Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 93 (18), 9821-6

Methylation-specific PCR: A Novel PCR Assay for Methylation Status of CpG Islands


Methylation-specific PCR: A Novel PCR Assay for Methylation Status of CpG Islands

J G Herman et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.


Precise mapping of DNA methylation patterns in CpG islands has become essential for understanding diverse biological processes such as the regulation of imprinted genes, X chromosome inactivation, and tumor suppressor gene silencing in human cancer. We describe a new method, MSP (methylation-specific PCR), which can rapidly assess the methylation status of virtually any group of CpG sites within a CpG island, independent of the use of methylation-sensitive restriction enzymes. This assay entails initial modification of DNA by sodium bisulfite, converting all unmethylated, but not methylated, cytosines to uracil, and subsequent amplification with primers specific for methylated versus unmethylated DNA. MSP requires only small quantities of DNA, is sensitive to 0.1% methylated alleles of a given CpG island locus, and can be performed on DNA extracted from paraffin-embedded samples. MSP eliminates the false positive results inherent to previous PCR-based approaches which relied on differential restriction enzyme cleavage to distinguish methylated from unmethylated DNA. In this study, we demonstrate the use of MSP to identify promoter region hypermethylation changes associated with transcriptional inactivation in four important tumor suppressor genes (p16, p15, E-cadherin, and von Hippel-Lindau) in human cancer.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 1,394 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Mutat Res. 1993 Jan;285(1):61-7 - PubMed
    1. Cancer Res. 1996 Feb 15;56(4):722-7 - PubMed
    1. Nature. 1993 Nov 25;366(6453):362-5 - PubMed
    1. Nucleic Acids Res. 1994 Aug 11;22(15):2990-7 - PubMed
    1. Nat Genet. 1994 May;7(1):85-90 - PubMed

Publication types

MeSH terms

LinkOut - more resources