Novel Approaches in DNA Methylation Studies – MS-HRM Analysis and Electrochemistry


Klin Onkol 2016; 29(Suppl 4): 64-71. DOI: 10.14735/amko20164S64.

Cytosine methylation in DNA is an epigenetic mechanism regulating gene expression and plays a vital role in cell differentiation or proliferation. Tumor cells often exhibit aberrant DNA methylation, e.g. hypermethylation of tumor suppressor gene promoters. New methods, capable of determining methylation status of specific DNA sequences, are thus being developed. Among them, MS-HRM (methylation-specific high resolution melting) and electrochemistry offer relatively inexpensive instrumentation, fast assay times and possibility of screening multiple samples/DNA regions simultaneously. MS-HRM is due to its sensitivity and simplicity an interesting alternative to already established techniques, including methylation-specific PCR or bisulfite sequencing. Electrochemistry, when combined with suitable electroactive labels and electrode surfaces, has been applied in several unique strategies for discrimination of cytosines and methylcytosines. Both techniques were successfully tested in analysis of DNA methylation within promoters of important tumor suppressor genes and could thus help in achieving more precise diagnostics and prognostics of cancer. Aberrant methylation of promoters has already been described in hundreds of genes associated with tumorigenesis and could serve as important biomarker if new methods applicable into clinical practice are sufficiently advanced.

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