Precise control of gene expression requires the coordinated action of multiple factors at cis-regulatory elements. We recently developed single-molecule footprinting to simultaneously resolve the occupancy of multiple proteins including transcription factors, RNA polymerase II and nucleosomes on single DNA molecules genome-wide. The technique combines the use of cytosine methyltransferases to footprint the genome with bisulfite sequencing to resolve transcription factor binding patterns at cis-regulatory elements. DNA footprinting is performed by incubating permeabilized nuclei with recombinant methyltransferases. Upon DNA extraction, whole-genome or targeted bisulfite libraries are prepared and loaded on Illumina sequencers. The protocol can be completed in 4-5 d in any laboratory with access to high-throughput sequencing. Analysis can be performed in 2 d using a dedicated R package and requires access to a high-performance computing system. Our method can be used to analyze how transcription factors cooperate and antagonize to regulate transcription.
© 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.