisulfite (BS) conversion, preamplification and adaptor tagging, library amplification, sequencing and, lastly, alignment and methylation calling. An individual with relevant molecular biology expertise can complete library preparation within 3 d. Subsequent computational steps require 1-3 d for someone with bioinformatics expertise.

PMID:
28182018
DOI:
10.1038/nprot.2016.187
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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