De novo quantitative bisulfite sequencing using the pyrosequencing technology

Anal Biochem. 2004 Oct 1;333(1):119-27. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2004.05.007.


Current protocols for DNA methylation analysis are either labor intensive or limited to the measurement of only one or two CpG positions. Pyrosequencing is a real-time sequencing technology that can overcome these limitations and be used as an epigenotype-mapping tool. Initial experiments demonstrated reliable quantification of the degree of DNA methylation when 2-6 CpGs were analyzed. We sought to improve the sequencing protocol so as to analyze as many CpGs as possible in a single sequencing run. By using an improved enzyme mix and adding single-stranded DNA-binding protein to the reaction, we obtained reproducible results for as many as 10 successive CpGs in a single sequencing reaction spanning up to 75 nucleotides. A minimum amount of 10 ng of bisulfite-treated DNA is necessary to obtain good reproducibility and avoid preferential amplification. We applied the assay to the analysis of DNA methylation patterns in four CpG islands in the vicinity of IGF2 and H19 genes. This allowed accurate and quantitative de novo sequencing of the methylation state of each CpG, showing reproducible variations of methylation state in contiguous CpGs, and proved to be a useful adjunct to current technologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • CpG Islands*
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • DNA Methylation*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods*
  • Sulfites / chemistry*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Sulfites