Epigenetics refers to mechanisms of gene expression regulation that do not involve changes to the underlying DNA sequence. At least three systems including DNA methylation, histone modifications and non-coding RNAs (ncRNA) are considered to play fundamental roles in epigenetic regulation. DNA Methylation is a mechanism that affects chromatin and has a profound impact on gene transcription.
DNA methylation was the first discovered epigenetic mark, and remains the most studied. In animals it is primarily defined by the addition of a methyl group to the carbon-5 position of cytosine residues of the dinucleotide CpG, and is implicated in modification of transcriptional activity. This type of methylation is referred to as CpG methylation, and cytosine methylated at the fifth carbon of the pyrimidine ring is called 5-methylcytosine (5mC). The major function of DNA methylation is the suppression of gene expression. Subsequently, DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs), which are specific enzymes that cause methylation at CpG sites, were identified. These enzymes include DNMT1, DNMT3A, and DNMT3B.
This code of regulation, or the “epigenome” consists of chemical modifications of DNA code that are heritable from one cell generation to the next and that affect gene expression but do not alter the DNA sequence. Epigenetic modifications can affect the DNA itself or the proteins that package the DNA into chromatin. Sometimes these modifications are described as ‘red and green traffic lights that are superimposed on top of the genome to tell the genes whether they should be active or inactive.
In this course, we will focus our attention on DNA methylation, its mechanisms, assays to study it and ways to analyze data associated with those assays. The primary assay we will discuss is bisulfite sequencing. The course is a continuation of Epigenetics 1: Introduction to Epigenetics and is followed by Epigenetics 3: Histone Modification and ChIP-Seq.
- Lectures 11
- Quizzes 0
- Duration 50 hours
- Skill level Intermediate
- Language English
- Students 171
- Certificate Yes
- Assessments Yes
What is DNA Methylation?
Molecular assays for studying DNA Methylation
Computational approaches for analyzing DNA Methylation