DNA methylation is one of the most common epigenetic modifications with a fundamental influence on gene expression, cellular differentiation, and genomic imprinting. Without any change in the DNA sequence itself, gene activity and function can be regulated by DNA methylation. DNA-Methyltransferases mediate the regulation of gene activity and function by transferring a methyl-group to the fifth carbon of the cytosine ring. As a result, DNA methylation regulates gene activity and function. In mammals, the resulting 5-Methylcytosines (5-mC) and 5-Hydroxymethylcytosines (5-hmC) occur mainly in CpG dinucleotides. However, methylation can also be found in non-CpG context in other organisms.
Changes in epigenetic signature, especially in DNA methylation, have been reported to happen in normal cell development and aging, for instance. Alterations in DNA methylation are closely associated with diseases like cancer, metabolic disorders, and neurological diseases. Global hypomethylation and locus-specific hypermethylation of CpG islands have been shown to increase genomic instability and promote tumor progression.
Our Whole Genome Methylation Sequencing (WGM) service offers the genome-wide detection of methylation patterns, including regions with low CpG density. During library generation, unmethylated cytosines are converted to uracils and can therefore be distinguished from methylated and hydroxymethylated cytosines. For the conversion, CeGaT uses an enzyme-based method (EM-seq™). Compared to conventional bisulfite conversion, which is traditionally applied for Whole Genome Bisulfite Sequencing (WGBS), the more gentle enzymatic conversion causes significantly less DNA damage, leading to highly accurate methylation determination. The resulting high-quality methylation data can be used for biomarker discovery, clinical studies with methylation-associated treatments, or other clinical and scientific applications. Further, the analysis of DNA methylation can provide, for instance, an insight into cell differentiation mechanisms, characteristic methylation profiles, and specific tissue development.