Chemical discrimination between dC and 5MedC via their hydroxylamine adducts

Nucleic Acids Research, 2010, 38, No: 21 e192 published on 02.09.2010
Nucleic Acids Research
The presence of the methylated nucleobase 5MedC in CpG islands is a key factor that determines gene silencing. False methylation patterns are responsible for deteriorated cellular development and are a hallmark of many cancers. Today genes can be sequenced for the content of 5MedC only with the help of the bisulfite reagent, which is based exclusively on chemical reactivity differences established by the additional methyl group. Despite intensive optimization of the bisulfite protocol, the method still has specificity problems. Most importantly ∼95% of the DNA analyte is degraded during the analysis procedure. We discovered that the reagent O-allylhydroxylamine is able to discriminate between dC and 5MedC. The reagent, in contrast to bisulfite, does not exploit reactivity differences but gives directly different reaction products. The reagent forms a stable mutagenic adduct with dC, which can exist in two states (E versus Z). In case of dC the allylhydroxylamine adduct switches into the E-isomeric form, which generates dC to dT transition mutations that can easily be detected by established methods. Significantly, the 5MedC-adduct adopts exclusively the Z-isomeric form, which causes the polymerase to stop. O-allylhydroxylamine does allow differentiation between dC and 5MedC with high accuracy, leading towards a novel and mild chemistry for methylation analysis
TU München