What is DNA Methylation, and Can I Use Luminex Technology to Study It?
DNA methylation is a type of epigenetic change, and epigenetic changes are modifications to genes other than the underlying sequence of DNA or RNA.
DNA methylation is essential for the normal development and functioning of many organisms and has been detected in every vertebrate examined. It is a very simple addition of a methyl group to cytosine (C) or adenine (A) bases of a nucleic acid sequence.
Methyl group tags in the DNA of humans and other mammals play an important role in determining whether some genes are or are not expressed. The number and placement of the methyl tags provides a signal that the gene should or should not be expressed.
Methylation regions are especially vulnerable to environmental influences, and abnormal DNA methylation plays an important role in developmental diseases. Increases or decreases in DNA methylation tags are found in most human cancers and contribute to the development of cancer.
DNA methylation sites also change with aging. The number of methyl groups can decrease in some genes and increase in others, causing errors in the activity/expression of the genes affected.
Recently, three publications have shown how to utilize Luminex® Technology to improve their research on methylation. Here is a brief description of each paper:
- “Assessing loss of imprint methylation in sperm from subfertile men using novel methylation polymerase chain reaction Luminex analysis” – This study describes the development of high-throughput, high-resolution DNA methylation analysis method to identify methylation errors. The bisulphite polymerase chain reaction Luminex (BPL) method is able to determine a single-base substitution by specific hybridization and detect the ratio of methylation to non-methylation.
- “High-throughput detection of imprint methylation errors in the ovarian cancer by the bisulphite PCR-Luminex method” – Utilized the method developed in the above publication to study DNA methylation in genees involved in ovarian cancer. It is the first study to report the use of a PCR-Luminex method for identification of prognostic panels of DNA methylation markers for cancer.
- “Methylation status of the E2 binding sites of HPV16 in cervical lesions determined with the Luminex xMAP® system” – This paper describes another methylation method developed independently from the two papers above. In this case it was used to study cervical cancer and it was determined that using their Luminex protocol is a highly sensitive method for methylation analysis.
In summary, DNA methylation is one of the most common epigenetic changes in DNA and can be an important regulator of gene expression and disease progression. Yes, you can utilize Luminex to study DNA methylation in conjunction with other methods your laboratory may use.