CG methylated microarrays identify a novel methylated sequence bound by the CEBPB|ATF4 heterodimer that is active in vivo

Genome Res. 2013 Jun;23(6):988-97. doi: 10.1101/gr.146654.112. Epub 2013 Apr 16.


To evaluate the effect of CG methylation on DNA binding of sequence-specific B-ZIP transcription factors (TFs) in a high-throughput manner, we enzymatically methylated the cytosine in the CG dinucleotide on protein binding microarrays. Two Agilent DNA array designs were used. One contained 40,000 features using de Bruijn sequences where each 8-mer occurs 32 times in various positions in the DNA sequence. The second contained 180,000 features with each CG containing 8-mer occurring three times. The first design was better for identification of binding motifs, while the second was better for quantification. Using this novel technology, we show that CG methylation enhanced binding for CEBPA and CEBPB and inhibited binding for CREB, ATF4, JUN, JUND, CEBPD, and CEBPG. The CEBPB|ATF4 heterodimer bound a novel motif CGAT|GCAA 10-fold better when methylated. The electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) confirmed these results. CEBPB ChIP-seq data using primary female mouse dermal fibroblasts with 50× methylome coverage for each strand indicate that the methylated sequences well-bound on the arrays are also bound in vivo. CEBPB bound 39% of the methylated canonical 10-mers ATTGC|GCAAT in the mouse genome. After ATF4 protein induction by thapsigargin which results in ER stress, CEBPB binds methylated CGAT|GCAA in vivo, recapitulating what was observed on the arrays. This methodology can be used to identify new methylated DNA sequences preferentially bound by TFs, which may be functional in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Activating Transcription Factor 4 / chemistry
  • Activating Transcription Factor 4 / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-beta / chemistry
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-beta / metabolism*
  • CpG Islands*
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts
  • Mice
  • Nucleotide Motifs
  • Position-Specific Scoring Matrices
  • Protein Binding / drug effects
  • Protein Multimerization
  • Thapsigargin / immunology
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-beta
  • Transcription Factors
  • Activating Transcription Factor 4
  • Thapsigargin

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE44338
  • GEO/GSE44942