Correlating gene-specific DNA methylation changes with expression and transcriptional activity of astrocytic KCNJ10 (Kir4.1)

Academic Article


  • © 2015 Journal of Visualized Experiments. DNA methylation serves to regulate gene expression through the covalent attachment of a methyl group onto the C5 position of a cytosine in a cytosine-guanine dinucleotide. While DNA methylation provides long-lasting and stable changes in gene expression, patterns and levels of DNA methylation are also subject to change based on a variety of signals and stimuli. As such, DNA methylation functions as a powerful and dynamic regulator of gene expression. The study of neuroepigenetics has revealed a variety of physiological and pathological states that are associated with both global and gene-specific changes in DNA methylation. Specifically, striking correlations between changes in gene expression and DNA methylation exist in neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders, during synaptic plasticity, and following CNS injury. However, as the field of neuroepigenetics continues to expand its understanding of the role of DNA methylation in CNS physiology, delineating causal relationships in regards to changes in gene expression and DNA methylation are essential. Moreover, in regards to the larger field of neuroscience, the presence of vast region and cell-specific differences requires techniques that address these variances when studying the transcriptome, proteome, and epigenome. Here we describe FACS sorting of cortical astrocytes that allows for subsequent examination of a both RNA transcription and DNA methylation. Furthermore, we detail a technique to examine DNA methylation, methylation sensitive high resolution melt analysis (MS-HRMA) as well as a luciferase promoter assay. Through the use of these combined techniques one is able to not only explore correlative changes between DNA methylation and gene expression, but also directly assess if changes in the DNA methylation status of a given gene region are sufficient to affect transcriptional activity.
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    Author List

  • Nwaobi SE; Olsen ML
  • Volume

  • 2015
  • Issue

  • 103